Auto SMS Reply Best Practices

Text messaging—including the ability to reply automatically via SMS—has transformed the way businesses engage with customers today, providing contextually relevant information in real-time using the cloud-based communications.

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Auto SMS Reply Best Practices

SMS has unleashed entirely new ways to connect businesses with the customers they serve. With a simple text message, you’re making a personal connection with your customers: giving them the opportunity to respond and give you valuable feedback on your products and services. They may tell you how much they love your brand, act on a coupon to make an immediate purchase, or start a productive conversation.

Now, with Auto SMS Reply, an automated text response service, businesses are confirming appointments, expediting sales, and handling issues as soon as they arise. Conversations can continue even when the business is closed for the day, instantly and automatically sending personalized, follow-up text messages that support and satisfy your customers at every intersection of their journey.

When To Send An SMS Auto-Response?

Tired of sending individual SMS replies when you have the same information to share each time? A customizable auto-responder can greet incoming texts with a personalized message in real-time, so you don’t have to. Auto-replies are typically used for transaction alerts, delivery confirmations, appointment reminders or acknowledgment of a customer opting-in to receive SMS messages from your brand.

Although auto-replies are sent out automatically, you do have total control of the content you send. Make sure your replies are infused with your brand and tie to the emotion you want your customer to feel: welcomed, happy, satisfied, secure, informed. Choose a messaging provider that lets you switch up the content as often as is necessary. Extra points if you can A/B test messages with your audience to hone your auto-responder to perfection.

Auto-reply: 6 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

Employing an auto-responder is an extremely powerful tool for communicating with your customer. Like any other text you send, SMS auto-replies are limited to 160 characters. But remember you have a captive audience, while your auto-replies should be short and sweet, they don’t have to be boring. You want your customer to feel like there is a human being connecting with them, albeit succinctly and remotely. As you build your communication strategy, be sure to leverage those connections by getting personal and creative. Depending on the response you are crafting, here are several ways you might approach your various replies:

#1 Making customers feel welcome.

Whether a customer has just opted-in to receive SMS messages from you or you are dealing with an inquiry, your auto-reply should recognize the connection, demonstrate your appreciation, and reassure them that you’ve received their incoming message.

Thanks for your message! We have received your inquiry and a member of our care team will connect with you directly during our business hours, 8am-5pm EST.

#2 Incentivizing customers to engage.

When a customer connects with you by text, take the opportunity to give them something in return: a unique discount code, a loyalty badge, or a web link to a private offer just for them.

So happy to hear from you! To thank you for being a member of the (brand name) family, here’s a 15% discount on all merchandise. Use code: TEXTER at checkout.

#3 Acknowledging a subscription.

When a customer opts-in to receive alerts, notifications, or special offers, send an auto-reply confirmation of exactly what they signed up for, what they will be receiving from you, and when.

*We’re thrilled you want to message with us. Just wanted to let you know that we send only three promotions a month so as not to abuse the privilege. *

#4 Offering the ability to opt-out.

A positive messaging experience will help you keep customers happy. But everyone needs a break now and then. It’s a good idea to remind customers that they are in control and let them know they can opt out of SMS services whenever they please.

Want a text break? Enter STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE, at any time.

#5 Speaking their language.

Most companies don’t have agents on staff who speak all languages, but some auto-reply solutions can. Businesses with a global customer base can now respond to all customers in their native tongue. Multilingual auto-replies ensure every SMS conversation is personalized for whomever you connect with, so if your user speaks Spanish, respond accordingly.

Muy feliz de saber de ti! Para agradecerle por ser un miembro de la familia (nombre de marca), aquí tiene un descuento del 15% en toda la mercancía. Use el código: TEXTER al finalizar la compra.

#6 Getting personal.

Texting is an intimate way of connecting with your customers. Don’t be boring. Have fun and add a touch of brand personality in each message you send.

We’re delighted to be able to message you directly. We’re having a special messaging member sale: visit www.specialsale.com to explore our discounted merchandise.

As you build your messaging communication strategy, be sure to craft the right messages to reach your customers at the right time. Progressive businesses are turning to cloud communications providers to provide them with the deliverability they need, along with state-of-the-art tracking tools, to measure the success of SMS programs. As you plot your auto-responses, rely on a provider that gives you real-time insight into what’s working and provides the tools you need to change out those messages as required, so that you can continually improve your customer experience.

Xoom Uses Auto-replies for Transaction Alerts

A member of the PayPal family, Xoom is a digital currency transfer service that enables consumers to send money, pay bills, and reload prepaid mobile phones for family and friends around the world in a secure, fast, and cost-effective way.

Since many Xoom customers use the service to help friends and family pay bills and cover day-to-day essentials like buying food, clothes, and school supplies, there's a great sense of concern and urgency. To satisfy their customer’s need to know exactly when the transaction has been completed, Xoom integrated Twilio Programmable SMS to provide users with real-time, automated account alerts and status notifications.

By enabling real-time transaction notifications of money transfers via Twilio SMS, Xoom stays true to its commitment to being open, transparent, and customer-friendly. And, with the receipt of a secure text message, Xoom customers have peace of mind knowing their transaction was executed as intended.

“In our eyes, the text confirming the transfer is complete is the moment of delight for our customers. It's not just additional information, it’s a punctuation to our service." BRYAN HAAS, DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, XOOM

Technology Requirements for SMS Auto Response

No matter how well crafted your messages are, if you don’t have the right provider fueling those messages, the entire customer engagement strategy falls apart. The provider you choose to do business with should offer services that are as simple and straightforward as the messages you will ultimately send. As you evaluate messaging partners, consider the following ‘must-have’ capabilities:

  • Global reach: Does the provider offer a superior carrier network to ensure seamless and speedy delivery of your SMS messaging to any part of the world?
  • Flexibility: Do they offer easy to use drag-and-drop features so that even non-developers can make on-the-fly changes to the interface, messaging logic, and auto-reply message copy?
  • Integration simplicity: Do they offer developer-friendly programmable APIs that can be customized to meet your unique business requirements and make it easy to integrate messaging into your overall communication platform or CRM?
  • Intelligent encoding features: Proper use of accents and special characters in foreign languages will make message recipients more comfortable with your communications. Can your provider ensure that all characters are rendered accurately on the receiving device?
  • Routing capabilities: Do they offer easy-to-use routing solutions so you can easily create and modify interaction flows based on user intent?
  • Compliance: Does your provider ensure that your customers can easily opt-out of receiving messages? Do they offer an advanced opt-out classifier to detect if a user has the intention of opting out, ensuring automatic compliance?
  • Feature rich: Beyond a simple text message and auto-response capability, does the provider offer a comprehensive omnichannel solution that can support all of your messaging requirements?
  • Platform reliability: Does the service level agreement meet the real-time demands of your business, and, more importantly, ensure the delivery of your messages without service interruption?

Twilio: A Recognized Leader in Cloud Communications by Gartner, IDC, and Forrester

Ask any or all of the above questions of Twilio, and you’ll get a resounding, “Yes, we provide all of that and a whole lot more.” As you evaluate cloud communication providers for your messaging solutions, consider Twilio Programmable SMS.

Our communication APIs have been deployed by more than 2 million developers in over 50,000 companies including digital disruptors like Uber and Airbnb, and multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, ING, and Nordstrom. Our proprietary markup language, TwiML, makes it extremely easy to build automated response handling based on the business logic you’ve established. Best of all, you can test TwiML or any of Twilio’s communication applications for free and discover how simple they are to integrate and how easy they are to use.

Sign up to test drive of Twilio Programmable SMS today, or continue your learning with the following resources below: