Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, or USSD as you might know it, is a system used by mobile phones to communicate directly with service provider’s systems and computers. There are many ways in which a mobile user can make use of USSD. Below are a few of the general uses:

• WAP mobile browsing
• Mobile money services
• Information services menus
• Configuration steps
• Location-based content services
• Pre-paid call-back services

As a business owner, you have probably heard people talk about how affordable USSD development can actually help to boost business, make sales and engage with consumers. The big question that you might have is “how?” One of the biggest advantages of USSD is that it is session-based and works on any GSM handset. You have probably encountered such a system yourself in mobile banking, security systems, mobile polling and even certain educational programmes. The fact that the messages or communications aren’t stored on the handset makes it a secure way to communicate regarding sensitive information.

Below we have compiled 5 ways in which you can use USSD to boost business and engage with consumers:

1. Make competitions easy to enter without the consumer having to actually go online. Competitions are a great way to gather data on the needs and requirements of your consumers and potential consumers. By using USSD menus to host competitions, you can make it a great deal easier for your consumers to be in touch and actually enter competitions.

2. Save time and only gather relevant and useful information. By advertising that consumers and interested parties can gather further information on products, services and events by using a USSD code and following the menu prompts, you can ensure that you are only engaging with clients who have an invested interest in your business and what it has to offer. As such, USSD can eliminate the potential for wasting time or being in touch with consumers who don’t intend to spend.

3. Be charitable. If you want to boost your company’s social responsibility and make donating easier, make use of a USSD menu. This way, interested parties can donate to the cause without having to waste time and extra money doing so. Your involvement will certainly boost your public image and be beneficial to your business in the long term.

4. Get important feedback from customers. Customer feedback is essential for any business to develop and grow. Knowing what your customers think, feel and want is important if you want your business to prosper in the future. You can use USSD menus to carry out surveys, and customers find it easier and quicker to complete a quick USSD survey than it is to deal with a person or fill out an online form.

5. Provide vouchers and coupons for discounts and similar. Offering consumers a way in which to redeem vouchers and coupons on their own time and conveniently is a great way to keep them engaged. Simply send your consumers details on the USSD codes to use to check their points or actually redeem a voucher. It saves them time and effort, and will be highly effective as a result.

Of course, if you want to use USSD for your business, you will need to have a customised system designed and set up for you. At Connect Mobile, we offer professional design and setup of USSD, and will even activate the system for you and monitor it on your behalf. With our help, your USSD content can truly be personalised and responses can be received in real time, which ensures that you never miss out on potential sales or communications with consumers. The rate to the end user for USSD use is as little as 20 cents per 20 seconds, which is certainly an affordable medium of communication and engagement for both parties.

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