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Category: Texting Tips

TCPA Compliance for Text Messages and Voice Broadcasting

*Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be used as legal guidance. Please consult with your legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.

Before you can send text messages or voice broadcast calls to your customers, you should ensure that your messages comply with the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act, if applicable.

What is the TCPA?

The TCPA was enacted in 1991 to restrict unsolicited telemarketing and calls that are generated by automatic telephone dialing systems. Text messages were added to the TCPA in 2003 to protect consumers from getting spam messages.

The TCPA requires any business that will be sending auto-dialed voice calls and text messages to obtain prior written consent from recipients. Additionally, the TCPA requires varying forms of consent depending on the type of message being sent.

In TrueDialog’s recent webinar on TCPA Compliance, our guest Adam Bowser, a TCPA expert and attorney at Arent Fox, discusses the importance of the TCPA and business requirements to maintain compliance when sending voice and text messages.

TCPA Compliance by Message Category

SMS Marketing and Voice Message Marketing: Messages encouraging the purchase of a product or service, or a message which is intended to lead to a sale or purchase. Autodialed or prerecorded marketing messages require prior express written consent from customers, which can be obtained through physical forms, online forms, keyword opt-in or email responses, among other methods.

Informational Texting and Voice Calls: Messages providing information based on an existing business relationship or transaction, such as a shipment notification of a previously purchased product. Informational messages require prior express consent and is implied when a customer provides a phone number during a purchase or transaction.

Emergency Notifications: Messages that impact the safety and health of customers or employees. No consent is necessary for emergency messages, as the purpose of the message is to prevent danger or harm due to unforeseen circumstances such as hazardous weather.

Hybrid: Messages containing a combination of information and marketing. Prior express written consent is required for hybrid messages, as they are categorized as marketing messages based on an offering of a service or good.

TCPA Text Message and Voice Broadcasting Opt-in and Compliance

As Adam stated in the webinar, most TCPA litigation results from mass SMS marketing or voice messages due to negligence from businesses not having a proper opt-in process. Litigation is rare with informational or emergency messages.

Implementing a rigorous opt-in process as well as setting clear expectations with your customers regarding how and when voice broadcasting and text message communications will be used can help businesses provide better customer experience and safeguard against complaints and lawsuits.

General guidelines businesses should follow when sending voice or text messages

  • Always clearly identify yourself and your business in the message
  • Have a clear and easy way for people to opt out by responding with “X” or “Stop”
  • Keep and maintain a record of opt-ins & opt-outs, and have a Do Not Call policy in place
  • Potentially include terms and conditions containing class action waivers and arbitration provisions

Summary

By carefully reviewing and following the TCPA guidelines and having processes in place to stay compliant, businesses can confidently communicate with customers and employees through mass texting and voice broadcast messages. If you are unclear about any aspect of the TCPA, please consult with your legal team or contact Adam Bowser at Arent Fox.

To learn more about TCPA regulations around voice and text messaging, watch the on-demand webinar.

TCPA

Avoid Falling for Covid-19 Text Message Scams

If you ever get a text message from someone you do not know, never respond or click on the link! Scammers are always on the lookout for new ways to get your personal data and your hard-earned money.

With the current Covid-19 crisis instilling fear in all of us, scammers are taking advantage of this situation masking as government agencies and well-known brands to send out fraudulent text messages to unsuspected people asking them for personal information, money for test kits, offering financial support in exchange for bank account information, and other phony offers.

One example (shown below) of these fraudulent messages notifies people that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and displays a link. When the link is clicked, it can potentially download a virus on their smartphones that provide scammers access to sensitive information, including personal contacts and even financial information.


(Image Source)

 

Other fraud messages include promising financial support in addition to the government stimulus funds, fake Covid-19 home test kits, as well as bogus offers from scammers masking as large companies like Costco giving away money as shown in the example below from FBI San Diego’s Twitter account.


(Image Source)

 

How to Avoid Text Message Scams

Because scammers do not actually have any customers, they try to compile or build their own phone number lists using their own algorithms, so there is a chance that you may have received a similar message.

If you receive a call or text message from a number you do not recognize, even if it shows that it is coming from a government agency or large brand, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not respond to the text message or call. Government agencies or companies will never ask you for personal information over the phone or text.
  • Never click on any link that is in the text message. This may download malware that can access the information on your phone.
  • If you want to verify the sender, enter the phone number in Google to see the owner and origin. Or you can contact the “sender” from their official website or social media account to verify the message.
  • Do not accept any offers for free Covid-19 prevention or treatment from an untrusted source.
  • Block the phone number on your phone so you do not get the message from that number again. You may need to do this several times as scammers will sometimes use multiple numbers.
  • File a complaint with the FCC (Click here to file a complaint).

 

What TrueDialog is Doing to Prevent Text Message Scammers

Text message scammers will often either build their own software to send text messages or utilize a texting provider. However, we at TrueDialog put security first for our customers and are always improving our safety measures to block scammers from creating accounts to send fraudulent messages.

Using proprietary software, the TrueDialog system can identify and block potential phishers, bots, spammers, fraudsters, and high-risk users for our text messaging service based on several factors. This includes email authenticity, domain history, past scam and spam history, location, and suspicious activity patterns including previous incidents.

These security measures provide many obstacles scammers have to overcome before they are able to create an account in TrueDialog. TrueDialog goes through additional screening processes once an account is created should one make it through our initial line of defense. We have identified and blocked hundreds of suspicious accounts from being opened since the current crisis has escalated, and thousands over the past 12 months. We will continue to improve these security standards to protect US consumers from getting scammed.

Text messaging is an important channel for legitimate businesses to connect with their customers and employees. Our goal at TrueDialog is to keep the integrity and purity of text messaging so everyone can benefit from the experience.

 

To learn more about how TrueDialog can help you improve customer communication with text messaging, SCHEDULE A DEMO or SIGN UP FOR FREE TRIAL TODAY!

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How Colleges Can Use Texting to Stay Engaged with Students, Staff & Faculty During a Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the higher education industry like never before. This is the first time we have seen a mass closure of campuses all around the U.S. and the world.

With students, faculty, and staff all shifting their classes online and working remotely for the unforeseeable future, it’s more important than ever to have an immediate and reliable channel for communication.

Schools are now shifting their work and curriculum through digital channels. We are very fortunate to be living in a time where we have various options for communication. For colleges and universities, every digital form of communication must be deployed to keep classes going and communication flowing between students, parents and staff.

Text messaging is one form of communication that is essential in our daily lives. This is especially true for the younger generation of students as two thirds of incoming college students and their parents find text messages with key information or important dates helpful (University Business).

Texting can improve communication with students as well as internal staff and faculty. The versatility of texting for one-way mass notifications as well as two-way conversations makes communication quick and efficient.

 

Here is how colleges and universities can engage students, staff and faculty during a crisis like Covid-19:

 

Creating a Text Communication Plan

If a school has never texted with students and staff before, it’s important to plan out how texting will be used for communication during a crisis. By simply sending out a mass text message to students and staff without proper warning and context, it may cause confusion and frustration.

Before sending text messages, identify what information will be sent and how will the recipients benefit from it. By segmenting your audience between students, faculty and staff as well as the different categories within each segment, you can be targeted in your message and not come across as an annoyance.

Promoting your text communication will be an important part of planning. In order for students and staff to know that text communication is available, it needs to be promoted in various ways including email, website, voicemail greeting, and social media.

