Line Management: Best Practices

As you incorporate texting into your client communications, it is important to have a strategy on how you will use your outbound phone lines. There are a number of things to consider when evaluating how to effectively deploy texting as a channel across your business. It may be tempting to use a single phone line for all text communications, but there are compelling reasons evaluate a more diversified approach. Additionally, it is important to understand how to stay in compliance with your A2P (Application-to-Person) texting, so we have provided these resources - Helpful Tips for Regulations and US Mobile Network Operator Codes of Conduct.

Phone Line Types

There are three different types of phone numbers you can use to text your customers. Each has their own pros and cons to be considered, especially depending on your text messaging use cases.

Toll-Free» Inexpensive

» High message throughput (25 mps)

» Voice support line can be the same as the text-enabled line, making it easier to remember and associate to your brand

» Supports two-way conversational messaging
» Doesn't use a local area code, which can provide familiarity if you are a local business.

» Requires Toll-Free Verification to use, otherwise traffic will be blocked by the carriers.
Local 10 Digit Long Codes» Inexpensive

» Voice support line can be the same as the text-enabled line, making it easier to remember and associate to your brand

» Supports two-way conversational messaging

» Can utilize a local area code as a connection to your local customers
» Lower message throughput. Local numbers are typically thought of for personal use, so the message rate is 1 per second.

» Requires 10DLC registration to use, otherwise traffic will be blocked by the carriers.
Short Codes (4-6 Digits)» Easier for the consumer to remember and may be used as a tool for brand recognition

» Short Codes typically have higher throughput
» Expensive. The cost of leasing short codes is higher compared to the other options ($500 - 1,500 per month).

» Can only be used for texting, cannot be voice-enabled

» Approval time and registration is longer than other options (4-8 weeks).

» Adoption for two-way conversational messaging is still new, historically used for one-way

» Longer lease contracts

So how should I choose?

In many ways, using a toll-free number can be the most flexible option that also has more message volume throughput. However, you may have existing 10DLC numbers already in place or you have a specific use case that is more advantageous for a short code, Here are some of the main things to consider as you make your choice:

  • Do you have existing phone numbers that your customer base is already accustomed to? -- It may be best to text-enable those existing phone number(s) to maintain customer recognition between voice and text. This applies to both toll-free and 10 digit long codes.
  • Do you have customers across multiple area codes or locations? -- It may be best to utilize a toll-free number that seems more universal.
  • Do you only want to send outbound messages and no inbound for a specific campaign or purpose? -- If so, a short code may be the best option.

Separation of Concerns

In addition to the type of phone line, it is recommended that you consider using more than one number to split out your text messaging use cases and control access to the phone line. There is inherent risk in centralizing all customer communication to a single text-enabled phone line, particularly if you are using the same phone line across multiple users and use cases. If there is a compliance issue, or users opt out of communication on that line, it can be a major disruption in your ability to engage with your customers.

Considering Use Cases

Depending on the features you choose to use and how you use texting for business, it can be a good idea to split out your lines based off of their use case. While in no way required, it can help mitigate issues with 

  • Customer Support - This would primarily cover conversations with your customers about their account, support issues, hours of operations, billing, etc. This would most likely be aligned with the same phone line you use for customer support and main phone line(s) for voice. 
  • Outbound Marketing & Promotions - This type of messaging requires explicit opt-ins from customers to text them and stay in compliance with TCPA. The lines used for the purpose of sending outbound marketing promotions, sales, discount offers, etc. should be isolated for those specific uses because of the more rigorous requirements for compliance.
  • Dedicated Lines for Different Departments - While not a specific messaging use case, it is a consideration on how you might segment your line usage. There can be advantages to setting up lines specific to billing or appointments, both in routing capabilities and in specific responders that can be put in place to power agentless interactions.

Access Control by Line

Within the Textel Platform, you have the ability to control which of your users has access to which lines. It is possible to dedicate specific lines to specific users or as mentioned above, enable access to specific lines to a group of your users. There are a number of potential benefits to using multiple lines, but the primary one is the flexibility it can offer your business. Some examples include:

  • Enable line-based routing to specific users/agents by using dedicated lines per user
  • Allow topic-specific line routing to one or a group of users to pick up off of a queue
  • Allow for specific response templates to be setup on specific lines
  • Only allow certain users to see conversations and interact with them on specific lines, but allow admins to see conversations across all

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