I’m sure that the 411 business has taken a hit since the adoption of the internet in consumer’s homes came along and enabled a self-service model for free. Since then there’s been an advance in 411 – enhanced 411, which gives interested parties more information (for a greater fee of course) for things like directions, movie times and even in some case restaurant reservations.
Today, it occurred to me that there is a pretty simple advance that could be made for all callers, especially now that mobile phone penetration is so high, as well as the continuing growth of smarter (not necessarily smart) phones which allow for richer messaging services. I think this idea could work for people whether they were calling from a mobile or landline and could be quick to rollout if the carriers felt they were interested in making a bit more money from something we already use.
Here it is — yours for the taking telecom industry!
Instead of just offering an option to have the number dialed, why not send the information as an SMS or even an email with vcard so you could save it for future calling from your phone/device. Landline calling would require a simple registration to identify where you want the information sent. I’d pay the additional fee (probably 25 to 50 cents) so I could have the information for future reference.
Just think of the number of times you’ve called for a number more than once. You probably didn’t have a pen which is why you called again… you do have your mobile, if that’s how you called and you can certainly grab the email later on if not.
From a carrier perspective, it should be a simple add-on. You know who we are, what number we are calling from and what the capabilities of our devices are to best send the information. Landline operators (most if not all offer wireless) and should be able to just pump more messages through the existing gateway. Receiving an SMS usually gets you paid… whether a number of messages are included with a plan, or on a per message basis.
That’s about it. Bring it on!