Transactional SMS | The Ultimate Guide For Beginners in 2019

A lot of questions are rolling about Transactional SMS rules, regulations, pricing and its use model with a high no. of erroneous answers.

In this guide, I’ll try my best to interpret these confusions in a much simpler way.

Let’s understand the basics first.

What is Transactional SMS

With Transactional SMS you can send priority based texts which should be informative in nature.

“Dear User, your OTP to log in to your app is XXXX. Do not share with anyone for security reasons”

Use cases

It depends on your business niche, the industry that you’re working on, etc factors. However, below I’m sharing some real-life use cases of it.

  1. Banking transaction, OTP’s, payment alerts, Password reset’s
  2. Order confirmation, Delivery status text while buying online
  3. School or campus notifications about exams, children performance
  4. Medical reports, health checkup reminder, Appointment, emergency texts
  5. Billing invoices, credit adjustments, overdue notice, and accounting needs
  6. Feedback of any service, app, event or a product

By the above examples, hope you’d have got a basic idea about it.

Features of Transactional SMS

  1. SMS delivery to DND & Non-DND mobile numbers
  2. 6 alphabetic sender ID without characters
  3. HTTP API to integrate with your application
  4. Real-time Dlr reports
  5. Personalized text messaging
  6. Upload mobile numbers via excel, notepad files
  7. Managing groups & contact list
  8. SMS gateway with high priority routing
  9. UTF-8 Unicode standard
  10. 24/7/365 of SMS delivery timing

How to send Transactional SMS

After reading the use cases, you might have got the question “How to use?”. It will be answered in this section.

  1. Automatic &
  2. Manual way

#1. Automatic

This is via HTTP API.

API (Application Programming Interface) can be integrated with your billing software, CRM or any other application to send critical texts as per the user request.

Now, what is API and how it can be integrated?

API is a set of codes and protocols that helps an application to access other application.

For instance, you open your Gmail account and sends an email, you’ve just used an API. That’s how it is!

Sample API format – https://sms.exampledomain.com/username=xyz&password=abcd&mobile=9988XXXX&SenderID=XYZSDF&textmessage=Hi, This is a sample test message

All the parameters will be provided your provider except the mobile number and message.

How to integrate API?

This is not a hard task. I’m sure you’d have your web developer who manages your website, app, CMS, etc.

You can download the ready-made coding from your dashboard. PHP, Java, Dotnet, WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Javascript, etc are some platforms your website might be hosted on.

#2. Manual way

After you subscriber, you will get your online dashboard with a unique username and password.

  • Login to your account
  • Upload the numbers via excel file or copy paste the numbers
  • Type your message and send it across

You can also use the personalized feature to send customized texts.

There you go!

Once you send the messages, you can go to the reports section to view the results of your campaign.

Procedure to get Transactional messaging service

According to the TRAI regulations, sending promotional and unsolicited content via Transactional route is prohibited and can result in DND fine of about 25,000 INR to 300,000 INR.

So, SMS provider would get into an undertaking with the customer. The customer has to sign a simple undertaking document on his company letterhead stating that He/she/company

  • is not going to use it promotional or spam purposes, lottery, fraud
  • Will not send any hate speech or religious offense texts
  • If any DND complaint falls, you will provide a proper opt-in form for closure

Once the undertaking is duly signed, stamped by the authorized personnel, you can avail the service.

Top 5 Bulk SMS Providers in India

TRAI regulations

Bulk SMS in India comes in India with a set of rules and regulations. Every business in India must follow the TRAI guidelines to use the SMS service for their business.

  • Promotional messages

Promotional messages such as offers, discounts, vouchers, coupon code related text, weekend deals, festive special offers, and other marketing SMS can be sent via promotional route.

Ensure you send to opt-in users only to get good results.

Sending promotional text via Transactional route is illegal, even it to registered user. Doing so leads to DND penalty and case.

  • Opt-in request

If you are a business, you must ask your users for their permission to send Transactional & Promotional text messages in the form of terms & conditions.

Allow your customers to opt-out from your SMS.

What records you have to submit if you get a DND complaint

Let’s start from scratch.

What is a DND number?

The NDNC ( National Do Not Call Registry) has provided an opportunity to the Indian mobile users to restrict the promotional calls or text they receive.

If any user registers under DND, you have no right to send any kind of text message to that user unless he/she signup with your service.

What happens if a DND user receives a promotional SMS or a call?

Then the user has the complete right to register a DND complaint with his/her mobile operator. Now, as a sender, you must have the opt-in form of that user to close the complaint.