 

Whether you are planning on using texting for one-way notifications, two-way texting, or both, make sure you use and promote the type of phone number that is appropriate for each as short code phone numbers are meant for mass text messages whereas long code numbers are used for one-to-one conversational messaging. (Learn more about short code vs. long code)

 

Sending Text Updates and Alerts

If you are planning on sending one-way text notifications, using a short code phone number along with a keyword makes it easy for people to opt in to receive your messages. Short codes are 5 to 6-digit phone numbers that are used to send mass text messages.

If you try to use a long code to send a mass message to hundreds or thousands of people, mobile carriers will most likely flag it as spam and potentially block the message from being sent. This will not happen with short codes as they are designated for sending large volume of messages.

 

There are a variety of text message notifications that can be sent to students, faculty and staff to keep them informed. These include:

  • Online class schedules
  • Virtual event reminders
  • School closure updates
  • Assignment due dates
  • Exam dates
  • Learning resources
  • Quarantine tips
  • New Covid-19 case updates
  • Emergency alerts
  • Motivational messages
  • Admissions registration reminders
  • New program announcements
  • Financial aid reminders

 

Having Two-way Text Conversations

Keeping in contact with students and staff can help reduce the effects of social distancing and isolation as everyone is craving for interaction during this time.

Using a long code phone number or enabling your existing school phone number for texting allows schools to have two-way text conversations with students and staff. Long code numbers are traditional 10-digit phone numbers that people are used to calling, but can also be used for one-to-one texting.

By allowing students and staff to text in with their questions and concerns, school administrators can create a more efficient way for communication and get questions answered faster than phone calls or emails.

When utilizing two-way texting, it’s important for school administrators to create a schedule for staff/faculty from different departments to respond. This ensures that when people are texting in with their questions, the right person is able to respond quickly.

For example, you can divide the schedule up with AM and PM shifts where different personnel are monitoring and responding throughout the day. For messages received after operating hours, autoresponders can be set up to reply to messages letting people know their message will be responded the next morning.

 

Two-way texting is beneficial for students and staff looking to get a quick answer without having to call or send an email. Some popular use cases for two-way texting include:

 

  • General school questions: Enable students and staff to ask administrators questions about overall school schedules, online class availability and office hour schedules.
  • Counselor questions: Allow students to ask questions to their counselors about selecting classes for next semester, dealing with financial aid, finding career opportunities as well as general guidance on adjusting to life outside of campus and how to manage this situation.
  • Class specific questions: Students can text professors or their assistants with questions about a specific topic, assignment or upcoming exam.

 

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-class-questions

 

Having designated office hours for students to have one-on-one engagement with professors is extremely important for student success during this time of isolation. Web conferencing is a great way to achieve this, but it’s limited to how many students can participate at once. By offering texting during office hours, it enables professors to communicate with multiple students at once at a one-on-one level and get more questions answered.

 

Summary

Currently, there is no definitive time for when colleges and universities will open again. However, schools need to continue, and effective communication is critical to ensure the safety and success of both faculty and students during this time. Utilizing text messaging as an additional communication channel can help better inform everyone about updates and create an open line of communication that we all need right now.

 

If you would like to talk a higher education texting expert at TrueDialog, SCHEDULE A DEMO or SIGN UP FOR FREE TRIAL TODAY!

How Text Messaging Improves the Customer Service Experience

The rise of the internet and mobile technology have compelled businesses to focus more on their customer experience. Consumers today have more control in their purchasing decisions and the companies that provide the best experiences will succeed in the long run.

Online review websites like Yelp! and Google Reviews are providing the transparency that is necessary for consumers to be more confident with their purchases. Online reviews not only give potential customers insight into the product or service a business is offering, but they also provide a glimpse into their customer service experience.

Consumers hold the power to switch brands faster than ever due to the accessibility of information through their smartphones. A study shows that 49% of American consumers switched companies due to poor customer service. It is becoming more important for brands to concentrate on providing convenient and responsive customer service to gain the trust and loyalty of their customers.

Customer service has always been about solving problems as quickly as possible. Advancements in communication technology have enabled businesses to better support their customers using multiple engagement channels including phone calls, emails, website live chat, social media, and text messaging.

Although it’s not a new technology, text messaging is considered the fastest and most convenient form of communication. According to a Nielson study, 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service. This shows that businesses need to meet expectations if they want to stay competitive.

 

Below are ways text messaging can improve customer service for businesses and their customers.

 

Texting enhances agent productivity and efficiency

When a customer contacts a business for support, they want fast communication and quick resolution of their issue.

Texting enables customer service agents to quickly answer multiple inquiries by using templated or automated responses for common questions like “what are your business hours?” or “what is your refund policy?”

Sophisticated texting platforms enable Contact Center teams to improve their productivity by enabling message routing and team collaboration to resolve problems faster. This eliminates the frustration of passing customers off from one agent to another.

Phone and email support are a necessary part of a holistic customer service operation, but these methods can create long wait times. A study has shown that the average response time for a customer service email response is 12 hours! Leading companies are integrating text messaging into their customer service communication tools and allowing the customer to choose their “channel of choice.” When customer service teams utilize texting, it dramatically speeds up response times while enabling agents to focus on more complicated problems.

You may not know it, but people may have already tried to text your business when visiting your website. To make communication more seamless, leading businesses are text enabling their landline phone number(s) to send/receive text messages. Many customers simply do not have the time or desire to call – they want a quick and easy text.

 

Texting builds customer loyalty

To keep customers loyal, businesses need to take a more proactive approach to customer service. This means not waiting until a customer has a problem and contacts you, but getting ahead of the potential problem and avoiding it altogether. Text message notifications and text surveys help businesses with proactive customer engagement.

Text message notifications can instantly tell customers about important and time-sensitive information that often goes unnoticed in a crowded email inbox or voicemail.

When businesses integrate a texting solution with their CRM, it enables them to send personalized notifications to a group of customers based on specific criteria. If a business wants to reduce late payments, they can schedule an automated text message notification for payment reminders. These notifications reduce the need to cancel or suspend a customer’s service simply because they were busy and forgot to pay their bill.

When the power of customer data is combined with the ease of texting, businesses can communicate with customers on a personal level by doing things like sending appointment reminders to reduce no-shows or sending follow-ups messages to ensure customers had a positive experience. Being proactive can help businesses build a stronger and more loyal relationship with their customers.

 

Texting improves customer satisfaction

On average, a one-star increase on Yelp! leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in a business’s revenue. At the same time, a single negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.

Businesses need to rethink how they collect customer feedback and measure satisfaction to make it more immediate and convenient for customers. Doing so will have two major benefits. First, it enables businesses to get real-time and more accurate feedback. Second, it gives businesses a chance to fix a problem before it gets posted on a review website.

However, getting honest and timely feedback from customers is a challenge. Traditional customer survey methods of comment cards require too much effort and email surveys can get lost in the inbox. Text surveys have significantly higher response rates because they are much more immedicate and convenient for both businesses and their customers.

Sending a short text message survey enables businesses to receive feedback from customers in the moment, right after a purchase or service experience. This will help businesses get a better understanding of customers experience in real-time.

If a customer responds negatively to the survey, customer service agents can try to resolve the problem right away by responding to the text, instead of calling or sending an email later, as it might be too late to recover. The ability to respond and resolve issues quickly shows customers that you care about them and can potentially turn a negative online review into a positive one.

 

Summary

Customers want immediate satisfaction, which is why businesses need to adapt to the preferences of today’s mobile-centric consumers and resolve issues through the fastest and simplest way possible. Texting enables customer service teams to provide a better experience to build trust and lifetime loyalty.

 

Learn how we can help improve your customer service experience with texting by SIGNING UP FOR A DEMO or GET A FREE TRIAL.

customer experience, customer service, text messaging

How Colleges Use Texting to Increase Student Enrollment and Improve Retention

The higher education industry has changed over the last several years and the change is negatively affecting new enrollments and graduation rates. Both metrics impact revenue and are crucial to growth and survival for any college or university.

According to a 2018 prediction by the late Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, 50% of colleges and universities will close or go bankrupt in the next ten to fifteen years and the Dept. of Education recently sponsored a study that concluded that the closure rate for small colleges and universities will triple in the coming years.

To back up the prediction, statistics showed a 1.3% decline in college enrollment in the fall of 2019, a drop of more than 231,000 students from 2018. Add that to an average 40 percent dropout rate, higher education institutions of all types need to find ways to improve performance.

Demographic shifts, rapid growth in online education, free internet-based learning options, industry innovation and a fully mobile-centric student base are all contributing to these challenges.

Leading colleges and universities (both private and public) are attacking these issues head on with strategic investments and operational improvements. These include investing in instructional design to upgrade course content, embracing online educational options, using technology to lower operating costs, and implementing systems that are fully set up for today’s mobile environment including mobile communications with potential and existing students.

Today’s students manage their entire lives through their phones. As a result, text messaging has become an essential tool to engage and communicate with students and prospects in real-time to increase enrollment, improve retention, and produce higher graduation rates. Over 97% of text messages are read in 3 minutes or less – nothing else compares. Universities must implement enterprise-grade, scalable texting systems to effectively interact with today’s students.

The best messaging platforms allow university administrators to create instant 2-way conversations as well as mass notifications to remind students and prospects about deadlines and other important university information. The fastest growing universities use text messaging to increase response rates in admissions, retention, student services, financial aid, career services and alumni relations.

 

Here’s how colleges and universities are using text messaging to increase student enrollment and improve retention.

 

Mass Text Message Notifications

Sending text message notifications and alerts ensures students see urgent or time-sensitive information. According to University Business, two-thirds of incoming college students and their parents find text messages with key information or important dates helpful.

Mass text message notifications require short codes (5-6 digit shortened phone numbers) instead of long codes (normal 10 digit phone numbers). Short codes are special numbers designated by wireless carriers to send large numbers of simultaneous text messages for urgent alerts, opt-in sms marketing campaigns and other mass notifications. Using long codes for mass texting will cause messages to be flagged and blocked as spam.

 

Below are some examples of mass text notifications that colleges are sending to their students. These notifications can be streamlined yet personalized by inserting unique student information (eg. name, appointment date, interests) when a texting platform is integrated with a CRM or SIS.

 

Application Reminders

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-fafsa-2

With so many applications to fill out and deadlines to remember, it’s easy for prospective students to forget when certain forms are due. Make it easy for students by sending them text message reminders with due dates. Be sure to include links within the message to allow quick access and on-time completion.

 

New Student Orientation Notifications

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-orientation

Orientation events help newly enrolled students succeed. To ensure new students attend all necessary orientation classes and events, send text message notifications a day or two before, as well as the morning of the event.

 

Campus Tour Reminders

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-tour

It takes significant effort and marketing dollars to finally get prospective students interested in visiting your school, so it is absolutely critical to make sure they actually attend.  Text message reminders with dates, times and addresses can dramatically increase attendance and reduce no show rates. Keep in mind that prospective students may have signed up for several campus tours, so make sure they go to yours with a quick reminder.

 

Scholarship Opportunities

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-scholarships

Scholarships capture the interest of prospective students. Send prospects a quick text message to show scholarship options and ensure they see the financial incentives available for your university.

 

School Event Notifications

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-events

Build a sense of community with students by promoting school events. Text message reminders have immediate impact and produce proven results to boost event attendance.

 

Career Fair Notifications

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-career-fair

Accreditors require universities and colleges to publish job placement rates and this has become a critical metric that parents and students review when selecting a college. Set your students up for success by sending them text message notifications for upcoming career fairs & events. Increase attendance and help students can get ahead of the curve by meeting potential employers, learning about the interview process, exploring internships and finding the right job before they graduate.

 

Campus Emergency Alerts

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-campus-alerts

Student and staff safety is the number one priority for any school. Whether it’s a school closure due to construction or an emergency on campus, make sure your SMS provider can quickly send out mass text message alerts on a short code. When it comes to emergencies, every second counts.

 

Marketing Messages

University-School-Text-Messaging-Example-marketing-promotion

Remind prosepective students who have shown interest in your school by sending them a promotional message that highlight the benefits of enrolling. Keep the message short and allow prospective students to easily learn more by responding to the message.

 

Two-way Text Conversations

Texting is conversational by nature, so leverage this personal communication channel to engage with students and increase their chance for success. A texting research study by Lindsay Page and Ben Castleman on Summer Melt found that 86% of students reported text messages prompted them to complete a task they hadn’t finished.

When texting with students one-to-one, long codes are recommended to enable both voice and text conversations over phone numbers that are familiar to the student.

 

Admissions Questions

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When prospective students research schools, they often have questions. Make it easy by sending a text instead of gettting lost in their email or with an unanswered call. By losing valuable time, prospective students may have already moved on to another choice. Let students know they can text you by promoting your phone number on your website, emails, flyers and other marketing materials. Also, include an easy click-to-call button in your text message.

 

Counselor Check-ins

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Going from high school to college is a big change for students. Counselors who show they care about their students’ success and overall experience can increase retention and graduation rates. Good counselors send frequent text messages to their students to check in and find out if there is anything they can do to help or improve their experience.

 

Class Questions

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Students may have questions they either forgot or were too shy to ask in class. Enable a more open line of communication between students and professors by allowing them to text specific questions they may have about the class. This can help develop a better relationship between students and professors, and improve class performance.

 

Summary

When it comes to communication, nothing is quicker and more convenient than texting for today’s mobile-centric students. This article provides only a few of the many ways colleges and universities are leveraging text messaging to boost enrollment, improve retention, increase graduation rates, and improve each student’s overall experience.

 

If you would like to talk a higher education texting expert at TrueDialog, SCHEDULE A DEMO or SIGN UP FOR FREE TRIAL TODAY!

Long Code vs. Short Code Texting: Which is Right for Your Business?

If you’re a business looking to meet the demands of today’s mobile-centric consumer, then text messaging must be included in your overall strategy.

Why texting? Because it’s fast and convenient, and everyone is doing it. According to a study by PEW Research, “on average, 97% of smartphone owners send text messages. During a one-week study, 100% of participants in the 18–29 age range texted at least once during that period (compared to 98% of participants in the 30–49 age range and 92% of participants in the 50 and older age range).”

This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers and differentiate their experience from competitors in a more personal and effective way, as 75% of consumers are ОК with receiving SMS messages from brands (after opting in).

Before businesses start texting with customers, there is one important thing to consider to ensure legal compliance and a great experience for customers, and that is whether to use a short code number or a long code number.

As with anything you do in business, you must have a goal in mind when thinking about texting for both external (customer) and internal (employee) communications. By understanding your needs, you can make a better decision when determining when to use a short code or a long code.

 

What is Long Code Texting and When Should You Use it?

 

SMS Long Codes are traditional 10-digit phone numbers (Ex. 512-501-5940) that are mostly used to send and receive text messages between personal mobile phones.

There are a variety of ways businesses are using long code phone numbers to text with customers. Smaller businesses sometimes use their personal mobile phones, but that approach is not ideal because it’s not efficient and it is difficult to manage.

Businesses that are serious about texting often use a software to send and receive text messages from customers and employees.

When businesses use a texting solution, they are often provided with a long code phone number that they can use for texting. Additionally, some texting providers can enable texting on existing business landline phone numbers, making it easy for customers to communicate either by text or phone call.

 

When should you use long code numbers for texting?

Long code texting is best when used for personal communication both internally and externally. Long codes are not meant for messaging a large group of people as long code text messages are capped at one message per second. This means if you try to send a text message to hundreds of people a day using a long code, most will not receive the message, as it will most likely be marked as spam by cell phone carriers.

 

Common use cases for long code texting include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Payment reminders
  • Customer service
  • Employee-specific notifications
  • Birthday & anniversary messages
  • Order & shipping confirmations

 

The purpose of long code numbers is for businesses to communicate with customers and employees on a personal level. They should never be used for mass marketing as there are stricter regulations when it comes to consent for receiving messages. This is where short codes come in.

 

What is Short Code Texting and When Should You Use it?

 

SMS Short Codes are traditional 5-6-digit phone numbers (Ex. 370370) that are used by businesses to send and receive mass text messages.

The keyword here is “mass”. As stated earlier, long code text messages are meant for one-to-one communication and are restricted to one message sent per second. With short codes, businesses can send and receive hundreds of messages without issues as they are pre-approved by cell phone carriers to have a higher throughput at around 100 messages per second.

 

When should you use short code numbers for texting?

Short code texting is best when you want to communicate a broad message or emergency alert to a large group of people at once. No, this does not mean that you should spam people with a “special offer”.

Although short codes enable you to reach more people, they also come with tighter regulations for opting-in. With short codes, businesses MUST HAVE proof of consent from recipients stating they are willing to receive text messages from them.

 

Types of opt-in consent for short code texting can be:

  • A keyword opt-in (Ex. Text JOIN to 123456)
  • Checking a box on a website form that gives consent (Ex. I agree to receive text messages from Business X)
  • Filling out a consent form (Ex. Enter your number to subscribe to alerts)

 

A couple of important things to note for opt-in consent is that first, it needs to be documented in your business records. This is to ensure that you can prove consent should someone decide to take legal action claiming a text message is spam. Secondly, you should always include an opt-out message in every short code message you send, giving people a chance to opt out at anytime (Ex. Text STOP to Unsubscribe).

 

Common use cases for short code texting include:

  • Marketing & promotional messages
  • Company news and product updates
  • Job postings
  • Emergency alerts
  • Contests
  • Polls & Surveys

 

Summary

There is no doubt that text messaging will become the main channel for customer communication in the near future. However, businesses need to first understand how they want to use texting, and then decide whether to choose a long code, short code, or both depending on the goals of the business and each department within it.

It’s important to select a texting provider that has experience with both long code and short code texting and can provide you with proper guidance on the best solution for your business and scale as your business continues to grow.

 

Want to learn more about short code vs. long code texting? Schedule a quick 10-minute call with one of our solutions experts today. 

 

Long Code vs. Short Code Texting Comparison Infographic TrueDialog (DOWNLOAD)

 

 

business texting, long codes, short codes

Why You Need to Have a Text Message Alert System

Emergencies happen, and sometimes they cannot be prevented. However, when emergencies do happen it’s crucial to have to right communication channel to ensure the safety of everyone that may be affected by it.

 

The Importance of Text Message Alerts

During your daily commute, you may have noticed signs on highways alerting you of different emergencies, whether it’s road closures or an AMBER Alert. Like me, you may even have gotten text messages about those emergencies.

Those text message alerts are proven to be effective and lifesaving. As study shows, as of April 2019, there have been 957 children rescued specifically because of AMBER Alerts. As of April 2018, 56 children were rescued because of Wireless Emergency Alerts.

It’s no surprise that texting is an effective channel to communicate important alerts to the masses because we now live in a mobile-centric world where we manage our lives within this rectangular device. Additionally, texting has quickly become the main communication channel due to the speed and convenience it provides for consumers as well as businesses.

 

Why You Need to Have a Text Message Alert System for Your Organization

From a business or organization perspective, having a text message alert system in place to announce emergencies as well as other important/time-sensitive information can make a huge difference.

As an example, I speak with customers regularly and one mentioned how texting saves their employees from heading into a traffic jam of over 4 hours due to sudden heavy snow and road closure, which caused a couple of accidents. If it wasn’t for the ability to quickly send a text message to let them know to wait or take a different route, it would have potentially put employees’ lives at risk.

No matter what type of organization you are, whether it’s a university or a business that sells a product or service, it’s important to have a text message alert system in place to ensure everyone gets all important information relevant to them.

 

Examples of Text Message Alerts

Here are some examples of notifications you can send to your customers, members or employees.

 

Educational Institutions (Colleges, Universities, K-12 Schools)

  • Deadlines for important documentation needed (financials, physicals, payments)
  • Admissions deadlines and registration reminders
  • Campus alerts for suspicious activity
  • Weather alerts
  • School closure canceled classes

 

Service-Based Businesses (Home Repair, Financial, Healthcare, Auto Repair)

  • Repair status
  • Credit fraud alerts
  • Appointment reminders
  • Product recall alerts
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Personalized marketing messages

 

Human Resources (Recruiters, Training, Compensation)

  • Employee benefits deadlines
  • Company or location closures
  • Important events
  • Building fires and hazards
  • Company announcements

 

How to Choose the Right Solution for Your Text Message Alert System

Now that you understand the importance of having a text message alert system and example of messages you can send, it’s time to understand some important features your potential text messaging alert provider should have.

 

Deliverability of Mass Text Message Alerts

If people don’t receive your text message alerts, why send them?

There are many text message software providers out there, however, many of them rely on third-party vendors to support their sending of text message alerts. The problem with that is the provider is entrusting their alerts to be sent through someone else, which means there can be a delay in the messages sent along with messages not being delivered at all.

When looking at a texting provider for your organization, make sure the platform does not use a third-party system to deliver their messages. Partner with a vendor that has their own system built in-house with their own API, which has benefits like higher and more reliable message delivery rate as well as lower costs per message.

 

Two-way Text Messaging Capabilities

It’s important to allow people to respond to your alerts. Many texting providers only offer one-way messaging, which means that recipients of the alert messages cannot respond to ask questions. Having a provider that can allow people to respond to alerts can greatly improve the experience and make sure there are important questions that are not left unanswered.

Additionally, when sending out mass text messages, short codes are often used, (short codes are special 5 or 6 digit phone numbers that allow for mass texting.) it is important to have a vendor that enables two-way communication through short codes as most providers only allow one-way text messages via short codes.

 

Multichannel Alerts

Although texting is by far the best way to reach people with alerts, it’s also important to communicate your message through different channels. Having a texting provider that enables you to not just send a text message but also different channels like email alerts, voice call alerts, and social media alerts can greatly improve the chances your recipients will get the alert. In today’s omnichannel world, it’s all about being there no matter which channel people choose to communicate with.

 

System Integrations

Time is of the essence when it comes to sending an alert or notification to contacts within your organization. By partnering with a texting provider that can integrate with your CRM or other internal systems, it enables you to make the process of sending alerts more efficient by quickly targeting the people who need to see the alert and sending it directly from the system, instead of having to go back and forth with different systems.

