Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Director, Product Management – April 21, 2015
In December, I posted a blog about what you need to know about the differences in message originators in the US and Canada. In January, OpenMarket announced support for text enabling toll-free and landline phone numbers. Since then there have been additional enhancements regarding the availability of high throughput for text enabled toll-free numbers on most major US carriers. Have you considered using a text-enabled toll-free number for non-marketing use cases or using a text-enabled phone number for a new mobile program? If you have non-marketing use cases like two-factor authentication or customer service notifications where your business is trying to communicate with your customers in the most effective and economical manner possible, then please read below.
1) They are priced for non-marketing use cases
Text enabling your toll-free number is a mere $2/month. Additionally, short code specific fees would also be eliminated. You could even use your text enabled toll free number alongside your short code, utilizing lookups to deliver your MT traffic via your text enabled toll free number to specific carriers, to avoid some of those additional fees.
2) It is faster to get your program up and running
Short codes historically were provided to enable marketing use cases where businesses text consumers to try to sell them something. This is similar to email marketing which preceded text-based marketing use cases. Hence, the carriers developed a framework of best practices or rules for how to use short codes for these use cases. Read our blog post for more details.
As part of the campaign provisioning process, businesses must submit program briefs that each of the major carriers review and approve before allowing the business to send and receive text messages on their short code. This can take 4-8 weeks which isn’t an unusual amount of time for all of the carriers to approve a short code program brief. By using a text-enabled toll-free number, you can get your phone number text-enabled and your non-marketing program running traffic between 1-3 days with a minimal amount of overhead by comparison.
3) It is a better customer experience
Siloed channels of communication aren’t a great customer experience. Forcing your customers to only get phone calls or only be able to call you back isn’t what mobile users want or expect from their businesses. The same is true for texting with your customers. Customers want control of which channel they use to communicate with the companies they do business with. Your customers may want to text you back and at other times they will want to call you depending on the context. Don’t make them hunt for your phone number; use your toll-free number as the message originator so they can call or text you back.
As mentioned previously, almost all of the major carriers now support high throughput and delivery receipts with text enabled toll-free numbers as message originators. So the scalability that you may want is available for you to start utilizing a text-enabled toll-free number today. We invite you to talk with the industry’s expert for guidance on how to get started using text-enabled phone numbers so you can save time and money and improve your customers’ experience.