10-digit long code registration and validation is sweeping business SMS, creating a safer, less spammy playing field for texting. But the process can be complicated (and a little annoying). So, we’re here to break it down.
What is 10DLC?
10DLC refers to the 10-digit long code phone numbers your business uses to text or call customers.
Recently, the national mobile carriers (think Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile) started a program to regulate business texting from these 10-digit phone numbers. The idea is to provide greater transparency into the use of Application to Person texting from businesses to their subscribers (your customers). The program is also meant to offer up better protections for both businesses and customers and eliminate spam.
This is an industry-wide requirement for business texting. Any business that texts from a standard phone number must register, regardless of the texting platform. Shortcodes and Toll-Free numbers are not regulated by the 10DLC standards.
Why are carriers implementing 10DLC registration regulations?
The mobile carriers want to prevent spammers from taking advantage of businesses and their customers.
Simply put, mobile carriers are trying their hardest to avoid following in email’s footsteps.
How many emails do you have in your inbox at this minute? 10? 100? 10,000? And how many of those emails are you actually reading and engaging with each day? Chances are you’re skimming or skipping a huge majority of them.
Texting sheds the excess weight of your corpulent, pernicious inbox. And mobile carriers in the US want to keep it that way.
To register you’ll need to provide details about your business and brand. Then, it’ll require Campaign Use Cases, which break down how you intend to use your business texting. And finally, you’ll need to provide a few sample messages your brand would send customers using your 10DLC number.
What will I need to register a 10DLC number?
Registering your brand is a one-time setup. You’ll need to provide information that matches precisely to your tax documentation. Please make sure this info is absolutely accurate and free of any misspellings.
Here’s a list of the information you’ll need to register your line:
Your legal business name
Make sure this matches exactly to your tax documents. If you miss including “LLC” or change your capitalization or have other inconsistencies, your registration may not be accepted and you’ll have to resubmit.
The name your company is doing business as
Your business address
Your company’s tax number/ID/EIN
If you are a SOLE-PROP using your social security number for tax purposes: we recommend you go through the process to obtain an EIN and then resubmit your 10DLC Registration. It is very easy to get a EIN and only takes a few moments. You can do so here: https://irs.ein-tax-id-number.com/application/
Your business industry and type (private, publicly traded or nonprofit)
Your Stock Symbol if applicable
Your company’s website
Your primary contact’s details
You’ll also need to provide descriptions of your use cases and sample messages for each type of campaign you run.
The vast majority of Textel clients typically fall into one (or more) of four campaign use case types. Those are:
Sole Proprietors. This campaign type is available for customers who don’t have an EIN/tax number. These customers are limited in their throughput.
Customer Care. These texts include customer interactions, including account management and customer support.
Marketing. This type of campaign use case includes marketing or promotional content. That might be sales notifications, discount codes, and the like.
Higher Education. This is messaging on behalf of colleges or universities, but also includes school districts and any educational institution. This use case is not for the “free to the consumer” messaging model.
If you select more than one of these use cases, your campaign choice will be registered as “Mixed.”
Other standard use cases may include:
Fraud Alert Messaging
Low Volume Mixed
Polling and Voting
Public Service Announcements
What Happens When My Registration is Submitted?
While your submission might sound a little overwhelming, don’t freak out – we’re here to help!
Once you’ve submitted your registration to us, we’ll work with our carrier partners to complete the registration process for you with The Campaign Registry. TCR will locate and confirm the existence of the company you submitted by checking against several databases and using best-practice, third-party verification vendors. The following information must be verified in order for your brand to obtain a “verified” status:
EIN/ Tax ID
Legal Company Name
Legal Company Address
The check will also look to see:
If your brand is a tax-exempt organization if the “non-profit” entity type is selected
If your brand is part of the Russell 3000 list.
It can take up to five days for verification, depending on volume and approval times. It’s important to note that accuracy matters. Any typos or outdated information can significantly affect your verified status.
If your brand fails the vetting process, you’ll need to resubmit your data, correcting any inaccuracies or inconsistencies.
If you choose not to register, your text message traffic will be subject to filtering and may be blocked or rejected.
Here are a few resources to make registering your business a little easier:
How many communications channels does your business use to engage with customers? Based on numbers alone, businesses can’t afford to miss out on Facebook Messenger’s 1.3 billion users and Twitter’s reach of over 69 million users in the US. Aside from social media, chances are you also have an email account for customer queries. Yet, there is an effective still often overlooked communication channel. As a business, are you taking advantage of using texting?
Believe it or not, business texting—good old SMS and MMS—actually improve the customer experience your brand provides. Among the many channels used by companies to communicate with clients, in some aspects, SMS and MMS can improve customer experience more than technically advanced options for a number of reasons.
