SMS Registration Breaking My Brain
May 16, 2024 11:27 AM   Subscribe

My organization recently switched to a softphone client and needs to complete SMS registration. We're not registering for any of the use cases the process seems to assume. We're submitting registration through an online portal so there's no one to reason with. I am your classic burned out nonprofit operations staffer, I have been fully out of spoons since 2020, and I am losing my mind trying to do this. If you have successfully completed this for a similar use case, please explain how. Details inside.

I work for a small nonprofit. For many of our clients, the easiest way to communicate with us is by text. These are not "campaign" texts, they're conversations with a service provider. We don't collect phone numbers on our website, but via the client intake process. Our "campaign" application keeps getting rejected, most recently because we don't specify message frequency, but message frequency is basically dictated by whether and how often clients contact us by text. (E.g., if a client can communicate with us via email, we might never text them; if a client prefers to communicate primarily by text, we'll...text them.) We never share client info. We can't append those "reply STOP to stop receiving messages" because that eats up character limits for recipients. Also, can you imagine if you were trying to have a conversation with someone and every.single.text they sent you included an opt-out message? I keep trying to explain in the registration form that we're not advertising anything, the messages aren't automated, they're conversational, frequency has to vary based on the client's needs, but we keep coming back here. The operations professional I was before burnout probably could have figured this out, but the one I am now is tired and braindead and I am so, so, so, so exhausted, please help me.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? to Technology (5 answers total)
*I am not involved in the business side of the setup for this, it's very possible I'm unaware of something key*

But I am involved in onboarding employees, and when we have someone starts who will need text capabilities, what I ask for is "an SMS enabled DID" to be assigned to them through our voip provider. This gives the employee an independent phone number with texting capabilities that they can use through our phone app.
posted by phunniemee at 11:40 AM on May 16

The SMS space has changed a lot since I last worked with it regularly. Assuming these are regular old long codes* the use case I would have used is "Consumer-initiated conversational". What options does you vendor provide?

* Not toll free or short codes.
posted by phil at 2:53 PM on May 16

I asked some friends who still work in the space what a safe number for frequency is and their response was 1-5k a month for the conversational use case.
posted by phil at 3:56 PM on May 16

Response by poster: What options does you vendor provide?

The only options are "campaign" and "conversational," but all the questions that follow that initial option seem geared toward the assumption that all texting is campaign-based (even when we're only trying to register for conversational use): They assume that clients submit their phone numbers on our website (they don't), that we're sending ads or "calls to action" (we don't), that sending is automated (it's not, and our provider can't do mass texting anyway), and seem to be suggesting that every single message we send out has to have "stop" and "info" messages appended.

1-5k a month for the conversational use case. Thank you, I will try this.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:05 AM on May 21

Good luck. If there are other required questions that are not really applicable to you, I can make an attempt at answers that will make it through without too much scrutiny.

Re: Their requirement that you give customers the option to opt-out. I'd toss in jargon like the following. We gather implicit consent by requiring that all conventions begin with a MO (mobile originated) message. We do not send unsolicited MT (mobile terminated) messages.
posted by phil at 8:28 AM on May 22

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