The Five Different Types of Texting

With all the different kinds of texting available, what does your SMS strategy look like? Do you send a bunch of one-off messages? Perhaps you prefer a two-way approach that involves hiring extra staff to help with the volume. Maybe you’re even on the tech-savvy side of things with a chatbot or want to go with something that merges an AI with human-like conversational texting. No matter if your enterprise has an existing channel or if you’re just starting to look for one, each of these options is going to result in a different audience interaction.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have a large audience and want to leverage the best SMS strategy for enterprises, feel free to skip to “Conversational Texting®”

Not All SMS is Created Equal

From just those examples above, it’s obvious that there are many ways to do SMS, and there are advantages and challenges with each. Find the best fit for your company by learning about the various methodologies below.

  • Blast Messaging
  • Short Code
  • Chatbot
  • Two-Way Agent-Enabled
  • Conversational Texting®

 

Blast Messaging

SMS Blasts (also known as push messaging) are one-way in nature and usually involve sending mass marketing messages to your audience. This can be anything from specials to sales and reminders.

Best For: Sending a one–time, one-way message to a segment of your audience.

What It Looks Like:

Advantages:

  • Generally easy to DIY
  • Direct contact with your audience
  • Keeps your company/enterprise in front of your audience

Challenges:

  • Expensive (depending on your audience)
  • Hard to incorporate into your funnel
  • Minimal personalization
  • Not scalable, requires a lot of human maintenance
  • High probability of throughput issues at scale
  • Frequency may cause unsubscribes

 

Short Code

Short code texts are one-way SMS messages used to provide alerts, information on specials, or promotional codes. They’re usually a few lines long with no interaction between the audience and the brand.

Best For: Shopping cart re-engagement, coupon code delivery, news updates from brands, or alerts/notifications that require no interaction. (E.g. Flight status and gate changes for an airline.)

What It Looks Like:

(Sorry if this makes you hungry.)

Advantages:

  • Direct contact with your audience
  • Keeps your brand in front of your audience
  • High probability of throughput

Challenges:

  • Limited use
  • Rigorous application process
  • Strict governance guidelines by the CTIA
  • Expensive
  • Impersonal
  • Single point of failure
  • Frequency may cause unsubscribes
  • The only two-way interaction occurs when your audience unsubscribes

 

Chatbot

In general, chatbots are AI-powered bots meant to provide customer service by answering simple questions through an automated process. They operate on a script and usually act as an enablement tool to allow consumers to do the most basic of self-services.

Robust chatbots can feel like complex multi-tiered IVR phone systems (press 1 for this, press 7 for that, ok now press 2 to go to X or 5 to go to Y). Most consumers will hang up (close the chat) or demand a human well before they find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Best For: Appointment confirmations. (E.g. Dentist office or hair salon sending out a “respond C to confirm, or R to reschedule”.)

What It Looks Like:

Advantages:

  • Allows consumers to self serve
  • Offers two-way communication
  • Can reduce simple customer service requests
  • Cheap compared to a FTE

Challenges:

  • No Persistence, when the consumer stops, the bot most often stops
  • Limited in scope
  • Impersonal
  • Take a significant amount of investment to build out more than the most simple tasks
  • Robotic responses can be perceived as indifferent or insincere
  • Often frustrating when dealing with even basic FAQs

 

Two-Way Agent-Enabled

On the other side of the customer service spectrum, we have two-way agent-enabled messaging. Where chatbot automates the conversational process, two-way human enablement depends on having staff available to text your audience.

Two-way agent-enabled messages are most often seen in industries such as healthcare, loan servicing and insurance. Communicating through two-way SMS is a great for SMBs, but this has many pitfalls when done at scale.

Best For: Solo professionals (E.g. Plumber, roofer, lawyer, etc).

What It Looks Like:

Advantages:

  • Personal messaging
  • Offers two-way communication
  • Generally, a positive customer experience
  • Variety of customer relationship management (CRM) technology available

Challenges:

  • Very Expensive (full time employees)
  • Often limited to business hours
  • Quality control around compliance can be an issue
  • Scheduling can present challenges
  • Lack of persistence
  • Lack of automation

 

Conversational Texting®

Most of the above channels are focused on providing some sort of customer service, but Conversational Texting® is focused on customer engagement. Conversational Texting gives you all the benefits of two-way human enablement and AI machine-learning technology without the limitations of paying for round-the-clock staffing or subjecting your audience to robotic messaging.

Best For: Enterprises that need to connect with their audience and drive them to important outcomes. (E.g. Letting someone know their policy is about to lapse, re-engaging people who got quotes that didn’t buy yet, driving consumers to pay an important bill.)

What It Looks Like:

Advantages:

  • Completely humanized conversations
  • Direct contact with your audience at scale
  • Keeps your brand in front of your audience
  • The highest engagement of all the SMS Methodologies
  • Offers two-way communication
  • The most positive customer experience over SMS
  • Persistence of asynchronous conversations that can last weeks

Challenges:

  • Extremely difficult to DIY or build it yourself
  • Difficult hold human conversations at scale without the right company

 

Messaging With Intent

Drips’ Conversational Texting® is designed to maintain audience engagement throughout their entire life cycle while maintaining a consistent brand experience.

Brands need a thoughtful SMS strategy and solution that is scalable, drives engagement, and generates valuable business outcomes. That’s why Drips’ solution is for brands and service providers who are looking to drastically improve the outcomes that matter most. In a world where no one is answering their phones or carefully combing through their direct mail, Conversational Texting is quickly taking over as the contact channel of choice.

Find out more about Conversational Texting® and how it can help you engage with your audience.

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