 

Summary

Every organization should think about how they communicate important notifications and emergency alerts to their customers, members, and employees. It’s crucial to have a plan and the right tools and processes in place to quickly send out alerts and texting is by far the quickest and most efficient way. As you think about your emergency texting alert plan, refer to the examples and areas to consider mentioned in this article to ensure everyone is getting your message.

 

Want to create an emergency text alert system for your organization? Try TrueDialog for Free Today!

How to Integrate SMS Texting into Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Integrating SMS text messaging into Microsoft Dynamics makes this premier CRM system even better. Adding SMS text messages to your email communications can generate new leads, increase productivity, and boost sales for enterprise businesses. It’s important to find a truly native SMS text messaging integration for MS Dynamics in order to realize the full benefit. Here’s what you need to know.

The highest ROI MS Dynamics SMS Integrations are built using Microsoft Development Tools and operate seamlessly within your existing IT infrastructure. Truly native SMS integrations offer an array of enterprise-grade features built for scale and reliability AND operate inside of your existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 database.

When selecting a Microsoft Dynamics SMS texting solution, look for the following:

Native Microsoft Dynamics Integration

When adding SMS text messaging to Microsoft Dynamics, compatibility is a major concern. Native integration means that applications are built using Microsoft’s own development tools to improve security, performance, and reliability.

Although some SMS text messaging providers report having Microsoft Dynamics Integration, it’s important to clarify what they actually mean. Many times, such integrations are in fact data connections that merely sync contact info between the vendor’s application and your Microsoft Dynamics 365 instance.

This means you will have to open a separate window in order to send your text messages as opposed to having them embedded into the menu system right inside your MS Dynamics window.

Other vendors use automation tools like Zapier or Boomi as intermediaries between their messaging services and client databases. While tools like these have their place, 3rd party solutions are typically not the best solution for enterprise-grade SMS text messaging, and they can substantially increase your costs per text message.

Since both inbound and outbound requests count as separate transactions, the total cost of ownership grows rapidly as messaging volume increases. Automation platforms like these provide quick access to basic integrations but remain prone to unwelcome side effects.

For instance, Zapier adds its own fees to your messaging costs and 15-minute Zapier messaging delays are not uncommon (depending on the service plan and configuration). Most enterprise-grade businesses eliminate the middleman and need to avoid message delays.

Many non-native MS Dynamics SMS applications require using provider infrastructures to send SMS messages (not your own). A questionable arrangement subject to a host of vulnerabilities and problems. True Native Integration eliminates these concerns because SMS messages flow directly from within your CRM database.

Ease of Use

With native integration, on-boarding and training times can be significantly reduced. Since there’s no need for additional accounts or logins – users already familiar with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM ecosystem can take full advantage of native SMS integrations immediately.

 

Engage in SMS texting directly from your CRM dashboard

 

Native integrations bypass the steep learning curve often associated with implementing 3rd-party solutions and make your organization more efficient.

Enhanced Security

Another benefit of native SMS integration is enhanced security and better control over data access. Built for large organizations, enterprise-grade SMS texting features make system administration easier. Because they use the same security protocols as other Microsoft applications, data security breaches or containment issues are minimized.

Most importantly, data never resides on questionable 3rd-party servers.

On-premise MS Dynamics installations utilize local data processing and storage servers while cloud-based setups reside on Microsoft’s trusted, ultra-secure network.

Administrators rest easy knowing critical data is protected and always available.

Improved Performance

Native apps (built using Microsoft Development Tools) share the same legendary performance and uptime associated with traditional Microsoft products. Because native applications live entirely within the user’s Dynamics 365 instance, they’re naturally more efficient and less susceptible to problems.

Businesses that use native, cloud-based SMS Integrations have higher reliability and since native apps exist within your specific Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment, database updates are never needed between you and outside vendors.

As long as the Microsoft Dynamics database is operational, your data is accessible.

However, to take full advantage of these capabilities, you must choose a cloud-based SMS text messaging provider with a native text messaging integration. Ideally, an enterprise-grade platform with similar uptime and performance metrics as those of your Dynamics 365 database.

Compatibility and Extended Functionality

Because they’re built with the same software development platforms, native MS Dynamics apps integrate seamlessly with other Microsoft products and services. With so many powerful API and customization features, system configuration options are virtually endless.

You can connect freely with other Microsoft Core Services or create custom solutions of your own knowing that compatibility won’t be an issue in your CRM environment.

Partnering with an SMS Text Messaging vendor who supports cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 installations offers even more possibilities. Like taking advantage of Microsoft’s powerful, cloud-only custom integrations and smart reporting functions (powered by machine learning).

 

Cloud-based installations extend CRM functionality and reporting capabilities

 

Many of these add-ons benefit from including SMS text messaging and reporting functionality. For example:

PowerBI

Microsoft’s flagship business analytics solution offers valuable data insights and customizable displays of performance metrics. These stunning reports can easily be embedded in apps, webpages, or shared with others both inside and outside of your organization.

Flow and PowerApps

A drag-and-drop suite of tools to create built-in workflows and custom automation sets. Users can easily personalize over 200 different Microsoft/partner applications based on business logic and enterprise needs.

Automated workflows improve productivity and enable collaboration at an unprecedented scale. They also provide the ability to create new processes without having to write a line of code or hire a developer.

Web Portals

MS Dynamics 365 cloud databases include native support for building self-service web portals. These websites are easy to share and maintain and can be used for a number of different internal applications.

Learning Paths

A relatively new Microsoft Dynamics CRM feature allows organizations to strengthen and enhance user experiences. Administrators can build “paths” to deliver custom content to specific users/groups accessing the database.

Such automation can significantly reduce training times/costs by allowing the user to control their own learning experience.

However, these add-ons are only available for cloud-based MS Dynamics and Dynamics 365 installations. Thus, it’s paramount to choose providers who support Dynamics cloud databases to take full advantage of an MS Dynamics SMS text messaging integration.

Long Code vs. Short Code SMS Texting Options

A frequently overlooked component of selecting a vendor for an MS Dynamics texting integration is understanding when to use Long Codes Vs. Short Codes. Which is one of the most important factors to consider.

Long Codes

Long Codes are 10-digit numbers used for direct 2-way communication with two or more parties. Following the traditional number format of landlines and cell phones, long codes are used in voice calls, faxes, and text messages.

Being able to call and text from the same number has distinct advantages. The biggest of which is providing customers direct access to your brand via a single point of contact.

Long codes are ideal for creating personalized experiences and seamless two-way conversations.

However, carrier restrictions prohibit sending mass SMS marketing messages using long codes. Violations can incite legal action and cause vendors to forfeit long codes already assigned.

Hence, Short Codes are essential as well.

Short Codes

Short Codes serve entirely different purposes than Long Codes. These 5 to 6-digit numbers are used frequently for marketing, alerts, and mass one-way communication. Short Codes are designed for sending bulk SMS Marketing Messages and Mass Notifications.

Although less personal than Long Codes, Short Codes facilitate messaging millions of clients or subscribers at the same time. Yet, this messaging format also has limitations.

Shared Short Codes are the most common option among smaller SMS text messaging providers. A “shared” number means multiple businesses use the exact same code. The differentiator being the keyword brands use to connect with their customers.

