Seven Qualities of a Quality Text Messaging Provider
Make sure the SMS/MMS carrier complies
The FCC and carriers have made new efforts to enact new restrictions that are intended to stem the flow of text messages that have recently been clogging our cell phones. The majority of businesses only want to communicate legitimate messages with clients, customers, and even staff; but, staying on top of the most recent compliance regulations may be challenging, perplexing, and, worst of all, expensive.
your text messaging service provider. The communications industry is home to thousands of messaging vendors, the majority of which provide short code, long code (also known as 10DLC), and toll-free messaging. Some of these vendors excel at text delivery and offer competitive prices, while others fall short in ensuring that their clients register and thoroughly check out their brands, campaigns, and messages. However, how much they aid their clients’ compliance efforts now is what really sets them apart.
Here are seven qualities that a text messaging service provider needs to have in order for your organization to succeed in the current omnichannel communications landscape.
1. They Clearly and Articulately State Their Values
Since no one wants to commit to a long-term relationship with someone they can’t trust, it becomes crucial to make sure that the person they’re dating shares the same values as you. Business partners should be treated the same way.
Most reputable businesses make their company’s “ideology,” or mission statement, public, which ought to contain their principles. For instance, at SimpSocial, our team embodies our “there is a better way” company philosophy in everything we say, do, build, and send. We also put our values on our website.
Transparency, partnership, diversity, and respect are among these ideals, but integrity is likely first and foremost. We make an effort to follow the law and provide only the best voice and text communications to those who have chosen to receive them. In order to reduce fraudulent messages, we strictly follow industry standards and carrier specifications. Because of this, SimpSocial has aggressively prevented upstream providers and mobile carriers from receiving millions of non-compliant and spamming communications.
Ask your prospective supplier if you’re unsure about their core principles. They should be able to respond swiftly and, ideally, provide a written response.
2. They are scouting you while you are scouting them
Before the communications begin to be sent, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “know your customer” regulations must take effect. Before you sign on the dotted line, the provider should start the process of verifying the integrity of their messaging communications, and they should also be performing their due diligence to make sure you’re a suitable fit. Even if your communications are genuine but the other clients of your supplier are not, it might still have an impact on future advertising!
Many message service providers allow customers to sign up straight online without going through any sort of verification process, which is a surefire indication that the company is willing to accept non-compliant messaging campaigns. Instead, there should be a conversation-based sales approach.
For instance, at SimpSocial, we never accept new clients without first putting them through a verification procedure that involves asking them a number of qualifying questions. Essentially, we work to confirm that each prospect is an established company engaged in legitimate business, we look at where they’re located (since business laws vary), and we carefully review examples of previous messaging before we create an account.
Customers accept SimpSocial’s best practices, such as the TCPA, CTIA, and carrier code of conduct regulations, when they sign up for the service. Periodically, we also request that our legacy reseller customers audit their current clientele.
While a provider’s list of recommended practices and questions may differ, their level of worry shouldn’t. Do you want to entrust your pipeline to a partner who is unethical, even though your firm is legitimate? (And bear in mind that if a provider gets shut down, all of their business will be shut down, not just the offending campaigns!) Check to see if your service provider has your best interests in mind and not just your wallet.
3. They have network-based procedures for removing unwanted traffic.
Despite the best efforts of the verification procedure, spam still manages to enter the pipeline. So, all reputable providers have numerous manual and automated checks and balances to keep fraudulent messages from being forwarded to carriers.
Despite our best efforts to eliminate bad senders from our customer base, SimpSocial recognizes that automated filters and other measures are needed to keep fraudulent messaging from reaching our carriers and message recipients. Some of the systems we have in place include:
SimpSocial utilizes proprietary spam filters that block over 10,000 forbidden keywords and phrases and, as previously noted, has blocked millions of non-compliant messages each month
We perform daily content audits to validate our customers are using mandatory stop language in every message, as well as avoiding content that is forbidden under CTIA and TCPA
We actively track customer 10DLC campaign registration status percentages to identify any customers who are not working to get traffic registered and verified
4. They Make It Easy to Register your Brands and Campaigns
Carriers are done with the whole issue of spam. Right now, 50% of all messaging campaigns must be registered, and that number will be 100% by the end of June. Coupled with that are additional fees for unregistered traffic. It only makes sense for a provider to offer direct access to The Campaign Registry (TCR) through their portal or APIs, in the same place where the campaigns are ultimately sent.
SimpSocial was one of the first providers to offer full brand and campaign registry passthrough APIs for customers and resellers and now includes contextual clues for many of the fields. The Support team is also happy to walk you through the process. Campaigns that get approved the first time they’re submitted are a win-win for everyone involved—the carrier, the provider, the customer, and the customer’s budget!
5. They’re Connected to Their DCA
Messaging senders providers, DCAs →and Carriers
Most messaging providers connect to other providers, but some (like SimpSocial) have direct connections) to their Direct Connect Aggregator (DCA). DCAs are messaging experts with the most up-to-date information from the carriers and can provide quick answers and guidance to ensure your messaging traffic is optimized for approval, delivery, and conversion.
6. They Communicate Updates to Their Customers
SMS E-BookIt is important for providers not only to stay up to date on and adhere to carrier and FCC policies but also to share this information with customers in a timely manner and easy-to-understand language.
Given the frequency and urgency of changes in the industry, SimpSocial works hard to keep prospects and customers up to date with the latest information regarding messaging and The Campaign Registry, utilizing a range of media to reach as many people as possible, including:
Customer emails are sent whenever there’s an industry update—a new requirement or fee, or a change to The Campaign Registry—reiterating the importance of compliance and how to access support
webinars and videos on messaging requirements, including many of our monthly “Telecom Wise Guy” and Industry Briefings, plus a registry “how-to” video on our blog; we’re also open to more in-depth sessions on a one-to-one basis
Conference and webinar speaking spots on messaging compliance, with industry leaders such as The Campaign Registry
Regular social media posts across the SimpSocial pages on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, with links to more information messaging Campaign Checklist
Website compliance and best practices content (see fee page below)
Messaging and compliance deep-dives—an SMS ebook plus blogs and comprehensive “hot topics” on the website
7. Enforcement: Removal of Non-compliant Senders
Nobody wants to lose a good customer or a revenue stream, but a provider that becomes aware of illegal traffic and continues to accept it, puts all of their customers at risk. If a provider comes under scrutiny, all of their traffic could be under scrutiny; and if a provider is shut down, all campaigns are halted—simple as that. Before you sign on with a new provider, ask them what their policy is.
SimpSocial works hard to ensure that the voice and messaging communications sent via our systems meet the highest industry standards, and is proud of its reputation as a top-rated CPaaS provider. Our system administrators are constantly reviewing processes to ensure the highest integrity of text messaging; our sales staff vets each prospect and customer carefully; our marketing team provides regular updates, overviews, and educational pieces; and our U.S.-based support team works with customers to make sure they are up to date and compliant with the most current requirements.
Each provider will handle these issues a little differently; they may have a slightly different array of tactics to enforce compliance or emphasize different aspects. And, spam will occasionally slip past every provider, regardless of their diligence—with millions of messages every day, it’s impossible to read each and every one of them. What matters is that they’re concerned about compliance, they’re up to date on the latest requirements, and working with their customers to keep traffic clean. When looking for a new provider, ask questions, take the time to get to know them, and be sure your values are aligned!
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