Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Case for Completion Rate Data | TeleSign

Short Message Service (SMS) - mobile technology illustration

Picture it—you’re trying to do a password reset on your account with phone verification enabled and while you’ve entered your username, the one-time passcode you need to complete the reset never reaches your phone. Now you’re locked out of your account and the message that can set you free is lost in the ether. You’re frustrated, confused and probably pretty unhappy with the brand you’re trying to do business with. This is exactly the situation Web properties and app providers are trying to avoid.

Studies have shown that around 1 to 5 percent of messages are lost entirely and others may not be delivered until long after their relevance has passed.

In the world of phone-based user verification and authentication, companies can benefit greatly from accurate reporting of SMS message delivery. Consider it the mapping app to solve your SMS traffic jam — it can help alert you to traffic issues and provide real time insights into how to avoid them. Consequently, it’s vital to measure true delivery rates, especially if those messages are mission-critical like one-time passcodes (OTPs) for user verification, new account registration or any two-factor authentication (2FA) use case. However, to best optimize this kind of reporting, relying on a delivery rate percentage as many do today is simply not enough. Companies must capture completion rates.

Delivery Data

Today’s most common measurement of message delivery is by Delivery Receipts (DLRs), usually provided in some manner by the operator, either directly or indirectly. DLRs can provide the status of delivery for an SMS message, i.e. delivered to handset, delivered to gateway, error in delivery, etc., but they can be unreliable and not truly indicative of the SMS reaching the end user’s actual handset.

Completion Data

Measuring message completion rate data for the right types of messages like those that contain an OTP, on the other hand, gives a much truer view of message deliverability and performance, which customers and providers can often be blind to. Measured correctly, completion rates can indicate that a message was sent to a user, and then the user entered the pin code back into the UI (Web or mobile), completing the full OTP cycle.

Taking it a step further, completion rates should be measured differently for varying use cases and global markets. For example, completion on already verified phone numbers will be a better metric, and a higher completion rate than new registration (due to more abandonment at registration). Low completion rates at registration could be a sign that we’re doing a good job and blocking bad user attempts. Different countries will also have different baseline “good” and “bad” completions. For instance, good completion in the US is well over 90 percent, whereas good completion in lesser developed countries can be in the 70 percent range. In this way, completion rates should be measured by taking a customer’s specific baseline readings in a given country and measuring deviations/dips from that.

Why TeleSign?

In the A2P SMS space, the quality of your service is inextricably linked to the quality of your data. At TeleSign, we’ve built strong relationships with our clients to educate them on how to measure us (or any other vendor) properly by sharing completion rate data with us. We leverage this shared data by feeding it into our proprietary dynamic routing engine, which ensures we identify the highest delivery routes available at any given time and avoid any temporary congestion, slowness to a particular operator, or other filtering issues that can go undetected when relying solely on DLRs. Monitoring and leveraging completion rate data in partnership with customers enables us to establish the highest quality standard for our clients delivering truly mission critical messaging. With this approach, customers have a pure look at what’s happening in each market with every operator they are working with around the globe.

For more information about SMS messaging best practices, check out our eGuide: “How to Select a Security-Based Messaging Partner,” which outlines six factors to consider when choosing a mission-critical messaging partner for your business.

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