On average, people only read 20% of their emails but open and read 90% of their text messages—and that’s within three minutes of receiving them. So, regardless of whether you want eyeballs on your latest promo or you have an urgent message to a specific customer, the numbers indicate that business texting is your best bet to reach them.
In comparison, other communication channels are more or less categorized between marketing promotional blasts and one-to-one correspondence. For instance, Twitter is geared more towards sharing marketing materials or additional useful insights to a larger audience: customers get a feed of what their followed brands are blasting. Do that on Messenger, however, and you could easily alienate your clients. Most people have Messenger profiles directly linked with their Facebook accounts and typically consider conversations within the app more personal. Messenger is reserved more for one-on-one chats with customers with actual queries and not just people on the lookout for the latest thing to like or share. Email offers a more formal appeal that doesn’t lend itself well to quick queries where customers are looking for answers in minutes.
There is simply no other communication channel that offers the incredibly high open and read rates of SMS and MMS.
Business Texting Bridges Gaps in User Experience
The sheer simplicity of SMS or MMS texting eliminates the user barrier because of technical difficulty. In other words, everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennials can easily use texting and would actually prefer it.
Technologies used by teens in the US to stay connected to friends and family they no longer see in-person during the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020. (Image Source)
According to research by Statista, teenagers in the US much preferred texting compared to calling, social media, and messenger apps to communicate during the pandemic lockdowns, when activities in all these channels naturally increased.
Meanwhile, a survey by the AARP found that 70% of adults aged over 50 own a smartphone and are on social media. Yet, for those aged 50 to 69, text messaging is the “tech tool most used to stay connected,” overtaking email as a preference.
Customers Value Genuine One-on-One Communication
SMS texting is usually an intimate mode of communication. It’s one approach companies use to foster their relationships with their customers. It is essentially an ideal channel for customer relationship management (CRM).
Even if you don’t have a CRM strategy in place to maximize the value of SMS and MMS as a communication channel, the back and forth that business texting affords creates a one-to-one experience for customers who find value in being personally serviced even among thousands or even millions of other users. They know you can be reached and can easily reply in an interaction that is genuine and not canned.
Of course, even canned responses provide value customers can appreciate. A quick automatic response that answers your customer’s query keywords can give the user a fast service. This provides text messaging with an advantage compared to Messenger and email.
Centralizing Business Messaging Under One Contact Number Improves Brand Recall
Among the details customers often recall about a business are their brand name, logo, tagline, and contact number. While Twitter handles and Facebook brand page and Messenger profiles are ubiquitous nowadays, a central contact number can unify incoming customers’ communications and improve their user experience.
Through business texting solutions, customers no longer have to search for your company’s Twitter or Facebook accounts or like and follow your business pages to get in touch. Texting software allows customers to text into your landline or 1-800 toll-free numbers, simplifying the contact channels and making your business readily available.
Texting’s Immediate Accessibility and Ease of Use Provide Great User Value
SMS is by far the simplest, straightforward, and accessible method of communication by phone for clients, without requiring an online connection or smartphone. This immediately gives business texting an advantage when it comes to customer experience.
Textel solutions are designed to simplify the way companies connect with their customers. Our integrated cloud platform gives your customers a smooth and great experience, enables texting to toll-free and landline numbers, manages multiple text conversations, sends images, documents, and emojis. You can learn more about how Textel provides a complete texting messages solution. Start leveraging a texting message platform that takes your customers’ experience to the next level.
If you would like to learn more about optimizing your customer experience with business texting, contact us.
Texting reduces call volumes, especially when it’s used in tandem with an IVR to deflect calls. However, incoming texts require a response, which still demands time and effort. Text automation takes your messaging to the next level by kicking your message response time into high gear while increasing your availability.
What the Heck is Text Automation?
Text automation describes a set of features designed to reduce or remove the manual work required to respond to a text. Not all customer calls require a lot of time to resolve (like a Zappos employee a few years back who spent 10 hours, 43 minutes on one). Texting automation better utilizes agents by focusing on calls that require their expertise – not on the mind-numbing ones. That means happier agents, faster response times for simple questions, and a better customer experience in general.
Textbot to Live Agent
If you’re familiar with chatbots, textbots are the same thing but over text. Just as chatbots reduce the need for a live agent to chat, textbots can save agents from needing to respond to every text. It can also gather the necessary information from a customer before passing the text over to a live agent. For example, a textbot can:
Gather essential account information like customer name, account number, or phone number.
Collect demographic information like location, age, education, or marital status.
Qualify or disqualify a customer based on GPA, income, projected purchase date.
Once customers respond to a textbot, it can check to make sure the customer correctly provided the information. For example, if the textbot asked someone for their age, and the person replied, “Mars,” the textbot would recognize this as an invalid response and ask for clarification.
