Departments: Smart SMS

A great feature of Textline is Smart SMS.  Smart SMS is a special type of department that allows you to text from more than one number at once.  What this means is that instead of having to have a department for each phone number you want in Textline, you can have one department with up to 400 numbers.  This is a feature for those companies that would like to send faster announcements without using a short code as well as maintain a localized presence by having numbers using many area (and country!) codes, but control it from one location.  Interested to learn more? Read on below.  If you know what it is and just want to setup Smart SMS, click here to skip to setup. 

Geo-Match

Smart SMS is a way for companies to get numbers in many areas of the globe so that their customers feel like someone locally is communicating with them.  This feature also ensures that the customer will also always be communicating with the same number. This is great so that companies don’t have to worry about switching phones number based on load, they can just run their business from the Smart SMS department.  

How does this work?  Well here’s a few details:

  1. Outbound Message to New Contact: Smart SMS will assign contacts to the closest number possible based on area code.  If you have a number that matches the same area code, it will assign that. If not, then it will find the closest area code geographically.
  2. Inbound Message from New Contact: A contact can text any number in your Smart SMS group, but upon response from an agent, Smart SMS will proceed as in point 1.
  3. Contacts will stay with the same number for ever, UNLESS: the contact is assigned to a phone number that you remove from your group.  In this case, Smart SMS will then work to re-match the contact as if you were sending an outbound message to a new contact (as in point 1 above).

What about different countries?

With Geo-Matching in Smart SMS, you can have phone numbers from multiple countries in the same group!  This means that if you’re a European business, you can have a number for each country that Textline supports.  If you’re an international business with locations in many US states, Canadian provinces, and European countries, you can get a local number for each location.

Fast Announcements

There is another facet of the Smart SMS department which is to facilitate sending announcements faster.  By having all of your contacts using one department, but spread out across multiple numbers, you can then use this to your advantage to send your announcements faster.  This is because regulations limit SMS sending to 1 SMS per second per phone number, however with Smart SMS, you can send increase that rate based on the number of phone numbers you have in your group.  With Textline, we foresaw customers wanting two options when sending announcements using Smart SMS, so lets get into that a bit more:

Faster Announcements & Geo-Matching

As we described before, Smart SMS has a Geo-Matching feature.  This assigns contacts to phone numbers to make it feel more personal.  This also includes when sending announcements. When you keep Geo-Matching on, we make sure to use the numbers that the contacts in your Announcement list are associated with.  This means that you will be sending announcements faster (as long as more than one phone number is used), but not as fast as possible. Here’s an example:

  1. You have Smart SMS assigned with 10 phone numbers and want to send an Announcement using that department.
  2. You want to send this Announcement to 400 contacts.
  3. The contact list contains contacts that are assigned to only 3 of the numbers in your Smart SMS setup.
  4. Instead of sending the Announcement in 40 seconds, you send it in just over 2 minutes.

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vs

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vs

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In the above example, the difference in timing isn’t much but it is much faster than the normal announcement sending process of 400 seconds.  That being said, we know that there are some customers with large contacts lists and those where any difference does matter, so we have built in the ability to turn off Geo-Matching.  This means that no matter what, your announcements will always go out as fast as possible. To prevent abuse though, we don’t allow you to configure this yourselves, so drop a text to the Textline team at +1 (415) 849-4349 and we would love to chat with you more about this option.

If you want more than one Smart SMS group, to have one for Geo-Match and one for Super Fast Announcements, you can definitely do that too.

Setup

Interested in Smart SMS?  It’s really easy to get started:

  1. Go to your organization's settings page by clicking on Settings at the top
  2. Within Settings, click on Departments
  3. In the Departments tab, click New Department
  4. Within the New Department page, you’ll see a snowflake icon with the words Smart SMS next to it, click on the Select button to the right to get started.
    snowflake_smart_sms.png
  5. On the next page, you’ll be asked to name your Smart SMS department and select the area code for your first phone number.
  6. Upon creation, you’ll come to the settings page for your Smart SMS department.  Here is where you can start to add in the other area codes that you would like to use.
    add_numbers_smart_sms.png
  7. Once you’ve added your phone numbers to your group, head to your Conversation Dashboard.  Start using your brand new Smart SMS department just like you would any other department.

In Use

When looking at a conversation within your Smart SMS department, the only difference will be each post will include the number that it came to or from.  You’ll notice it included with the contact or agent name and timestamp with each message:

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