Benefits and Risks of SMS Messaging

Written by: Bill Ford Posted: 5/11/2017
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Self storage managers and owners want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay rent consistently and on time. One method is through SMS text reminders, which allow customers to pay their bill directly from their phone. Since virtually everyone has their phone handy, this feature seems like a "no-brainer" to offer customers.

However, there are many things to consider when implementing text messaging via your management software. The legalities of what, how and when a business can text their customers are very specific, therefore it is important to understand how your software sends text messages. Violations of the TCPA and CAN-SPAM Acts can result in fines of thousands of dollars per message.

Prior written consent must be procured before SMS messages are sent and must be unambiguous. Your customer must understand exactly what types of messaging they are consenting to receive. Consent can not be a condition of sale of your products and services. Customers must be able to opt out of messaging at any time. Your system should only send texts during complying time frames, such as 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the time zone of the recipient. The frequency and content of your SMS messages must also be in compliance.

Text is a very convenient tool that is appreciated by consenting customers. The message can initiate a click-to-pay feature, which is very useful. A timely payment reminder can help customers avoid late fees, for which they will be most appreciative. Younger customers are much more likely to read a text than an email or a letter and the ability to provide real-time text chat with customers is a wonderful relationship tool.

Consider using SMS messaging features of your management software, as it can be a great tool however be sure to follow FCC guidelines to avoid stiff fines.

This article is not legal advice: consult your legal resources to verify that all your SMS messaging is in compliance with government regulations.

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