All you need to know about Opt-ins and Opt-outs when texting your US Customers

First, let’s talk about consent and what that means. The CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices notes three different kinds of consent, and when they can be applied:

  1. Implied Consent – This is where a customer or contact initiates a text message exchange and the message sender or brand (the CTIA calls it the non-consumer) only responds with relevant information. No verbal or written permission is expected.
  2. Express Consent – This is where a customer or contact gives express permission to a brand before the brand sends them a text message. The contact or consumer expects to receive a message from the brand for a specific purpose or as part of a process, for example a welcome text when signing up, or an appointment reminder. The first message can be sent either by the brand or the company, or the contact.
  3. Express Written Consent – This is where a customer or contact gives express written consent to a brand (or message sender) stating that yes, this business or organization can communicate with them via text as part of a marketing or promotional campaign. The customer or contact would sign a form, check a box online, or otherwise provide consent to receive promotional text messages.

Transactional/Information Messaging

The US requirements are quite strict, and proof of consent or an opt-in to receiving text messages is required when applying for a dedicated number. Typically, all we’d need is a screenshot of your online opt-in form, or an example of the form your customer might sign.

All you need to know about Opt-ins and Opt-outs when texting your US Customers

This kind of opt-in or consent is perfect when it comes to transactional messages (messages that are usually automated as part of a business process – like password resets, or order confirmations). It is always good practice for the brand, or business, to be clear that when a customer enters their mobile number on the consent page, that it will only be used to send certain messages, for example, appointment reminders or OTPs.

Marketing or Promotional Messaging

When it comes to marketing or promotional messages, the TCPA requires that the brand disclose the purpose of the messages (marketing), how often texts would be sent (e.g. once a week or once a month), if there are costs involved when receiving a message (data rates) and instructions on how to request assistance (reply “Help” for help). We’d also recommend a double opt-in when it comes to marketing or promotional messaging, for example:

All you need to know about Opt-ins and Opt-outs when texting your US Customers

When your customer agrees to receive text messages from you/your brand, you need to be very clear on what types of messages you’d send to them and at what point. For example, alerts to internal team members when servers are down, a marketing message when running promotions on your website, or an OTP when making a payment. Just because your customer has said, “yes, you can message me”, doesn’t mean that you can send whatever message you want, whenever you want.

Opting Out

Your customers need to be able to unsubscribe or opt-out of receiving your communications at any point. How a customer can revoke consent needs to be made clear when they opt-in, and the brand needs to honor these unsubscribes. The quickest and easiest way to do this would be for the customer to simply reply “STOP” to any message received from the brand/company/organization. It is also recommended that you remind your customers or contacts regularly as to how they can opt-out. This doesn’t need to be on every message that you send, but it does need to be sent regularly enough so that a customer can easily opt-out.

All you need to know about Opt-ins and Opt-outs when texting your US Customers

Best practice dictates that you keep proof of both the opt-in and opt-outs from your customers. Opt-in confirmation details and proof of consent should be kept for as long as you are engaging with your customer. Opt-out records should be kept for as long as your company is in business and you’ll need to support multiple opt-out mechanisms, like phone call, email, or text. Each opt-out request need to be acknowledged and honored. You could do this by sending one final opt-out confirmation message to let your contact know that they have successfully opted-out of your campaign.

How We Help You

When your contact or customer replies STOP to any of your messages, we’ll automatically suppress any messages that you try to send to that customer. If you keep trying to send to that mobile number, you will be charged for the messages you’re attempting to send, so be sure to remove any opted-out contacts as soon as possible You can find out more about our automatic opt-out process on this page.

If you’d like to get started, register for a BulkSMS account or contact us for more information.

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