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Important Update about SMS Text Messaging

Important Update about SMS Text Messaging

This post is to inform you of important developments in the telecommunications industry regarding SMS text messaging (1) to make sure you are aware of what is happening and why, (2) to understand what Case Status is doing on your behalf, and (3) to relay what best practices you can follow to ensure your messages reach your clients. NOTE: This does not affect in-app messaging.

Please note that all SMS providers and all text messages are subject to these new regulations.  We take pride to be your client engagement platform and to be your trusted advisor as the industry evolves.  We are committed to helping you see the best results when using SMS text to message your clients. 

What is happening and why

If you have a personal smartphone, chances are you have gotten “SPAM” in your email inbox, unwanted calls to your phone number, and unwanted texts to your phone number from unknown entities.  Some of these can be a security concern while others are just uninvited solicitations, but all are bad actors not following good business practices and using technology to reach a lot of people with a single effort.  The good news is society always reacts (sometimes government and sometimes the industry) to set regulations to stop the bad actors.  For example, congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act to address the problem of unwanted commercial e-mail messages. Now proper emailing requires opting-in and having the ability to manage preferences or unsubscribe on every email. The bad news is these regulations introduce change in our business practices, and new behaviors that must be learned, applied and mastered.

For SMS text, the industry is going through a similar change as we speak with a set of self-imposed regulations (from the likes of Verizon, ATT, TMobile, etc.) that is passed to SMS text providers (the likes of Twilio, Vonage, Podium, etc.)  This is called A2P (application-to-person) texting because a program is initiating communication.  Read here for more about the new industry regulations.  Regardless, the bottom line is we as legitimate business providers need to follow some new and evolving best practices to ensure that our SMS messages do not get blocked, or worst case, the phone numbers from whence these SMS messages originate do not get blocked.  The next two sections talk about these best practices.  We will start with what we are doing to help and then segue into what you need to do.

What Case Status is doing on your behalf

Case Status partners with Twilio, the industry’s leading provider of SMS text applications, to deliver your messages to your client’s smartphone.  Over the past year we have been working closely with Twilio to understand the new regulations and how we can stay in compliance.  These regulations go into effect this summer.  Compliance consists of two main areas: (1) registering originating numbers under legitimate business campaigns from legitimate businesses (i.e. your firm) and (2) following the best practices of what content, language, syntax, and characters are used in individual messaging.  As part of the implementation process, we are able to address #1 when setting up your firm with Twilio.  For those of you who were implemented before this summer, we have been working with Twilio to register your company and number with the proper campaign.  This work is material and involves a lot of staff time and energy, but we are happy to represent you in this effort.

Best Practices your firm must implement to stay in compliance ASAP 

In order to ensure SMS messages continue to flow, these best practices will ensure message delivery and number integrity.  We are sharing a few of the current known best practices recommended by Twilio and will continue to add to this list as they share with us.  

Best practice 1 - Continue to encourage your clients to download the App.  Case Status overall sees adoption in the 75-85th percentile overall.  This is important.  This means that bulk or 1:1 messages do not get delivered via SMS text and thus are not restricted by these regulations.  Instead, they get delivered via the app and a push notification alerts the client that a new message is available—the higher the App adoption, the fewer SMS text messages that are in play. 

Best practice 2 - Ensure that your standard client terms are available on your public website.  In those terms be sure to be explicit that by being a client of the firm the person is opting-in to receive text messages from the firm.  In the initial SMS text sent to the client inviting them to the App, including a link to these standard client terms.  This will ensure that Twilio and the carriers have direct access to the public information and agreement between the firm and the client.

Best practice 3 - When writing any message from the Case Status platform (or any text message) to the client follow the formatting tips below.  These best practices will distinguish you further from bad actors and SPAM.  And remember even if you have a high adoption rate of the App, write the message following these best practices because those clients who have not downloaded the app will get the message via SMS text and you still want it to get through.

  • Formatting your messages (Link): some text
    • DO NOT USE URL shortening: Do not send links that have been shortened using shared public URL shorteners, such as TinyUrl or free Bitly links. 
    • If possible, when sending URLs/links in your messages, use domains that you control.
    • Don’t use emojis, or unnecessary special characters/capitalization, and watch your grammar and spelling.  Typically, these messages are structured in a way to attempt to evade the detection of unwanted messaging, and your messages will be filtered.
  • Forbidden Message Categories (Link):some text
    • High-risk financial services (certain types of loans, cryptocurrency, etc.)
    • Third-party lead generation services
    • Debt collection or forgiveness
    • “Get rich quick” schemes
    • Illegal substances/articles
    • Prescription drugs
    • Gambling
    • Speech that mentions: Sex/Hate/Alcohol/Firearms/Tobacco

We understand that adapting to these new regulations can be complex, and we want to assure you that our technical team is available to support you through this process. Should you require any assistance or have questions regarding the above information, please don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated support team.

At Case Status, our primary goal is to provide you with a seamless and exceptional user experience. We apologize for any inconvenience this transition may cause and appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work together to comply with these industry regulations.

Thank you for your continued trust in Case Status. We are committed to keeping you informed about any updates and changes that may impact our services, and we remain dedicated to delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction.

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