Automated messaging spikes as New Zealand businesses adjust for COVID restrictions

Vodafone NZ’s Ready Messenger and multiTXT services in demand throughout COVID-19 Alert Levels

As businesses across the country entered into lockdown in late March, Vodafone New Zealand saw a spike in demand for automated text services for business, and another spike is expected as businesses reopen under COVID-19 Alert Level Three and Two restrictions. The services, that enable organisations to send rapid-response notifications and messages to staff and customers, have seen an increase in messages sent of up to 235% over the last six weeks.

Vodafone NZ Business Director Lindsay Zwart says that the Vodafone Ready Messenger and multiTXT Pro services are proving to be key tools for many businesses dealing with the current situation caused by Coronavirus.

“From hospitality services to DHBs, corporate chains to small retailers, we have seen so many of our customers use our automated messaging services to communicate with both staff and customers around how they are operating under the various Alert Level restrictions,” she says.

“As the threat of COVID-19 loomed in March we saw a large increase in the number of messages our customers were sending out via these systems with the largest spike on the day the lockdown was announced.”

On March 23 – the day it was announced New Zealand would enter into a COVID-19 Alert Level Four lockdown - text messages sent from local businesses via Vodafone’s multiTXT Pro platform increased by over 235% the usual daily amount. Ready Messenger sent almost three times the usual amount of messages that same day and across the two platforms March saw an increase of 73% in messaging when compared to an average month over the previous year.

“Ready Messenger and multiTXT have also been important services helping our customers abide by the contactless payment, delivery and collection restrictions that Alert Level Three requires,” says Zwart.

“The personalised and customisable services allow our customers to easily communicate instructions to their customers around queuing, paying and collecting orders.”

One customer that has started using the service is New Zealand pizza chain, Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza. While the popular dine-in option is not available at Alert Level Three, Vodafone was able to set Sal’s Pizza up with a text service to complement their online ‘click & collect’ service.

Sal’s Pizza Managing Director, Nick Turner, says the multiTXT service has been helpful in communicating safety protocols and customer order confirmations under Level Three restrictions.

“Once we knew we were going to be able to operate at Level Three, we set about ensuring we could do so safely, including setting up a contactless pick-up and delivery system. Within 24 hours Vodafone was able to get us going with a text service that meant we would be able to communicate efficiently with customers regarding their orders and make sure they adhered to the government restrictions around distancing and contactless operations ,” he says.

“Our ‘click & collect’ service provides our customers with a text when their order is ready. They show their order confirmation text at the door, making sure we are getting the right order to the correct person every time.”

Les Mills International required a system to communicate with the hundreds of staff the company employed.

Les Mills International Head of Technology Anthony Naulls says that Ready Messenger was a simple solution to help adhere to the government guidelines on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

“We are all in this together and need to stay strong. For us this meant we needed to ensure staff received important alerts to changes in the way we operate as the COVID levels changed. It’s the only guaranteed way to push critical notifications without opt out and once set up, worked effectively.”

Zwart says that messaging services for the businesses have been on the rise in recent years, the pandemic has just accelerated the need for fast and effective communication with consumers and staff.

“Businesses are always looking at ways to keep their customers informed – whether it is around health and safety, or to let them know about the latest deals. With so many people constantly connected to their mobile phones, sending a quick text message is an incredibly easy way for businesses to reach their target audience,” she says.

For more information on Vodafone’s text messaging services for businesses, click here for Ready Messenger and here for multiTXT.

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