Electronic messages for your business
Mostly all the documents are created electronically these days. Many of them are printed, but rarely the electronic copy is deleted.
With electronic storage so cheap, portable and easy to search, the hard copies are becoming a thing of the past.
The monitors are now so sharp and cheap that there is no good reason to waste a yet another tree.
And not all the documents are there for humans to read. After all, the machines are supposed to do the work.
The documents are usually created to be sent to someone, that is how they become messages.
In most situations there is a good reason to send the messages electronically. It is not only much cheaper, but also has other advantages.
The electronic messages are delivered fast. There is no lag. Imagine your typical email conversation taking place by snail mail.
By the time you achieve your result you may be already retired. The same applies to recipients of your message. They are time-poor.
If they can't reply fast, most likely they never will.
B2B electronic messages
The other advantage of electronic messaging is that you can make machines take care of the process.
This is especially true for Business-to-Business (B2B) messages.
Computers of business partners can be configured the way they send orders, invoices and all other electronic messages to each other without human intervention.
They do it fast, with no errors, and replace humans who would otherwise be doing that fulltime.
While the B2B messaging is pretty old and the messages types are well-established,
you can not just buy a piece of software and start trading electronically with anyone you like.
This is because every trading partner's system has own expectation of what the electronic message should contain and look like.
It is unreasonable to expect that any business partner will be willing to adapt their messages to another partner,
simply because they already have B2B exchange with other partners.
The typical solution for the problem of electronic messages incompatibility are Value Added Networks (VAN) run by third parties.
They are electronic messages exchanges that pass the messages through, transforming them in the way the messages comply with the recipients' expectations.
The VANs often provide other services, like providing online access to the messages that have, or have not passed through them, statuses of the messages, and other sweets.
Not all these additional services are strictly necessary for B2B messaging, therefore look for offers that closely match your needs.
This will save your money as well as the learning curve and implementation time.
B2G electronic messages
The government may also be a business partner.
Apart from that, businesses may also dramatically reduce their compliance costs by exchanging electronic messages with Customs, Tax Office and other government bodies.
Customs are part of your business operations if you are an exporter, importer or Customs broker.
In this case it is paramount that you can send and receive electronic messages from Customs. Delays in dealing with customs may be very costly.
B2C electronic messages
Even the traditional Business-to-Consumer (B2C) messages are becoming mostly electronic.
As the population is becoming more mobile and electronically connected,
the consumers are realising that it is more convenient to receive and keep their statements electronically. They are also concerned about environment as never before.
Receiving messages by post is fast becoming a bad tone.
With wide spread of mobile devices, consumers prefer receiving messages electronically when they are idle (on a train for example).
In this situation they are better predisposed to take the action your message is calling to.
There are a number of reasons why businesses favour electronic B2C messages over their paper counterparts.
The much cheaper price and hassle-free delivery are not the only advantages. The B2C electronic messages are typically highly personalised.
They allow the sender to see how the messages are opened, which links are followed, and get replies.
These days the sales push does not work anymore. The business is all about dialog with the customer.
As mentioned before, it is virtually impossible to have a dialog using an old snail-mail messaging.
The customers are willing to reply electronically, and the customer is the king.
Clearly, if we are talking volumes, it is not feasible for a business to manually reply to a million of customers.
Good B2C messaging systems allow programming which message is sent in response to any action taken by the recipient.
That is not limited to opening the messages or navigating links in them. The contemporary business is about customer retention.
A good B2B electronic messaging system allows the customers keep their profiles up-to date,
and escalate messaging to alternative channels if the primary channel is not available anymore.
Also, do not discount a standard "unsubscribe" functionality in electronic messages.
It is much better to stop the communication when requested, rather than damage your brand!
G2C electronic messages
The Government-to-Citizen electronic messages are functionally similar to B2C messages.
The difference may be just in implementation of what information to collect and actions to take.
If the messaging software is good to address B2C needs, most likely it is good enough for G2C electronic messaging.
C2B electronic messages
Another type of electronic messages is Consumer-to-Business (C2B) messages.
In it's the most generic sense it stands for Consumer-to-Business, but is also used for Consumer-to-Bank.
The Consumer-to-Business model is fairly new and not strongly defined.
A good example would be consumers being paid for participating in online surveys.
In terms of electronic message direction, individuals applying online to get their insurance approved, can also be considered being engaged in C2B,
especially taking into consideration that they are replying to a B2C message.
C2C electronic messages
The Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) electronic messaging is not restricted by messages that occur in the course of electronic commerce.
All the online auctions, directories and social networks generate electronic messages that can be considered C2C.
Even if someone sends an email or SMS to another person, that is facilitated by the provider of the service and can be considered as C2C electronic message.