SMS technology gets GMB’s vote

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Campaigning trade union, GMB, has joined forces with SMS aggregator, Avetio, to ensure it connects with its membership in a targeted and timely way.

Hikes in the cost of postage stamps marked another valid reason for the UK and Irish Republic trade union to fully embrace SMS as a communication channel to talk with its growing membership.

Aside from the return on investment as a lean communications tool in an ever constrained financial market, SMS allows GMB to make its members aware of branch meetings, campaign issues, demonstrations and any urgent announcements that require a rapid response.

The organisation first adopted SMS in its communications strategy in 2005 when it was starting to be taken up by businesses and larger organisations as a succinct, immediate and targeted communications channel. GMB has seen the value in SMS and it is increasingly used within the organisation. It is also cited as a key contributor to the trade union’s membership retention.

Commenting on this issue, Rose Conroy, GMB Communications, said: “Using SMS has certainly helped our contact with members and we’re working with the team at Avetio to ensure we make full use of the technology. GMB is pleased with the results and how easy it is to work with.

“Affordability, speed of communication and response rates are all factors in our investment in SMS and its relevance in a fast moving society, when news increasingly breaks via digital channels.”

Using text communication has had benefits for GMB. Only last year 4,000 GMB members were working for a company that was on the brink of going into administration. By alerting members to this news via SMS, they were immediately made aware of their rights and GMB officers were able to arrange local meetings at members’ convenience, and action taken to secure their positions.

Added Asha Lad, director at Avetio: “We have worked closely with GMB to understand the organisation’s short and long-term requirements. Ascertaining clients’ needs and processes is crucial so we can provide streamlined services to meet specific requirements”

The merits of SMS as a cost effective communications channel is reinforced by Conroy: “We all know that ‘value’ is the nation’s mantra against a backdrop of financial cuts and SMS more than ticks the box when it comes to affordability.”

Although the trade union movement is tapping into the potential offered by SMS, there is still more to do to exploit its benefits. Currently, the technology is primarily used as a means of engaging with staff and stakeholders, but it can also be employed as a valuable marketing and operational tool that can have lasting impact on an organisation’s bottom line.

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