How using SMS verification helped us increase user adoption by 106%

February 19, 2014

A few weeks back we introduced our new ‘getting started’ signup process to help new users understand Exotel better. While analyzing how the new process was performing, we noticed a gaping hole through which our users literally fell through.
Only 46% of our customers completed the verification step

Only 46% of our customers who register for a free trial move to the next step in the flow!

The step where most of them dropped-off was the phone number verification step. Just to set the context- when registering for a free trial account with Exotel, users need to provide their details including their phone number. As with any secure SaaS service, we ask the user to verify his/her phone number to ensure that the phone number mentioned does indeed belong to the user.

Thus far we used a missed call verification mechanism where we asked the user to give a missed call to an Exotel number to verify his/her phone number. Once the missed call is done, we automatically took the user to the next step. We felt that giving a missed call was intuitive and that users would find it less intrusive. But as our man Shikvu says, the proof is in the pudding and 54% drop-offs didn’t taste good!

We decided to experiment with SMS based verification. We sent a 4 digit OTP via SMS as soon as the customer registered and they would be asked to enter that OTP in the next step. There were a few questions in our minds like Would the SMS reach on time? If the SMS is delayed by 15-20 secs the user may get frustrated and drop-off. How do we handle a case where the user has mistyped their phone number? Won’t we be spamming the SMS receiver?

We mitigated these risks by

  • providing a ‘resend otp’ button which only pops up after 10 secs
  • having a way by which the SMS receiver can let us know that s/he didn’t register for our service

Our hypothesis was this – “SMS based verification through OTP was less intrusive and easier to complete than missed call based verification”.

The Results

Missed call based verification
Missed call based verification
SMS OTP based verification
SMS verification

It’s been a couple of weeks since we made this change and the answer is very clear.

The verification % went up from ~40% to 80%. This meant there were twice as many users who tried out the product.

When shared this info with my colleagues, Deepak tried explaining the why behind this“if I get an SMS while registering I am more likely to complete the loop because it (the loop) is already open. Giving a missed call means I am opening up the loop and that doesn’t seem that natural to do”

If you too have a registration or a verification mechanism we’d suggest you find out your customers’ path of least resistance. In our case undoubtedly SMS verification wins.

In case you want to implement something more like this, feel free to reach out to us. Exotel offers a lot of features that can increase user adoption rate for your organization.


Further Readings:

Read about why SMS Campaigns are beneficial for your company’s marketing efforts.

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