The Legalities of SMS Compliance
There are a few terms of importance when it comes to SMS compliance. The TCPA, Telephone Consumer Protection Act sets limits telephone solicitations and use of automated equipment. This law, put into effect in the early 90’s, allows consumers to bring suit in court for damages up to $500 for each violation. On the other hand the CTIA, Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, promotes the industry’s voluntary best practices while protecting consumers from unwanted messages.
It is due to the continued, stringent regulation of text messaging through the TCPA and CTIA, texting is a trusted source of communication. Gathering opt-in consent is a very important step to take BEFORE texting a customer. There are two ways to go about getting opt-in from a customer.
Opt-in matters – how to obtain it.
First, ask for consent. This can happen whenever gathering information such as on an intake form, application, online form, email, or website. For example, “Check this box to subscribe to text messages from us” would be a great way to receive opt-in from a customer. Be sure to also note how many messages they can expect to receive from you per month and that they can opt out anytime.
Second, you can create a call to action. On posters or postings, invite people to text in a keyword to your phone number. For example, “Text in the word INFO to 555-555-5555 for more information about our program.” When someone texts in, that’s the first opt-in. You can then respond with “Would you like to receive SMS from us? please respond with YES or No.” If they respond with YES, this constitutes a double opt-in. We recommend obtaining a double opt-in when possible.
Lastly, it is important to note that it is illegal to ask for an opt-in by sending a text message to a number that has not opted-in.
What about opt-outs?
No matter what, there will always be someone who is not going to want to receive messages. If you offered an opt-in and the customer hasn’t responded, consider that an opt-out. It’s safest to not reach out to customers unless they are expecting it. Your customers can opt-out of receiving text messages from you at any time by texting in the words STOP, QUIT, UNSUBSCRIBE, OPT OUT, or CANCEL. The message carrier will see these messages and should stop any messages from going out to that customer from then on.
Of course, just to make absolutely sure your customers will not receive unwanted messages, we have an opt-out backup in the Mogli SMS app. Using standard Salesforce automation, Mogli SMS can automatically check a box on a contact or lead record called the Mogli Opt-Out checkbox. This checkbox which will then block any messages in Salesforce from being sent to that contact or lead. For a more in-depth explanation, and step-by-step instructions of the Mogli Opt-out automation, see our User Guide.
We know our stuff when it comes to SMS compliance. But we still strongly suggest running your opt-in method past your preferred legal counsel.
SMS compliance can be scary. But by starting with a few good practices, you’re sure to add value to your customers. For more tricks of the trade, read the blog post about our Top 5 Tips for Successful SMS Communication. If you still have questions about compliance, feel free to reach out to us here at Mogli SMS.