For example, Short Code 95660 may respond to keyword “drive” for an auto dealer and “pedal” for a bike shop.

image source

 

The problem is Shared Short Codes cannot engage in 2-way dialog using the same channel. Nor can they retain conversational data for administrative purposes for more than a short period of time.

While some SMS vendors claim this is possible, most implementations fall far short for enterprise brands focused on customer service.

 The result forces customers to use alternate contact methods to continue the conversation, adding yet another layer of friction and creating a less personal experience. To combat this problem, some providers offer Dedicated Short Codes with unfettered access. However, this option can be expensive and still makes customers call back using a different number.

The solution? Choosing a provider who offers all three options at once. Long Codes, Shared Short Codes, and Dedicated Short Codes to fit an array of business scenarios.

SMS Text Messaging Service and Support

Incorporating SMS texting into Microsoft Dynamics 365 adds tremendous value. However, the right setup and support are crucial to fully leverage your investment.

Look for SMS providers who build and support their own technologies rather than piggybacking off other SMS APIs or generic integration tools. True enterprise-grade SMS vendors provide native SMS integrations, direct carrier connections and maintain their own fully documented SMS APIs.

Besides offering higher-performance and optimal pricing, top vendors employ dedicated technology teams and seasoned developers who understand how to properly integrate new SMS texting solutions.

Leading SMS vendors provide knowledgeable installation teams to assist with new setups or transition over from existing ones. Premium SMS solutions also include automated software wizards to help with common tasks and provide troubleshooting assistance should problems arise.

Seek out vendors who employ US-based support agents who understand the unique needs of enterprise businesses and large organizations. Overseas service options can introduce language barriers and create support hours outside of US standards.

Enterprise Scalability and Pricing

When integrating SMS text messaging into MS Dynamics 365, choose an experienced vendor who understands enterprise businesses, maintains direct carrier connections, and offers volume pricing and scalability.

SMS texting vendors who deal primarily with small businesses often lack the resources to manage mass SMS traffic volume – including reliable mass deliverability and proper queuing protocols for competing campaigns.

Insist on using cloud-based providers who have the bandwidth and speed necessary to handle large-scale volume.

You’ll find that market pricing varies as many SMS vendors simply build their interfaces on top of other provider’s SMS APIs. In most cases, these are resellers with little or no flexibility to offer volume discounts as you grow.  The best SMS providers build their own SMS API and connect directly with carriers to eliminate costs and offer enterprise level pricing.

TrueDialog – Microsoft Dynamics 365 SMS Text Message Integration Experts

TrueDialog is the perfect solution for enterprise-grade SMS texting capabilities. Our cloud-based SMS text messaging solution is built for big business, yet made easy for small business.

Our five-star-rated platform includes an ISO 9001 database, direct carrier connections, 99.9% uptime, and true native Microsoft Dynamics 365 integration. If you’re serious about implementing an enterprise-grade MS Dynamics text messaging solution to deliver personalized customer engagement at scale, TrueDialog is an ideal solution.

Our proprietary “TrueDialog” feature enables seamless texting with both Short Codes and Long Codes all combined in the same thread, so businesses can send mass text messages and then effortlessly engage in one-to-one texting conversations at scale.

Unlike many other solutions, TrueDialog has invested in building direct carrier connections which eliminate the middleman and provide our customers with two huge benefits: 1) improved deliverability by reducing potential points of failure and reliance on third parties and 2) a lower cost structure which allows us to price our service significantly lower than the competition.

Additionally, we offer local US-based support (in tech-savvy Austin, Texas) from knowledgeable staff and developers who understand the unique needs of enterprise businesses. Our industry-leading features are state-of-the-art yet still provide the best value in SMS text messaging.

No other SMS platform compares.


If you’re ready to add integrated SMS Texting capabilities to your existing IT infrastructure, click here to schedule a demo or give us a call today at 512-501-5940 to schedule a demo of our Microsoft Dynamics SMS integration and let us show you why we have the best SMS enterprise-grade platform on the market.

Salesforce SMS Text Messaging Integration

Salesforce SMS Text Messaging Integration

Integrating SMS Text Messaging into Salesforce makes the world’s most popular CRM even better. Lightning-fast SMS text messages help enterprise businesses generate more leads, boost productivity, and increase sales. However, choosing the right SMS Text Messaging platform to integrate with Salesforce can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes to Salesforce® SMS text messaging integrations, there are dozens of options to choose from. Each one offering a different look, feel, and feature set. Yet, SMS providers and their view of what ‘integrated’ means can vary widely.

The best Salesforce SMS integrations with the highest ROI are built using Salesforce development tools and operate seamlessly within existing CRM environments. Top SMS integrations also include enterprise-grade features built for scale and reliability in a truly native integration that operates inside of your Salesforce CRM.

If you’re selecting a Salesforce SMS texting solution, insist on the following features:

Native Salesforce Integration

When adding SMS text messaging to Salesforce, interoperability is paramount. Native Integration means that applications are built directly within Salesforce’s own development environment. Using their proven CRM framework and tools ensures compatibility, high-performance, and rock-solid security.

While some SMS messaging providers promote “Salesforce Integration” it’s important to clarify exactly what is being offered. Often these integrations are merely data connections that sync contact info between your Salesforce account and the vendor’s application.

Some companies use behind the scenes automation tools like Zapier or Boomi to link Salesforce to their messaging services. Although highly useful overall, these 3rd party applications are seldom the best option for SMS text messaging.

Because each request (both inbound and outbound) counts as a transaction, the total cost of ownership can add up quickly. Zapier and other automation platforms do make custom integrations easier but may introduce other, unexpected consequences.

Depending on the service plan, “zapped” messaging delays can be upwards of 15 minutes or more. Timeframes that can be deal breakers for enterprise-grade businesses.

The vast majority of these solutions are NOT native in Salesforce and require you to send SMS messages via the provider’s infrastructure – not your own. True Native Integration eliminates these vulnerabilities/delays by sending and receiving messages from directly within your existing database.

Native integrations offer a host of other advantages over 3rd party solutions. For example:

Ease of Use

When apps are natively integrated, there’s no need for additional accounts, logins, or training. Users acquainted with Salesforce can take full advantage of native SMS integrations without the steep learning curve associated with a separate 3rd party solution.

Sending SMS messages via the Salesforce dashboard

 

Native integrations help employees increase productivity and reduce workloads on IT staff.

Security

Native design also includes robust security features and granular control over user permissions and sharing rules. These are enterprise-grade SMS texting features designed with large organizations in mind. Native integrations must abide by the strict security standards that are part of the Salesforce CRM platform.

With native integration, information is never saved on 3rd party servers. Data storage and processing happen within the confines of your existing Salesforce instance. Local control significantly reduces the risk of a security breach or other data containment issue.

Performance

Native apps (those built on the force.com/lightning platform) also share Salesforce’s legendary uptime and performance metrics. Because native applications live entirely within the user’s Salesforce instance, they operate more efficiently and are less susceptible to errors or incompatibilities.

Businesses selecting a native SMS integration hosted in a cloud environment also reduce the risk of downtime from provider outages. Since native apps coexist in your existing Salesforce environment, database exchanges are NOT necessary between your IT infrastructure and 3rd party platforms.

As long as your local Salesforce instance is operational, so is your data.

However, to take advantage of these capabilities, it’s important to make sure your SMS provider is also hosted in a secure cloud-based environment with similar uptime and performance metrics.

Compatibility

Built using the same software development platform, native apps integrate effortlessly with other Salesforce applications. Additionally, powerful API and custom-coding features offer access to near limitless possibilities.

