How to effectively use SMS for contact tracing

Is the hospitality industry missing a trick with contact tracing?

Following months of uncertainty, businesses are finally able to welcome customers back and begin to repair the damage caused by Covid-19. While the good weather has attracted punters to beer gardens and the Government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has made Monday to Wednesday the new weekend, it’s more important now than ever to make sure systems are in place to keep staff and customers safe, with one of the biggest factors being contact tracing.

We’ve shared a lot of information recently about how SMS can be easily implemented for any size business to reach out to customers with alerts, safety advice and promotions to get them back through the doors. In fact, Mobile Squared recently published data that demonstrated SMS has been the go-to channel for businesses during the lockdown. But what about once your customers arrive?

How businesses are capturing information for contact tracing

There’s been a significant disparity in the approaches the hospitality sector has taken in how they deal with contact tracing. While bigger brands have been able to adopt chain-wide technologies, it seems that smaller establishments are still struggling to find an effective way to collect contact information for all customers that walk through the door. Some have been taking customers details manually, while others have requested that customers scan a QR code on entry, but what if customers don’t have this technology on their phone? Once again, SMS offers a quick, effective and affordable way to gather the information quickly.

How SMS can simplify contact tracing

SMS is the key, simply because it’s native to all handsets and doesn’t rely on a 4G or Wi-Fi signal. 95% of the population now own a mobile phone, and it’s something we rarely leave the house without. Using SMS for your contract tracing is as simple as this:

  1. Upon entry, ask customers to text a simple word like ‘REGISTER’ to our shared short number 66777. There are no hidden costs here, the sender simply pays their standard network rate, or you can absorb this cost on their behalf.
  2. Once sent, the customers number is stored in your online Textlocal Messenger account with a date and time stamp of their visit.
  3. Send an automatic reply to each visitor to offer reassurance: “Thanks for registering your visit with us today. Your safety is our priority. If we need to reach you as part of our contact tracing, we’ll text you on this number.”
  4. Should you need to contact previous visitors, broadcast a text message from your Messenger account to this contact list in seconds.

So how do you get started?

Open a free Textlocal Messenger account and our dedicated on-boarding team will be ready to help you get set up in minutes. We’ll even add 100 text credits and a free, available keyword on our short number 66777 for your contact tracing. That means for the next 100 people that walk through your doors, you won’t pay anything to capture their details. After that, top up your credits from as little as £24.50.

You can also download our latest back to business guide, which is full of further help and support on how SMS can be utilised to support your customers and colleagues with your plans on how to return to work.

open rate

Over 98% of the text messages sent from our SMS tool are opened and read. That’s unmatched communication power for your business. Try it for yourself.