Auto replies respond to texts immediately. You’ve probably already encountered an auto-reply message over a phone call if you tried calling someone after hours (“Thanks for calling [name of business]. We are currently closed. Our hours are…”). Auto replies via text operate the same way and, yes, an everyday use for it is to respond to texts received after regular business hours.
While it might sound like a minor feature, auto-replies are essential to the customer experience. Imagine texting a business’s phone number and getting no response. It would make you immediately wonder whether the number was valid. Worse, a non-response could make you think that the business had terrible customer service. Auto-replies create trust between your business and your customers.
Quick replies give your agents a powerful tool to resolve common issues quickly. Rather than typing up a response to a customer question, agents can select from several canned responses – all the agent has to do is click the response and hit send.
If possible, use your team’s reporting tools (whether from a contact center tool, CRM, etc.) to analyze common questions. If that’s not available, ask your team. A best practice is to create quick replies by skill level. That way, your agents only see quick replies applicable to the questions they receive.
It’s That Easy
Automated texting has a massive impact on your customer experience. Fortunately, implementing them in your communications is pretty straightforward. If you still find the idea of text automation intimidating, don’t worry – Textel can help you every step of the way.
Informing customers about texting doesn’t reduce the volume of customer interactions, but it does lay the groundwork for other best practices that do – more on that later.
#2. Deflect Calls Using Text Within Your IVR
Traditionally, contact centers set up their IVRs so callers could get the information they needed (e.g., check shipping status, bank account balance, hours of operation, etc.) without connecting with an agent. The problem is, because traditional call deflection relies on voice, its effectiveness depends on call quality and how well the caller can remember the information given. Ultimately, this risks a poor customer experience.
Embedding texting within your IVR solves that. Information can be sent quickly and clearly via text. Best of all, customers can refer back to past text messages for information rather than repeatedly calling.
#3. Leverage Canned Text Responses
Getting your customers texting solves the call volume issue but doesn’t completely solve for agents’ bandwidth if they just overwhelm them with texts – canned text responses solve this. Canned responses act exactly as they do with web chat, in that they allow agents to respond to common phrases and frequently asked questions with preset responses.
The key is to work with your agents to determine the most common phrases and questions and to come up with the approved response. Equally important is organizing the canned text responses appropriately so that an agent can easily find and click the appropriate response.
#4. Don’t Forget Auto Replies
Auto replies alleviate agents’ capacity by using keywords and even the time of day to automatically send text responses to customers.
#5. Use Text as a ChatBot
Texts can gather information that would normally be an agent’s burden to collect. They also capture information accurately and can be used to determine whether to connect a customer to a live agent.
For example, a Textel customer in higher education used Textel’s chatbot to live agent feature to qualify prospective students before connecting them to an enrollment advisor.
#6. Enable Simultaneous Text Interactions
Texting allows agents to speak to multiple customers at one time. Contact center managers can designate the number of simultaneous conversations an agent can handle. Based on Textel’s research, four conversations are the average number an agent can effectively handle.
#7 Simplify Your Tech Stack
Onboarding agents to support texts is much easier if they can use the same tools they’re used to already. Textel works with the leading contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions in the market like NICE inContact and Genesys, with more on the way. By embedding Textel seamlessly in these solutions, agents have one application to manage their calls, chats, and texts.
Texting is, without a doubt, one of the best ways businesses can drive additional revenue. 98% of all texts are opened and as noted in previous posts:
Texting averages a 40% response rate.
Phone calls typically only create a meager 5% response rate.
Email is worse at just 3%.
This is even truer during holiday months as customers are on the lookout for the latest deals. However, not all texts are equally effective and, if done poorly, they can weaken your customer relationships. Here are some best practices to ensure your text messages are as effective as possible.
Compliance is Key
First, some housekeeping. Before you begin an outbound text blast campaign, make sure:
Every number on your list has formally opted in to receiving text messages from your business.
Whatever message you send includes a simple opt-out instruction.
The technology platform you use, like Textel or your Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, supports a Do Not Call (DNC) list which will remove numbers who have opted out.
Try to send your promotion as close as possible to when your customers are likely to buy your product. If you’re a large grocery chain, you may want to send out turkey promotions closer to Thanksgiving. Many businesses choose to send promotions closer to the evening when most people get off work and can do some online shopping or go out to eat.
Just remember to only send messages between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. based on the customers’ local time, although the allowable time may be shorter based on additional state regulations.
Make It Pop with MMS
Standard text messaging is fine, but MMS messages which allow you to send pictures, emojis, gifs, and even documents are even better due to their visual appeal. Keep in mind that MMS messages limit the amount of text you can include so think strategically about what is better shown in the image versus said in the text.
The simple fact is texting works and MMS texting makes your promotions even more eye-catching.
