Got Junk? Why Don’t My Text Messages to Patients Go Through?
Maybe you have started to incorporate text into your practice’s patient communications. Good for you! You are on the right path to reaching patients where they want to be reached most—and where they are most likely to read and respond to your communications. However, if done using the wrong tools, you may encounter a common issue: text delivery problems. Let’s take a look at how text works and the various ways it can go wrong to help you understand why your texts might not be going through.
How does texting work?
There is more than one way to send text messages. If you are using the wrong one, you are extremely likely to encounter text delivery problems. Here are 3 ways systems use to send text messages.
This form of sending texts is what is typically included in Practice Management software and tied to scheduling. It also is the worst way to send texts to patients. This form of text messaging sends an email to a mobile number—the system asks who is the cell carrier and when patients get a message it comes from a website domain or an email address. The problem is, all cell phone carriers consider this type of messaging to be SPAM and actively try to block it. If you use this form of sending texts, you’ll find that occasionally patients will stop getting text messages. Sometimes it won’t be all patients, but rather, all patients who use a certain carrier. When this happens, it means the carrier has blocked the IP address where the messages are sent from, and therefore your messages stop getting through. So while it is the least expensive way for your practice to send text message reminders to patients, it is also the least reliable and effective. Another problem with this form of messaging is the clunky way of being able to have conversations with patients via text. Typically, patients can’t reply back to this form of text, or if they do, their reply goes to an email. This eliminates the possibility of being able to communicate swiftly with patients via text, making 2-way communication clunky or even impossible. SMTP should be avoided if possible.
2. Long Code.
Long code texts are sent using a regular 10-digit phone number. Because this form of communicating is designed to be person-to-person, often sending messages this way can result in being blocked by carriers. Long code messaging also doesn’t allow for delivery confirmations, so you don’t know if your message makes it through. While you can use this for a business, using a local phone number assigned by a vendor or your own phone number, because of delivery issues we do not recommend this way either.
3. Short Code.
Short code messages come from a 5-6 digit number. Short code messages are not stopped by SPAM filters. You also can get a delivery confirmation that tells you your message was successfully delivered to a patient’s phone. Occasionally we hear from doctors who wonder if, because it isn’t a phone number your patient will have programmed into their phone, the patient will not read it. But that objection is unsound—the fact is that people don’t filter their text messages the same way they filter phone calls. A text that comes through to their phone will be read and evaluated. So as long as you are clear who you are in your first text, your message will be free and clear to open communication with your patients via text.
When it comes to text messaging, you want a platform that is built for messaging from the ground up. Avoid SMTP based platforms because they are sent through email. Avoid long code, if possible, because they are not designed for sending messages from a business to a consumer. Instead, short code is king for getting your messages delivered directly to your patients’ phones without encountering text delivery problems.
We’re sure you can guess how Zingit sends text messages to patients. And because Zingit incorporates with your existing practice management software, it is the easiest way to get started on an effective, complete mobile marketing plan. The robust system is built for messaging from the ground up to communicate with and engage patients, getting new patients to your practice, communicating with them as they build their relationship with your practice, and keeping them coming back for more.
Are you having text delivery problems?
Interested in trying Zingit? Set up a demo to learn more about how we can help your practice with its online reputation and more today!