Did you know that 85% of customers want to communicate with businesses via text messages?
And that some 39% of companies already use text messaging to communicate with their contact, customers, and clients.
But before your business or organization can start texting with customers, you’ll want to understand the difference between one-way and two-way texting.
Each has its own uses and benefits.
Keep reading to discover more about:
By the end of this article, you'll be able to make an informed decision about when to use one-way and two-way texting to communicate with contacts, customers, and clients.
Read on for more.
One-way texting (a text message broadcast) is one-way bulk or mass text messaging sent to large groups or contact lists. One way texting isn’t conversational, so message recipients don’t typically reply. 2 way SMS means conversational texting. Two-way SMS allows the recipient to respond to your text message.
One-way and two-way texting also work the other way around. Your business or organization can receive one-way texts on a text-enabled business line and also respond conversationally with a two way texting device or 2 way SMS software.
|Phone Number Type||Message Use|
|One Way SMS||#️⃣ Shortcodes (55555)
📞 Toll-free (888) 123-4567
|✅ Promotional offers
✅ Marketing messages
✅ Alerts and updates
✅ Order confirmations
✅ Two-factor authentication
|Two Way SMS||☎️ Local 10-digit (321) 123-4567
📞 Toll-free (888) 123-4567
|✅ Conversational experiences
✅ Appointments and scheduling
✅ Reminders and confirmations
✅ Billing and payments
✅ Surveys and polls
✅ Feedback and reviews
Organizations typically use five or six-digit short code phone numbers to send and receive one-way SMS. These are a legacy number format.
Shortcodes don’t allow for conversational responses. This makes them well suited for promotional and transactional text messages. This includes bulk marketing messages, alerts, updates, two-factor authentication messages, and more.
Local ten-digit (10DLC) and toll-free phone numbers are well suited for conversational 2 way text messaging. They have lower messaging limits than short codes, but they can be approved for high-volume carrier-approved A2P text messaging.
Two-way texting, also known as 2-way SMS or inbound messaging, allows users to send, receive, and respond to messages. It allows businesses and organizations to communicate back and forth with recipients in more personalized ways.
Both customers and businesses can send and receive messages over a two way texting app.
For example, a business may advertise a number on their website and encourage people to text them with any inquiries. Or, a company can reach out first about a customer service issue, inquiries about orders, and appointment scheduling.
Like other forms of one-way communication, one-way business texting has both advantages and disadvantages.
I'll start with the pros.
With one-way text messaging apps, businesses and organizations can send a single message to multiple recipients simultaneously. This communication method is called bulk SMS.
Bulk SMS is a great way to send text message broadcasts and contact all of your customers at once. Especially if you need to send out an announcement about your business’s holiday hours or an upcoming sale.
You’re busy and may not have the time to reply to all text message responses immediately.
One-way texts remove any expectation for a quick reply, taking the pressure off your organization to respond. All your recipients need to do is read your text message.
And since texts have up to a 98% open rate, you don't need your entire contact list to reply to know your message was effective.
Many people may only associate one-way texting with SMS marketing campaigns to customers. However, one-way texting can also work the other way.
Some campaigns ask individuals to text a certain phrase to vote or receive promotional information. One-way texting lets customers quickly and easily participate in your organization’s campaign.
The best part is no one on your end has to engage in a conversation.
One-way texting sent using a mass texting service can save time.
Instead of spending hours on phone calls or messaging back and forth, one-way texting gives recipients a short, direct message.
While not expecting responses can be a time-saver, it can also limit your ability to measure your text message engagement and conversion rates.
With engagement limited to clicking a link or opting out of receiving more messages, it can be challenging to understand clients' reactions to promotional messages.
One-way texting doesn’t allow for conversations. This can make your messages sound impersonal and cold.
However, some one way group texting apps and one way communication apps do allow for custom messages and some personalization.
One-way text messaging is one method both large and small organizations can use to implement SMS solutions.
The following are some examples of how businesses and organizations use one-way text when they send messages:
Where one-way texting falters, two-way texting excels. Still, it has a few flaws.
I highlight a few of the advantages and disadvantages of two-way texting below.
Since 76% of customers would rather not communicate with businesses via phone calls, two-way texting is an ideal alternative.
Plus, the majority of consumers prefer conversational two-way texting over one-way texting. They want the ability to respond to businesses' messages, whether to ask questions or take action.
Instead of waiting on hold or listening to a robotic answering system, customers can get help when they need it.
Quick, personalized responses can help customer service teams communicate with clients in a friendly and effective way. It also helps show customers how much your organization values them.
Two-way texting lets customers express their interests, questions, and concerns. Businesses can understand their clients more and track more KPIs.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by sending a link in a text message. Business texting services like MessageDesk allow you to create short links that track when the link gets clicked.
Two-way texting isn't only for sending texts to existing customers.
Text messaging always costs, but it tends to be cheaper when you’re only doing one-way text message blasts.
To achieve optimal text message delivery rates you’ll need to get a proper text number for your business and carrier registration approval. You can do this through a 2 way SMS service like MessageDesk, but it does incur some additional costs.
Although less time-consuming than emails and calls, texting still requires your attention.
Since two-way messaging is a conversation, your team will need to take the time to personally respond to each text.
To save you time, look for a two way SMS software that comes with a team SMS inbox.
This business texting feature helps to make sure that conversations always get responses and that responses get to the right person on your team.
I've included a few examples of two-way texting messages below.
Ultimately, deciding which type of SMS you use depends on your organization’s needs. You may even use both 2 way SMS messaging and one-way SMS messaging as you develop your communications strategy.
Whether you need two-way texting to manage customer service conversations or one-way texting to send out mass announcements, MessageDesk can help.
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