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The AA: Peace-of-mind roadside rescue via SMS and push

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) is a non-profit organisation that has been operating in South Africa since 1930. It provides a comprehensive range of products and services spanning on-the-road assistance services, travel products and services, technical and accreditation services, as well as a range of insurance products and services for its members and corporate customers.

The challenge

Breaking down is an experience which everyone wants to avoid, but the reality is, there is always a chance that it can happen. Luckily, almost everyone has a mobile phone and keep it by their side 24/7. That makes mobile messaging a no brainer for instant communication during experiences like these.

“Instant communication about critical case-related notification with customers is critical to the AA’s success. When you’re stuck on the side of a road, you want to know that help is on its way. Finding reliable ways to deliver these notifications was a priority for us,” says Jaco van der Merwe, General Manager: IT, AA.

The solution

The new AA Roadside Rescue App puts all the AA Membership information in the palm of the user’s hand. It enables fast access to emergency medical or roadside assistance.

By selecting an emergency using either the “road” or “medical” buttons, users are able to send a panic alert to the AA’s Customer Care Agents. With location services enabled while using the app, time is saved in getting response vehicles to the user, while eliminating the need for them to provide a physical address or location.

“Working with, a number of opportunities were identified where SMS and push could be leveraged, from case-related updates and post-case satisfaction analysis surveys, to marketing campaigns, says Mr Van der Merwe. 

Using the SMS API, the app automatically sends a notification SMS to users once the emergency roadside assistance job request is lodged from within the mobile app. Using’s Hybrid messaging solution, a dynamic messaging routing platform, automatically delivers messages via push with SMS and voice as fall-back where users have the app installed.

Enabling two-way engagement via affordable and memorable short codes

Using’s Short Code solution, users are able to quickly reply and respond to any notifications sent from customer support.

After a case is closed, a post-case satisfaction survey is sent to users who are able to reply to the short code. Again, using the SMS API, the replies are instantly fed back into the AA’s CRM platform. If any rating under the minimum standard appears, it is flagged with the customer service team for immediate action.

Short codes are easy to remember which makes it simple for recipients to reply to messages. It forms the basis of any great SMS marketing platform. The AA implemented various short codes which they could use for campaigns throughout online and offline media.

The results

The reliability of the platform, and direct connections to operators, allows for messages to be delivered in less than ten seconds. Customers are kept informed at all times, again, providing peace-of-mind all throughout the customer journey.

Case related updates: By enabling Hybrid messaging, the AA was able to increase in-app engagement, and save 50% on SMS costs where push was utilised. Implementing the app, and the delivery of timely notifications, reduced a reliance on telephone operators to keep customers informed. 

Post case satisfaction analysis via SMS and short codes: Enabling two-way messaging via short codes, offered the ability for instant communication, identify bottlenecks quickly, and assess areas that needed improvement.

Marketing via short codes: The AA was able to generate business for new products and new distribution channels, while simultaneously managing costs .

“The platform’s well defined API’s makes it simple to integrate and adopt SMS and push as a communication medium very quickly into our processes. The extensive reporting portal also assists in visually managing this communication method,” concludes Mr Van der Merwe. 

Read the full success story here

To the use case

Read the full success story here

To the use case
is the Snr. Digital Marketing Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at She is passionate about digital marketing and customer experience. She is dedicated and committed to enhancing the brand locally using strategic marketing campaigns via various channels.

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