Black Friday is a great case study in creating urgency. Many retail outlets place time limits on when certain deals are valid including the day and time of day. COVID-19 may change how businesses approach urgency on the holiday, but you can still find creative ways to allow safe shopping while still encouraging customers to buy now. Examples include limited the quantity and type of product or service available. Just be careful to not abuse urgency – if everything is an emergency, nothing is.
Make Them Feel Special
Texting can be more than a channel for communication – it can also be an exclusive club. By positioning your text messages as the main way customers access exclusive offers, you ensure they will pay attention when you text. Here’s a couple of things to consider when creating exclusivity:
Make sure they know it is exclusive when they sign up.
Avoid using short code (e.g. 55555) when sending texts. Be sure to text enable your existing business phone numbers. That way they’ll recognize who it’s coming from.
Actually deliver value. Don’t use an exclusive club to push things that aren’t really special.
Use Textel Blast
Textel Blast lets you send text blasts from your existing business phone number. This includes MMS text messages to send images and more. Best of all, Textel works with many existing systems of record including CCaaS vendors like NICE inContact and Genesys. As your customers respond to your promotions, texts can be automatically routed to the right agent who handles the interaction within the tools they already use.
Textel’s cloud-based business texting platform is now a Premium App on the Genesys® AppFoundry. The app is available for Genesys Cloud™, one of the leading public cloud contact center platforms.
We sit down with Paul Jones, Senior Director of Channel Development, to learn more about the app and how it helps Genesys Cloud customers be more effective.
Genesys Cloud and AppFoundry
Textel: What is Genesys® Cloud and the Genesys® AppFoundry?
Paul Jones: Genesys Cloud is a public cloud-based contact center as a service (aka CCaaS) platform. As a CCaaS it helps organizations provide better experiences to their customers and employees.
The Genesys® AppFoundry is their marketplace focused on customer experience solutions. The AppFoundry allows Genesys customers from all market segments to discover and rapidly deploy a broad range of solutions that make it easier to interact with consumers, engage employees and optimize their workforce.
Textel: What does it mean to be a Premium App on the AppFoundry?
Paul Jones: Beyond the benefits of the integration, there are several benefits to being a Premium App, but the primary benefit to Genesys customers is their Textel subscription is on their Genesys invoice. That means there are fewer invoices scattered around for simpler vendor management.
Textel: Which Genesys Cloud customers can use Textel’s integration?
Paul Jones: It’s available for all Genesys Cloud customers on the Cloud 2 or Cloud 3 tier. That means Cloud 2 customers who normally wouldn’t have access to texting can now do it and Cloud 3 customers get a ton of additional texting enhancements. This also means users with a Business user license can send and receive text messages.
How Textel’s Integration Works
Textel: Let’s talk about the integration. What does it do specifically?
Paul Jones: The integration works seamlessly within Genesys Cloud by text-enabling a contact center’s pre-existing business numbers. When a customer texts the pre-existing business number, it’s automatically routed to an available SMS-proficient agent who can then text right back. Teams can also send outbound texts on an ad hoc basis or using event-based triggers in the Genesys platform.
Textel: Where do agents see the incoming and outgoing texts?
Paul Jones: The agents see all text communications in the Genesys Customer Experience Platform’s chat window so they can manage it all in the application they’re already using. This also includes any historical text messages if the customer texted them before.
Textel: Does that includes MMS text messaging?
Paul Jones: Yes. Customers and agents can send and receive anything from emojis and pictures to even things like gifs, calendar invites, and documents. It’s a great way of exchanging a lot of information in a short amount of time.
Textel: Which is huge for contact centers overwhelmed with phone calls.
Paul Jones: To be honest, they can’t afford not to. Contact centers are already finding additional channels to connect to their customers like social media, but they have to incorporate texting if they’re going to complete their omnichannel strategy.
Textel: What are contact centers getting with the Textel integration that isn’t available by supporting social media channels.
Paul Jones: I wouldn’t say we compete with social media channels. People communicate in different ways and contact centers need to support those ways as best they can. That said, our texting integration does have benefits to both agents and customers that social media and apps lack. Texting requires no app to download or new system to learn. Customers don’t have to open an app to talk or receive messages from an agent.
Textel: And that’s just one app you’re talking about.
Paul Jones: Imagine being a customer navigating over a dozen apps with a dozen workflows. Same thing with social media – you could be talking to several companies but on a handful of different social apps. We don’t want contact center agents managing a dozen different apps to do their job (hence Textel’s integration with Genesys), so why should we force customers to do that?
Learn More about Textel’s Genesys Cloud Integration
Textel: Where can they learn more about the integration?
Paul Jones: Genesys users can check us out on our Premium AppFoundry listing. I’m also more than happy to field any question people might have. They can email me at [email protected] or call/text me at 844-483-9835.