A2P SMS Guide: FLOW Delivery Via SMS Texting Service

FLOW Delivery Via SMS Texting Service: Important Updates

PDCflow will be rolling out A2P SMS changes between August 30 and September 30, 2021. This article will be updated accordingly as the situation changes.

Using text messaging for your business is an excellent way to reach consumers through one of the communication channels they most prefer. As a vendor, it is our responsibility to provide you with convenient options to communicate with your consumers (like with our SMS texting service) while also keeping up with the latest regulations and rules.

That’s why we are announcing some significant changes to the way we offer SMS delivery using our FLOW Technology.

Regulations

As always, following the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) should be kept top-of-mind when using SMS messaging with consumers. This governs things like the prohibition of sending bulk texts and the need to obtain prior consent before sending messages.

For those working in debt collection, you must also get ready to follow Regulation F, which contains rules about consumer preference control, opt-outs, and unsubscribing from messages.

Phone Carrier Rules

Text messaging currently has the highest success (open) rates for reaching customers. Consequently, carriers worry that SMS may attract more scammers looking to take advantage of consumers.

In an effort to keep text messaging an effective and safe communication channel for consumers, the major phone companies have recently created rules that will impact all brands using this form of communication.

How This Impacts Your Business

If your company doesn’t adjust to the new SMS rules, you may experience unwanted ramifications. Those not following phone carrier terms of service can be blocked at increased rates or even dropped from carrier service. Plus violating TCPA and FDCPA rules can have severe legal consequences.

PDCflow has analyzed all of the latest requirements and adjusted our SMS messaging offerings accordingly. With our upcoming changes, you should also take this opportunity to carefully review your company’s SMS communication processes and ensure you are meeting industry compliance and PDCflow Terms of Use requirements.

There are a few main areas of change you will notice.

Changes to SMS Delivery of FLOW

We will be rolling out these changes in phases between August 30 and September 30, 2021. These phases will adjust how SMS messages are sent from your PDCflow account.

  • SMS delivery of FLOW Technology will now be sent exclusively under the PDCflow brand as Application-to-Person messaging (A2P). This means that when a consumer opts out of receiving SMS delivery of FLOW Technology, the resulting effect is global across PDCflow. The customer will receive no further SMS FLOW Requests from the PDCflow platform until they opt back into SMS delivery of FLOW Technology.
  • Individual accounts will no longer have Opt-out Reports. However, Flow UI users can still validate phone numbers in real-time when entering the number into the FLOW’s phone number field. Integrators can still validate numbers via API; an error will still be returned if an invalid number is passed in.
  • All SMS delivery of FLOW Requests will come from a phone number registered to PDCflow. You may still generate a FLOW link and send it via your own SMS service if this is an option you would like to utilize.
  • The content included in the SMS message sent with a FLOW Request will no longer be configurable. In the past, customers and integration partners have been able to customize the SMS message content in a FLOW Request, but as of the change date this will no longer be supported. All SMS FLOW Requests will use the following template.
  • In addition to the consent your organization is required to gather from a recipient before sending a Flow request via PDCflow SMS delivery, every recipient who is sent an SMS will also be asked to confirm their consent. An SMS Opt-in Request will be sent to each Recipient which they must respond to in order to receive your company’s SMS FLOW Requests via PDCflow.
  • An SMS recipient will have to respond YES via text to PDCflow’s SMS Opt-in Request before your company’s SMS FLOW Requests (which contain the FLOW link) will be delivered to their phone. After an SMS recipient has confirmed their consent to receive SMS from your company via PDCflow they won’t have to reconfirm consent (your SMS will be delivered directly to the recipient).

SMS Opt-in Request

Purpose: reconfirms recipient’s consent to SMS from your company via PDCflow:

“{firstName} {lastName}, {companyName} wants to send you PDCflow smart requests so that you can complete electronic transactions: text YES to receive these requests. Msg&data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Reply STOP to opt-out anytime.”

Standard SMS Request:

Purpose: delivery of a FLOW link to recipients who’ve confirmed consent to get SMS from your company via PDCflow.

"{firstName}{lastName}, {companyName} sent you a PDCflow smart request "{FLOW Title}" to complete: {link}”

After receiving “STOP”:

“You have successfully unsubscribed. You will not receive any more messages from this number. Reply “START” to resubscribe”

  • PDCflow will monitor for and treat the notification of deactivation of a cell number as a new number that hasn’t yet opted-in to SMS from PDCflow.
  • Customers can configure a custom message that appears on the PIN validation page of a FLOW. This field can be used to offer recipients a message from your company about why they are receiving the FLOW. These new fields may be used to replace customized SMS messages.

How This Impacts Your Customers

If your company sends a FLOW via SMS to your customers, each recipient will receive a SMS Opt-in Request first, asking them to reconfirm that they do want to receive SMS communication from your company via PDCflow.

If the recipient confirms by texting back YES, PDCflow will deliver the FLOW link via SMS. The SMS recipient can then tap the link within the SMS FLOW Request and the first page of the FLOW Request will be loaded so that they can complete the electronic transaction.

However, if the recipient does not respond to the SMS Opt-in Request the FLOW link will not be delivered via SMS. A FLOW link delivered by email or other channels will still be delivered and is not affected by this SMS process.

To help communicate these details to your customers we’ve created this article about Receiving SMS from PDCflow.

What’s Staying the Same?

Elements of SMS delivery of FLOW Technology that remain unchanged:

  • SMS delivery of FLOW Technology operates under a pass-thru consent model. Meaning, PDCflow assumes and assigns the responsibility in our Terms of Use to you, as a business, to obtain the proper consent to send transactional SMS messages to your customers prior to sending the first FLOW Request.
  • SMS delivery of FLOW Technology is only allowed for the express transactional purpose of sending a request to a consumer to complete a FLOW transaction. Use of the FLOW service for promotional/commercial reasons is prohibited.
  • SMS delivery of FLOW Technology in bulk is not supported under our terms of use. Email may still be sent in bulk.

Updates to Integrated Platforms

Factors integrators must be aware of in regards to PDCflow’s SMS changes:

  • If the API parameter for customSMSMessage is sent into the API, it will be ignored as of the change date. This means, if you currently have the option to customize the SMS content through a PDCflow integration partner, the PDCflow system will no longer utilize that customized content as of the change date. We will leave the parameter in the API call to prevent backward compatibility errors for our integration partners.
  • New fields that will be available for customization include:
    • flowTitle: If provided, will appear in the SMS message.
    • validationPageHeader and pageFooter: If provided, will be displayed above and below the PIN prompt on the validation page after a recipient clicks on the FLOW’s link.
  • Integrators can validate a Phone Number. This validation includes the Phone Number SMS Opt Out status.
  • Email content will continue to operate as it does today.

PDCflow's Updated Terms of Use

The PDCflow Terms of Use have been updated to reflect these changes can be referenced here. Your continued use of the PDCflow services indicate your agreement to the updated Terms of Use.

What’s Next?

If you are an existing customer that has questions about our changes to FLOW SMS delivery, you can get help now from our Customer Success Team.

If you are interested in using FLOW for your business, fill out the form below to request a demo.

Request a PDCflow Demo
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- ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Hannah Huerta - PDCflow Marketing Specialist
Hannah Huerta, Marketing Specialist

Hannah Huerta is a Marketing Specialist at PDCflow. She creates content for the accounts receivable and payment industry.

LinkedIn - Hannah Huerta

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