Using inbound SMS to improve customer communication

Communication with customers is key for business, and SMS simply provides another channel to achieve this. Although limited in its size and content length, if done properly, it can be extremely effective.

Communication is obviously a two-way process and if you therefore want to use SMS as a channel then your systems need to have the ability to accept text messages. This is achieved by simply leasing a virtual number for a nominal fee – whether on a monthly or yearly basis. Once set up, your customers can easily reply to any SMS communication you send out.

Surveys and appointments

One such example, which is widely being implemented by organisations, is using inbound numbers to carry out SMS surveys. This is a much quicker and cheaper way than printing and then posting them out and also much more effective.

Not only can organisations send out thousands of texts in seconds, but many are finding that the response rate is increased substantially, many of which occur within 25 seconds.

It’s the ease of response that makes SMS a useful tool in communication. Customers just seem to be more receptive and responsive to text messages.

Another good example of this is using SMS to get confirmations for appointments, whether this is for a service/repair visit, an appointment with a healthcare practice or a job interview.

Sending a reminder and requesting confirmation via SMS is a more direct and quicker way to make sure an appointment is kept, helping to reduce wasted journeys, allow you to take other bookings or reallocate resources elsewhere.

Grab them by the short codes

Virtual inbound numbers serve their purpose if someone simply needs to reply to an original text, but if the customer needs to physically type in the number then it’s better to use something easier and more memorable. This is where short codes come in handy.

Often used for voting or competitions, customers can simply type in a trigger word and send the response to a five digit number, for example: TOUCAN to 55647.

These messages can then be handled by an automated marketing platform which can not only store the details in a relevant database, but also automatically respond to the customer with something like “We have received your entry. Good luck. In the meantime why not check out our other services.”

Another use of short codes that can be extremely useful is by adding them to other marketing material, such as flyers, brochures, adverts etc. Not only does this give customers a quick point of contact to respond or request further information, by integrating the SMS replies with an automated marketing system it can help measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

If you would like to purchase an inbound number or short code, or would like to discuss this further, please call 0330 998 0022 or email

ToucanText Brochure - SMS Services for Business

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