As texting’s popularity grows with consumers, more and more businesses are considering adopting the channel. After all, business text messaging is efficient, fast, and reasonably priced—not to mention that customers absolutely adore texting. In fact, 89% of consumers specifically want to use messaging to connect with their favorite brands. But companies new to business text messaging often have a critical question up front: can a business text a customer?
Simple as the question may be, the answer is yes—and no. There are key items to consider, like SMS compliance regulations and whether customers reach out first.
Read on to learn the answer to a common question your company might be facing: can a business text a customer?
The Basics of SMS Compliance
Depending on where your business is located, there are regulations that your business will have to adhere to when texting customers. SMS compliance is mandatory. If your business doesn’t comply, you may face fines or other consequences. After asking can a business text a customer, your next question should be which regulations apply to me? Regulations your company might be subject to include:
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
TCPA applies to all U.S. businesses who wish to connect with customers, whether through phone calls, email, or business text messaging. In essence, this act requires that your business acquire legal consent from your customers before you text them.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
GDPR applies to all companies in the European Union, or businesses that communicate with customers in the European Union. It requires that your business collect customer data carefully and empower customers to manage their personal information.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
CCPA is similar to GDPR, but applies to companies operating in or communicating with consumers from California. Similarly to GDPR, CCPA mandates that businesses collect and manage data carefully, giving consumers ultimate control.
These three acts, along with any others that might apply to your particular company, will help your business answer the question can a business text a customer.
Using Business Texting for Replying to Customers
No matter which regulations apply to your business, there is one clear answer to the question can a business text a customer. If a customer opts in, you can definitely text them back with an answer.
It is, however, required to obtain the opt in to your business text messaging program before starting a conversation. And the written opt in cannot be over SMS. However, there’s a chance that customers might want to connect with your brand only once and withhold their contact information from you.
Customers who initiate a conversation via SMS should receive an autoreply asking them to confirm the opt in. If the answer is no, it’s critical that your team not record their information or reach out to them after they end the conversation.
Can a Business Text Customers to Reach Out to Them?
When a business asks the question can a business text a customer, they are often really asking whether they can reach out to customers. Again, the answer is yes and no.
Before you reach out to customers, they must opt in to your business text messaging service. Your company determines the opt-in process. Usually, you publicize either a keyword for customers to text in or a web form for customers to fill out.
Once customers send in that keyword or web form, it’s ideal for your team to confirm the opt in. This is called a double opt in.
After your team confirms that a new contact has completed a double opt in, you can feel free to send them valuable content. Valuable content is customer-centric, often focusing on customer service instead of sales materials. Valuable content includes:
- Order notifications
- Delivery updates
- Appointment or meeting reminders
- Chat follow-ups
- Industry-relevant tips
- Survey requests
As long as you’ve secured an opt in and only send valuable content, your business can reach out to customers. But don’t reach out too often. Over-texting customers can lead them to opt-out of your business text messaging service—or request their carrier to block your number.
Overview: Can a Business Text a Customer?
The answer to the question can a business text a customer is complex. While all of these answers depend on the local regulations that apply to your business, we can offer a few clear answers.
If a customer reaches out to your business, you can immediately answer their question or fulfill their request. However, if you want to initiate a conversation, you have to:
- Secure a double opt in
- Send valuable content only
- Limit texts to a reasonable frequency
If you follow these guidelines, then you can feel free to text your customers.
Still asking can a business text a customer? Chat with a member of our team.