With 48.7 million people choosing to receive SMS messages from businesses, it is more important than ever for business management system providers to include programmable messaging capabilities for their clients. With that, however, there are important regulations that must be followed.

What is Programmable Messaging?

Programmable messaging refers to the ability to utilize SMS and MMS functionality through software such as communication APIs. Integrating this technology into CRM systems, software, and apps give these platforms the ability to send conversational, informational, and promotional text messages.

Programmable Messaging Types

  • Conversational Messaging
    Conversational messaging is a personal, one-on-one conversation with a business that is usually initiated by the customer. This type of messaging is used to make communications with the brand easier for the consumer.
  • Informational Messaging
    Informational messaging is when a consumer provides their mobile number upfront and asks to be contacted in the future. Welcome texts, appointment reminders, and alerts fall into this category and are initiated by the business.
  • Promotional Messaging
    Promotional messaging is a communication sent by a brand informing prospective and current customers about sales, promotions, and offers. These messages are initiated by the business and typically include a call-to-action.

Text messaging provides a variety of benefits and opportunities for businesses, however, with this technology comes strict regulations that must be followed to avoid expensive penalties.

Consent Requirements for Programmable Messaging

In order to protect consumers, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) placed regulations that limit SMS marketing to only those who intentionally opt-in and express written consent to receive messages from a business.

What is Written Consent?

According to the FCC, express written consent, as defined in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), is permission given by someone on paper or electronically. Essentially, consent can’t be implied or assumed. It must be given and recorded either by hand or digitally.

The only exception to this rule is with conversational messaging when the customer initiates and sends the first message. However, in this situation, a reply text may only be a one-time message sent immediately as a response to their request and may contain no marketing or advertising information other than what was specifically asked.

Text Message Opt-In Methods

There are a variety of ways to request permission from customers in order to text them. Here are three of the most common methods:

  1. Keywords
    Once a local or toll-free number has been chosen, businesses can choose a word or phrase people can text to that number if they want to give consent.
  2. Website Form
    Create a website form that makes it easy for visitors to opt-in for text messages. A mobile phone field can also be added to any of your existing forms, but keep in mind that a box must be included that users check – it can’t automatically be checked – to opt-in.
  3. Paper Form
    Going the more traditional route, consent can be collected manually with paper forms. However, just like digital forms, they must have an unchecked box that can be checked to clearly indicate that the person agrees to receive text messages.

In addition to getting consent, regulations also require businesses to offer a simple and direct way for consumers to opt-out of receiving future messages as well.

As the desire for text communication continues to grow, incorporating programmable messaging capabilities into business management software will be a necessity to stay competitive in the market. Looking for a solution that is easy to integrate into your current platform? We can help! Contact us for more details.


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