What is two way SMS texting?

Everyone is used to conversing with friends using SMS texts. Messaging with businesses is becoming popular as well. This is because SMS texting is a great way to reach your customers; it has up to a 98% open rate within 3 minutes. This means that you can directly get in touch with your customers and ensure they see it. Setting this up is very easy too. You can do it from the portal, or you can set it up through APIs to do it programmatically based on triggers you set. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common use cases as well as how to set it up through simple lines of code.

Common use cases for two way SMS texting

  • Appointment confirmations and reminders - having customers miss appointments translates to lost revenue. By sending an appointment confirmation text a day or two before asking the customer to reply yes to confirm the appointment or reply no to cancel or reschedule the appointment, businesses can dramatically decrease their no-show rate.
  • Customer support - having customers text you with support questions is a very convenient method for them to use. Support agents can reply back to it, and it will go directly to the customers’ messages. Businesses that implement SMS texting as a support channel often see a sizable reduction in the number of phone calls.
  • Opt-in messages - There are some government regulations that require customers to opt-in before receiving messages from companies. By getting a customer to text you saying they give you permission to text them, you will be more compliant.
  • Managing subscriptions to messages - Consumers must have the ability to opt-out of messages by replying to the messages with a message such as “stop” or “opt-out” in order to comply with regulations in many countries. By setting up two way SMS, you’ll have the ability to manage this programmatically.
  • Recruiting - Innovative recruiting firms are interacting with their interviewees over texting now as well. This creates a more personal connection than email alone. Additionally, the response times from the interviewee are typically much faster, because they can have a more instant dialogue and move opportunities along quicker than through email.

How to build two way SMS texting into your product

Watch the below video to see how to integrate two SMS texting into your product. Let’s see the code in action.

Having audio issues? Here’s the video transcript:

8x8's SMS API provides a programmatic way to create two way SMS conversations for uses such as a customer support channel and appointment confirmations. Let’s see the code in action.

We’ll use two procedures: one script to send the SMS and another script that will listen for the response. First, we start by building the script that will send the outbound SMS. For that, we will have four dynamic fields including the 8x8 SubAccountID, API Key, phone number, and text message body. We’ll provide those last two as input in the script for this example. I’ll close the file and run it later.

Next, let’s create a simple script that will listen for incoming messages and print out the text message body for each message received. I’ll use an available port in my system for new incoming messages, and because the incoming message will be in JSON format, I’ll make sure to parse the JSON and then print out the message received to display it to you.

So let’s give it a try, first we execute the script that will listen for incoming messages and then we execute the script that sends out the message to my mobile phone.

As you can see, I receive the message right away. I’m going to reply back, and we can see the reply arriving to my server and the body of the message received being printed on the console.

It's that easy to send and receive messages using 8x8's SMS API.

Check out the documentation to learn more.