SMS 101: What is an SMS Auto-Responder?

You may have heard the term SMS Auto-Responder – but what is it? And how can it benefit your business or other organisations?

Businesses are using SMS messaging more and more, and benefiting significantly from advances in technology. SMS is simple to use and has unparalleled delivery and response rates. There is currently no more affordable or effective channel for communications than SMS. Organisations in every industry can benefit from using SMS to send coupons, alerts, reminders, and other marketing material.

Thanks to a bulk SMS service, it’s easy to get a single message out to a vast number of recipients. But how can those recipients individually respond to your bulk-sent SMS messages? Two-way communication is crucial for modern business, and this is where an SMS auto-responder comes in.

SMS Auto-Responder Explained

sms auto-responser using keywords

An SMS auto-responder allows bulk SMS recipients to respond to messages using pre-set options, or keywords as we call them. For example, an appointment reminder sent using an auto-responder may ask for a response using a “YES” or “NO” to confirm or deny and instruct the recipient to call to change the appointment. The response will trigger a pre-set message. This all takes place automatically.

Benefits of Using an SMS Auto-Responder

An auto-responder allows you to quickly respond to some of the most common responses from your customers, saving time on the frequently asked questions and allowing you to get to more unusual queries faster.

Here are a few ways our clients use our SMS auto-responder feature:

  • Welcome Messages – send personalised bulk SMS upon customer registration to welcome and inform of website links, how-to guides, or introductory video content.
  • Reminders – send timely reminders with SMS automation for bookings, reservations, appointments, time-sensitive offers, renewals, etc.
  • Notifications and Updates – alerts for usage, expiry, payment success or failure, support updates, purchase confirmation, delivery notifications, etc.
  • Reviews and Feedback – seek quality feedback by sending an automated SMS poll or survey after purchase or delivery.
  • Newsletters and Offers – personalise offers and tips based on individual customer activity and a set of pre-defined triggers including birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Referral Requests – seek referrals from your existing customers to generate new leads.
  • Contextual Alerts – track purchase behaviour and send SMS offer alerts based on preferred products or topics.
  • Reengagement Campaigns – reengage with inactive customers after a prescribed period.

Build Your Contact List with an Auto-responder

SMS Auto-Responder for offline marketing

Auto-response SMS can also be used for pure marketing and list building. So, instead of automations to transactional messages, you’re sending an automated message once you’ve received a keyword via inbound text message. This is usually in response to an offline marketing message. Like the example above, the sign company has purchased a dedicated shortcode number and set up an automated message detailing the offer that is sent -ie. once the keyword ‘Sign Me Up’ is received.

This has the benefit of not only seeing how effective your offline promotion is doing, but also building an opt-in list for further marketing and nurturing.

See also: ways to collect opt-in numbers.

real estate industry sms auto-responders
The Real Estate Industry are huge users of auto-responder SMS via keywords

Start Setting Up Automated SMS Responses

Get started with SMS automation and reclaim hours of your day; check out our three ways to automate SMS (including building an auto-responder) and start sending today.

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