If you failed to provide that, you will have to pay the penalty of at least 25,000INR to 300,000 INR.

What is considered as the correct opt-in?

You must have the proper opt-in form of your users to avoid DND penalty.

Opt-in such as signup form details with

  • Name, mobile, email, date of signup
  • CRM screenshot where the user details are entered

are considered as the right subscription details.

Do note that, taking down customer details on a white paper or entering in an excel file will not be considered as opt-in proof.

How to register under DND

Are you getting annoyed with marketing calls and text daily?

If yes, register under DND (Do Not Disturb) service. In fact, more than 25 Crore mobile numbers are registered under DND.

  1. Firstly, check whether your number is already in DND or not from here
  2. If not in DND, submit a request by sending “START 0” to 1909. Or also, you can call 1909 (toll-free and follow the instructions)

After the registration, within 7 days the DND will get activated on your number.

To know more about, Check TRAI portal.

How do you choose the best SMS provider

With the tons of providers in the market, it is really hard to filter reliable provider for your business. So, I take it on me to help you choose the right one.

Let’s see what factors you need to look into:

1. Price & Quality matrix

The control between price and quality has always been a great challenge for marketers.

Delivering a high value at low cost is not possible with the service industry.

Remember always that quality products never come in lower rates. Same applicable in the SMS industry too.

Market standard price is 14-40 Paisa/SMS depending on the credits that you wish to buy.

You are looking for cheaper rates than this? Not possible, You cannot expect good performance if you buy at cheaper rates.

Because as per TRAI, IUC charges are 5 Paisa.

Keeping that in mind, the operator gives the rate of 10-12 Paisa to the aggregators depending on their SMS volume commitment.

And how do you get it for 8 paise or 9 paise?

Did you ever think?

Because the service you buy is not standard. There will be issues related to delivery timing, customization, delivery rate, and support.

If you are not convinced still research the price with standard vendors. I’m saying standard vendors, not any reseller.

Takeaway

The suggestion is that always look for market standard price rather than cheaper rated products and services.

2. Signup for a trial

If you signup for an SMS trial account, you will get around 5-50 SMS credits for testing intent.

Utilize it.

Ask your developer to integrate the API with your application and see how the gateway is performing.

What are the factors you should focus?

  1. Delivery timing – It is unconfirmed. Mobile operators don’t guarantee you the particular time for the delivery of SMS. Because it depends on various factors such as the user’s network reach, number status (roaming or blacklisted), etc.
  2. User Interface – Think of simple and robust. The more the simpler the better the user experience. Logs for each campaign, Unicode characters, grouping, message concatenation, automatic API workflow, link adding, customization with dynamic fields are some key features you should invest in.
  3. API – There is a huge demand for API automation in the market. The provider should help you with the API endpoints by using which you can integrate on any programming platform. Check whether you are provided with quick starts, API guides, coding, knowledge center, etc resources.

3. Pre-sales: clear your queries

You will get the right product when you explain your complete requirements to the provider.

Give your complete requirement and usage details to the provider and see how can they help you.

Make sure you sign NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with your vendor if your data is really sensitive.

Apart from these, it is advisable to first go for any small package and see how efficient the service is. Depends on it, I’d suggest you go for the bigger package.

Here are some topics on which you might have queries:

  • Sender ID & templates
  • Regional language messaging
  • How to send SMS in bulk
  • Where to see reports
  • Account top-up/recharge
  • Payment mode
  • Refund policy (If any)
  • Technical queries, etc.

4. Customer support

With the trend, the key focus of businesses has turned out to customer service. Businesses are going beyond their roles to keep the customers happy.

Although it varies from niche to niche, the main goal of customer service segment is how easily and timely the customer is getting a solution for his issue.

See if you can find some reviews about the company on the Internet.

Timely support is crucial in SMS services.

Sometimes due to the congestion, SMS can be queued and a lot of loss can happen in terms of conversions and sales.

At such times you need not worry if you have got a reliable SMS vendor. Because the standard providers always coordinate with the operators and get the issues resolved in very less time.

See if there is any knowledge center for the customer community, Ticketing system, FAQs and other guides to get your queries resolved quickly.

Conclusion

In a recent article, Text Magic has given a detailed guide on Transactional SMS template messaging with examples.

Make sure you understand the above tips and suggestions before you buy any SMS pack. It should definitely help you to get the best service to make your business communication smooth and efficient.

Which provider do you use? How is it working?

Let me know in the comments section.

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