You’re free to connect with existing CRM applications and solutions or create your own. Knowing that each will “play” nicely with one another in any Salesforce environment.

CRM Services as Custom Objects

One of the most useful Salesforce capabilities lies in its data processing method. Using native apps, Salesforce classifies each data type as a separate object. Contacts, phone calls, and email messages all exist as unique entities in the CRM database.

When selecting a Salesforce SMS text messaging provider, choose vendors where SMS custom objects are natively incorporated. Doing so improves system performance, enhances data security, and makes generating reports, event triggers, and custom actions a breeze.

Additionally, should you ever decide to switch SMS messaging vendors, custom objects make the process easy. Whereas 3rd party integrations linked to your Salesforce instance can make uninstalling a nightmare.

Long Code vs. Short Code Options

An often-misunderstood element in SMS text integration is the use of Long Codes Vs. Short Codes. Yet, this single factor is one of the biggest differentiators.

Long Codes

Long Codes are 10-digit numbers traditionally associated with cell or landlines and behave in much the same way. These numbers are used for direct 2-way communication with two or more individuals – whether that be through voice calls, faxes, or texts.

The main benefit of long codes is calling and texting from the same number. Customers have direct access without being routed through different points of contact.

Long Codes are intended for a more familiar, personalized experience and provide for seamless two-way conversations.

However, using Long Codes to send Mass SMS Marketing Messages is not compliant with carrier restrictions. Doing so may result in forfeiture of the code and possible legal action against the owner(s). Thus, illustrating why Short Codes are necessary as well.

Short Codes

Short Codes are 5 to 6-digit numbers used specifically for marketing, alerts, and mass one-way communication. Unlike Long Codes, Short Codes are designed for Mass Notifications and SMS Marketing Messages. While somewhat impersonal, Short Codes allow businesses to send millions of messages at once to clients or subscribers.

Yet, Short Codes have their drawbacks as well.

Most SMS text messaging vendors provide shared Short Codes. Meaning, they are allocated to multiple brands at the same time. Each business chooses a different keyword to connect with customers using the same “shared” number.

For example, Short Code 27880 could have the keyword “Pizza” attached for a restaurant and “Weights” linked to a fitness center.

Shared Short Codes cannot engage in 2-way dialog using the same channel and retain conversational data for administrative use. Some claim to be able to do this, but it simply does not work well enough for an enterprise that is serious about customer service.

This often means businesses must jump to an alternate contact method to keep a customer conversation going. Switching numbers creates an additional hassle and makes the experience less personal.

Dedicated Short Codes can alleviate this problem but can be expensive (depending on volume) and still do not allow a customer to call back on the same number. Additionally, many SMS vendors don’t offer dedicated Short Codes.

Ideally, you want to find a provider who offers all three options at once. Long Codes, Shared Short Codes, and Dedicated Short Codes to fit an array of business use case scenarios.

SMS Text Messaging Service and Support

Incorporating SMS texting into Salesforce adds tremendous value. However, proper initial setup and ongoing support are crucial for leveraging your investment.

Look for SMS Providers who have built their own technology rather than simply plugging into another SMS API. True enterprise-grade SMS vendors maintain direct carrier connections and offer their own fully documented SMS API. Not only does this ensure high performance and optimal pricing, but also guarantees that your technology team can communicate with a seasoned developer to properly integrate the SMS solution.

The right SMS vendor provides dedicated installation teams to help integrate new services or transition away from old ones. Enterprise SMS solutions should also have built-in software wizards to step users through everyday tasks and help administrators troubleshoot common problems.

The best options include US-based support agents who understand the needs of large businesses and organizations.

Many times, overseas support options can have language barriers and support hours that don’t align with US business standards. This can result in problems going unresolved longer than necessary and causing needless headaches for customers and clients.

Enterprise Scalability & Pricing

If you are going to integrate with an SMS provider, it is imperative to select a vendor that has experience with large enterprises, direct carrier connections, and volume pricing as you scale.

Many SMS texting vendors primarily serve small businesses and are not as familiar with the unique issues that come from mass SMS volume – including mass deliverability and queuing issues from competing campaigns. Be sure to select a vendor whose core platform is built to handle mass volume with cloud-based capabilities to surge bandwidth and processing speed.

Pricing varies greatly as many SMS vendors build a simple software interface on top of another provider’s SMS API, so they are essentially resellers that have limited ability to offer deep volume discounts as you scale. The best SMS providers for enterprise businesses are those with direct carrier connections.

TrueDialog – Salesforce SMS Text Message Integration Experts

If you’re searching for a provider with all these capabilities TrueDialog is the perfect solution. Our Five-Star-Rated Enterprise-Grade SMS Texting Software is Built for Big Business, yet Made Easy for Small Business.

With an ISO 9001 database, 99.9% service uptime, direct carrier connections, and true native Salesforce SMS integration, TrueDialog is the perfect Salesforce texting solution for managers serious about personalized customer engagement at scale.

Our proprietary “TrueDialog” feature enables seamless texting with both Short Codes and Long Codes all combined in the same thread, so businesses can send mass text messages and then effortlessly engage in one-to-one texting conversations at scale.

Unlike many other solutions, TrueDialog has invested in building direct carrier connections which eliminate the middleman and provide our customers with two huge benefits: 1) improved deliverability by reducing potential points of failure and reliance on third parties and 2) a lower cost structure which allows us to price our service significantly lower than the competition.

Additionally, we offer local US-based tech support (in tech-savvy Austin, Texas) from knowledgeable staff and developers who understand the unique needs of enterprise businesses. Our industry-leading features are state-of-the-art yet still provide the best value in SMS text messaging.

No other SMS platform compares.

 


Interested in learning more?

If you’re ready to add integrated SMS Texting capabilities to your existing IT infrastructure, give us a call today at 512-501-5940 to schedule a demo of our Salesforce SMS integration and let us show you why we have the best SMS enterprise-grade platform on the market. Contact Us Today to Learn More

Using SMS Texting to Boost University Enrollment

Using SMS Text Messaging to Boost University Enrollment

SMS texting in college admissions is a necessity. Research shows today’s students overwhelmingly prefer text messaging and often don’t respond to traditional phone or email marketing. And while enrollment and retention rates are critical metrics, higher education texting offers many other valuable benefits as well.

COLLEGE STUDENTS PREFER SMS TEXT MESSAGING

Text messaging dominates the modern communication landscape. And nowhere is this more evident than on higher education campuses. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that times have changed. But the extent to which it has may surprise you.

Recent studies show that 95% of 18-24-year-olds own cell phones and 97% of them use text messaging extensively. On average, this demographic sends around 110 texts per day or more than 3,000 text messages per month

In comparison, these numbers are nearly double those for ages 25-34 and triple for persons 65 or older. Clear evidence that SMS text messaging has expanded rapidly and is now a critical part of higher education marketing.

One of the most common complaints from university administrators is that schools can’t reach students. They frequently won’t answer their phone or respond to email. Texting is the only way many students want to communicate.

And an estimated 97% of text messages are read in 3 minutes or less.

However, institutions shouldn’t abandon traditional forms of communication. They instead need to develop a holistic communications plan that lets the student choose their preferred method – text messaging, email, or phone.

Bottom line – higher education partners must meet enrollees where they are in order to thrive. Sometimes that means a phone call. Other times its email. Yet, for the vast majority, texting reigns supreme.

