SMS Operational Tips
  • 08 Apr 2022
  • 6 Minutes To Read
  • PDF

SMS Operational Tips

  • PDF

It’s always a good idea to inform Customers of the type of text messages you’ll be sending and give them a chance to opt-in or opt-out. This is usually accomplished with a legal disclaimer. For instance, as a first step, inform Customers that messaging and data rates may apply before sending their first SMS. If you have an App, this can be presented through a modal when a Customer chooses to text message you.

This can also be an audible disclaimer, where a Customer hears a prerecorded disclaimer message in your IVR before they choose to pivot to the SMS Channel if you allow IVR to SMS support.

Once the Customer opts to proceed and sends in their first message, your first response to that Customer mustn't be just a greeting, but another disclaimer to inform them of the data rates they may incur and their right to opt-out of future SMS communications by using the keyword, “STOP.”

Check out our help doc on Opt-Out keywords to learn more.

Choosing the correct type of number

You must consider the type of SMS number you want to use if you choose to implement SMS. The three primary types include 10-digit Long Code Numbers, Toll-Free Numbers, and Short Code Numbers. Each type will have its own set of usability rules and caveats, which you can learn more about here.

A “long code” number will allow you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages, but you must be mindful of your messaging volume when using this type of number. Some carriers may filter SMS messages from Long Code numbers, especially when the volume of messages is high.

A toll-free SMS number can be used to send/receive SMS from a toll-free number and works best with person-to-person communication, such as Customer support or sales. TFNs support much higher throughput than 10 digit long code numbers, but they may not be suitable for use when sending a large volume of SMS marketing messages.

A shortcode is a five or six-digit telephone number used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages in higher volumes than long code numbers. Examples of applications best suited to a short code include marketing communications, large one-to-many notification bursts, time-sensitive alerts, and high volumes of one-to-one transactional notifications. You can also purchase a vanity short code for branding purposes, or so your SMS number is easy for Customers to remember.

Be concise

SMS is an asynchronous Channel, and the dialogue is different than dialogue on other Channels. SMS responses tend to be shorter than, say, email responses. Therefore, please consider two things when adding SMS as a Channel:

  • First, train your Agents to consistently convey your brand’s voice in shorter, more concise phrases. Do not let them write novels, but instead keep free-form responses short and sweet.
  • Second, you can help reinforce this philosophy by creating a library of Gladly Answers for your Agents to use in SMS Conversations. Answers can be tailored according to different channels, like SMS, based on the Answer type used. It’s always recommended to create Answers specifically tailored for use in your messaging Channel which usually contains concise text.

See Strategy and Tips for Building Your Answers Knowledge Base to learn more.

SMS across multiple assets and touch-points

If you promote it they will come! It is very important to promote SMS (and other communication Channels) across all your digital and non-digital assets.

We suggest taking a phased approach, especially when using a Channel you’ve never used before. For instance, If using SMS as a stand-alone Channel, make sure to advertise your SMS number properly. We suggest promoting your SMS number alongside your email and primary phone numbers on your website, Google, and anywhere else you promote your business.

When promoting SMS support on your website, make sure to include the SMS number where your other Channels are listed. If you want to drive more communications to this Channel, you can experiment by placing your SMS number ahead of other Channels on your contact us page. Remember, the human eye tends to move from left to right in North America, so placing your SMS number first, followed by your email, phone number, and chat Entry Points will likely drive more traffic to the SMS Channel vs. if you had it last in this lineup.

In addition to advertising SMS as a stand-alone Channel, you can also promote and use it in your IVR by adding an SMS node. To learn more about how this works, please check out our IVR to SMS help doc. 

Set proper expectations (Office Hours)

Unlike voice and chat, SMS is an asynchronous Channel, which means Customers can SMS you at just about anytime day or night. This isn’t a problem if you have a 24/7 operation. However, if you have finite operating business hours, you will want to make sure and set proper expectations with your Customers. Gladly offers several configurable settings to do just that.

The first is Business Hours. Used with SMS and email, Business Hours is a setting that allows you to specify your operating hours so you can automate certain actions — through Rules — in Gladly.

Business Hours Options

Once you’ve defined and set your Business Hours in Gladly you can use them in Gladly Rules to create time-based actions in Gladly. So, in our example, if a Customer reaches out to us during normal hours we can use rules to automatically send a specific auto response. However, if a Customer were to send us an SMS message after business hours, you can trigger a Rule to send a different auto-response 

Rules may also be used to close any SMS Conversations that come in after normal business hours. You will first want to inform the Customer, via the auto-response, that they should reach back out to you during normal business hours. Once, you’ve done that you can close the Conversation altogether so it does not negatively impact your SLAs.

Please note this is a slightly more “aggressive” approach to SMS Contacts. So, if you are fine waiting until the morning to reply, then this rule would not be needed.

To learn more about Business Hours and Rules please check out this help doc.

Implement Rules

Automate processes and routing of some SMSs by using Rules. See the Sample SMS Rules Library for ideas.

Blended Agents vs. SMS only Agents

It is important to consider if you would like to have all messaging Contacts come into a single Inbox or multiple Inboxes. If you have a blended workforce and you would like your specialists to field SMS, Chat, and other messaging Contacts when they go available that’s great. All you would have to do is make sure the reps are members of the Inboxes receiving these communications.

However, suppose you only want a specific group of specialists handling SMS and a different group handling Chats (or other messaging Channels). In that case, it will be important to make sure you have these communications routed to different Inboxes and make sure a specialist is only assigned to Inboxes associated with the communication Channels they are scheduled to work.

Measure what works using reports

  • Agent Summary 
    • Sort by queued-to-fulfilled time to see if there are specific SMS Inboxes or SMS specialists who trend high for SMS wait time
    • Sort by accepted-to-fulfilled time to see if there are training opportunities. This is the time after the SMS has been routed to a support hero until they reply.
    • Use the logs in/ out, or available/ unavailable for chats metric to identify Agents that might be avoiding SMS messaging Contacts.
  • Contact Export
    • Sort by SMS, and then look in column "Z" - "queued-to-fulfilled" for Contacts with a high wait time.

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