SMS TEXTING IMPROVES COLLEGE ADMISSIONS AND RETENTION

Admitting students is a complicated process requiring coordination between multiple departments such as admissions, registration, and financial aid. And, unfortunately, when one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, problems arise.

Records are lost, deadlines go unnoticed, and students and their families pay the price. 

That’s why SMS texting is a high-value solution. Enterprise-grade platforms offer advanced options which allow seamless communication between all parties. By using a cloud-based communications platform, universities can be up and running the same day with no technology expenditures or development required.

Admissions and enrollment staff can effortlessly transition between mass notifications and engaging in one-on-one personalized texting dialog at scale between students and multiple departments.

University staff can all chime into the same texting thread with the student to resolve issues faster and create a truly seamless experience. While students need only to make a single request to receive all the help they need.

Once contact is made, departments can hand-off tickets and keep entire case histories intact. Behind the scenes, transfers happen as needed while still maintaining a single conversation thread throughout.

Students get better, faster customer experiences without jumping through hoops or worrying about falling through the cracks.

The latest developments in text messaging have created cloud-based, enterprise-grade platforms that can be immediately deployed with minimal effort and allow multiple staff members to all engage in the same texting thread with students and prospects.

A stark contrast to messages getting buried in a forgotten email account or unreturned phone calls. SMS text messaging is a high-value communication platform that offers incredible ROI for university stakeholders. 

BENEFITS OF TEXT MESSAGING IN HIGHER EDUCATION

The benefits of including SMS text messaging are undeniable – both from the student perspective as well as the institution. Students get the assistance they need in near real-time communication, along with relevant reminders about upcoming events, due dates, or submission requirements.

Universities receive value from improved response rates, higher enrollment yield, stronger retention metrics, and overall student engagement.

, Texting Software for Admissions & Enrollment

Gentle reminders add value – A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that many college students welcome a proactive outreach program. Not only for staying informed, but also to provide gentle “nudges” in completing required tasks and staying ahead of admissions and financial deadlines.

In one example, Georgia State University implemented a text-based program to help students navigate the admissions process. The result? A 71% student engagement rate with less than 2% of message traffic requiring additional staff intervention.

Students received the help they needed using the format they enjoyed most (texting).

Texting improves admission and retention rates – In 2017, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission reported increases in both GPAs and retention rates after implementing higher education texting. Their “Txt 4 Success” initiative gives students information and reminders about registration, tuition deadlines, and advice for completing FAFSA applications.

Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the HEPC, said texting programs align perfectly with students who are “usually glued to their phones.” Hill also noted that the study outcomes showed, “retention rates and attempted credit hours increased” for students who opted-in to the program.

The Chancellor pointed out that students were more comfortable using a medium so familiar to them (texting). Which made asking for help less intimidating and proved to be “an effective way to open a door for conversation.”

Texting in education saves time – another powerful benefit of incorporating SMS text messaging into university settings. Using an enterprise-grade SMS messaging platform allows you to integrate your existing CRM and pull student data automatically. 

With texting, higher education facilities can easily send students reminders about:

  • tuition deadlines – to inform students of upcoming fees and deadlines before it’s too late. Preemptive text messages help students plan better and may reduce stress during busy periods.
  • incomplete applications – such as courtesy reminders for missing forms, transcripts, or other important documents. These notifications ensure applications are received (and processed) in a timely manner. 
  • event notifications – for registration drives, career fairs, open houses, or alumni events. Activities that students and parents might not be aware of otherwise.

SMS text messaging can also be used to quickly coordinate meeting times and schedule interviews with support staff. Which eliminates the back and forth associated with traditional phone calls or email.

Text messaging improves student satisfaction – in multiple ways. Marketing departments can segment their messaging to ensure the right content goes to the proper audience. Engineering students don’t want to receive psychology department updates. Just like alumni shouldn’t be bothered with new student orientation schedules.

Texting Solutions for Enrollment

Proper segmentation – along with providing relevant updates – is key to earning and keeping student trust.

Access to someone’s SMS inbox is a privilege.

Which can be easily lost if abused. University managers need enterprise-grade tools with powerful administrative controls to grant and restrict access, monitor communications and compliance, and easily deploy and train their reps.

Besides the right message, an outstanding customer experience makes a great impression as well.

Texting offers much higher response rates than phone or email.

Students get their questions answered quickly and easily using their favorite mobile device. And because students are comfortable and familiar with texting, it’s a breeze to keep the conversation going and build rapport.

Support staff can use these opportunities to share information about scholarships and grants, advising/mentoring services, or invite students and parents to networking events.

Which – in many cases – are the updates they care about most.

ENTERPRISE-GRADE SMS TEXTING SOLUTIONS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATION

Text messaging is becoming a critical part of university outreach strategies. Thus, it’s important to choose the right partner for your SMS messaging platform. A service provider that’s not only affordable but built to scale and grow with you over time.

TrueDialog’s SMS education solution is designed to securely and reliably meet the needs of large universities and colleges. Yet, remains easy-to-use for smaller and midsize institutions as well.

Our higher education texting platform was custom-built over several years by working directly with university partners. The result is an enterprise-grade text messaging solution that was designed for the needs of both online and ground-based facilities alike.

Texting Solutions for Student Admissions

While other SMS texting vendors shoehorn their existing text platforms into the education marketplace, TrueDialog designed a solution from the ground up by working with and carefully listening to large universities. TrueDialog’s cloud-based, enterprise-grade software offers high performance and scalability, at less than half the cost of the competition.

TrueDialog’s scalable enterprise SMS solutions set the standard for value and ROI. Our unique message platform works on both desktop and mobile apps and includes industry-leading features that others simply can’t match.

  • Direct carrier connections – means higher messaging volumes at lower cost. We securely handle tens of millions of messages each month for organizations of all sizes. And at pricing our competitors can’t touch. 
  • Proprietary “Cross-Code” and 2-way mass texting features – enable two-way text messaging dialogs that create threaded, multi-user, many-to-one conversations with ease. Seamless texting with both Short Codes and Long Codes in the same agent thread allows sending mass text messages and then effortlessly engaging in personalized one-to-one dialog at scale.

No other SMS platform comes close.

  • Professional administrative controls – provide granular system access based on specific user needs. Give administrators full control while limiting agents to view-only mode or other customizable profiles.

Unlike other SMS messaging products, TrueDialog assigns a dedicated, company-owned text number to each individual rep. Bypassing the headache of shared SMS inboxes or the unprofessional use of personal cell numbers. 

  • FREE multi-channel campus alert – provides an emergency alert notification system at no extra charge. Send mass notifications simultaneously via SMS text, voice, email, or social media directly from within your dashboard.

To learn more about these and our other unique SMS texting benefits, visit our website.

CONCLUSION

SMS texting in university and college admissions is a high-leverage marketing channel that produces incredible ROI. Universities adopting this technology report more engagement, increased enrollment yield, higher retention rates, and better customer satisfaction. Not to mention huge time savings and enhanced productivity amongst staff.

But in order to be effective, higher education texting must be done right.

Enterprise-grade solutions like TrueDialog make the process easy. Our five-star rated, scalable SMS messaging platform is built from the ground up for higher education managers.

We are the cloud experts in SMS text messaging technology and offer more features than the competition – for about half the price.

Don’t sacrifice. Insist on getting more value for less money. Give us a call and let us introduce you to the power of TrueDialog.


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Give us a call today at 512-501-5940 or sign up online for your FREE 15-day trial (no credit card required).

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