Create meaningful connections with customers using <span class="platform-hero__heading--blue">two-way texting</span>

Use business texting for rapid two-way conversations with customers, leads, or employees. Respond quicker to customer inquiries, easily ask clarifying questions, and build meaningful relationships. Book a demo or sign up for a 14-day free trial today.

Textline’s two-way texting platform is trusted by thousands of customers

Large and small businesses across many industries love Textline’s two-way SMS messaging service. Don’t just take it from us, read the reviews from our customers.

<span class="platform__quote"><q>We are able to integrate our existing workflows with Textline and get closer to our customers. <span class="platform__quote--blue60">It really solved a big problem we had which was integrating texting with customer outreach and tracking.</span></q></span>

<span class="platform__quote__author">Eric D.,<span class="platform__quote__author--blue60"> Capterra</span></span>

A screenshot of a text message

What is two-way SMS?

Two-way texting is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. Two-way texting allows businesses to have one-on-one conversations with their contacts. Adding two-way texting can improve customer experience and internal communication.

Two-way texting platforms let businesses converse with contacts in their preferred communication channel. Two-way messaging is commonly used for customer support, closing sales deals, rescheduling appointments, and more.

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What are some benefits of two-way texting?

Rapid back-and-forth communication

One major benefit of two-way texting is its speed. The average response time to a text is 90 seconds, making SMS messages a great tool for rapid back-and-forth communication. Quickly resolve customer issues, respond to sales inquiries, or shorten service level agreements.

Build better relationships

Two-way conversations help businesses and customers connect. Engaging in two-way messaging allows you to have meaningful conversations. Plus, it proves you are listening and shows you care about customer concerns or inquiries. This goes a long way to building stronger customer relationships.

See higher open and response rates

Text messages have a 98 percent open rate and a 45 percent response rate. In comparison, email has a 20 percent open rate and a 6 percent response rate. Choosing a two-way SMS solution will ensure more customers see your message and reply.

Set the communication channel up easily

It is easy to set up and start engaging one-on-one with customers using two-way texting. That’s because it’s a familiar and frictionless communication tool that customers know how to use.

Features to look for in a two-way SMS platform

The two-way business SMS platforms on the market have different features. Below we share a few key ones to keep in mind.

Auto-reply capabilities

<div class="platform__mb40">With two-way texting, customers can reach out to your business at any time. As a result, consider an SMS platform that allows you to send auto-reply messages. This is helpful as it can keep your SLA down, and let clients know you will reply during business hours or whenever you are available.</div>

SMS templates

<div class="platform__mb40">Don't waste time typing the same messages over and over. Pick an SMS provider that allows you to create and store text templates. For example, consider creating templates to answer some of the most common customer questions.</div>

MMS messaging

<div class="platform__mb40">Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Choose an SMS provider that allows you to send and receive multimedia messages like photos, GIFs, or links. This can help speed up otherwise lengthy conversations and improve customer service.</div>

10DLC

<div class="platform__mb40">Textline recommends selecting a provider that can offer you or text-enable an existing 10-digit long code number. 10DLC is the new standard long code for application-to-person texting. These numbers are more recognizable and are cheaper than short-code numbers. They also allow for conversational messaging, which builds relationships over time.</div>

Easy contact management

<div class="platform__mb40">You will want a two-way texting provider that makes it easy to manage contacts. You want to be able to quickly add new contacts, upload contact lists, and remove contacts.</div>

Familiarity with The Campaign Registry

<div class="platform__mb40">You want an SMS provider that understands The Campaign Registry. The registry was created by mobile network operators to reduce SPAM messages. Businesses using 10DLC to text their customers must sign up for the registry. The right texting service will share how to register your company so you can avoid deliverability issues and fines.</div>

Secure messaging

<div class="platform__mb40">When it comes to two-way texting, you want your conversations and data to be safe. Pick a texting solution that prioritizes security. If you are in healthcare, you would want to select a HIPAA-compliant platform.</div>

Performance tracking

<div class="platform__mb40">Find a texting service that allows you to track two-way texting metrics like response time. Seeing these metrics will allow you to improve team efficiency.</div>

Mass texting

<div class="platform__mb40">Consider picking an SMS provider that also enables mass texting, which is a one-to-many service. This can save your team time if you want a consistent message to go to your contacts. If someone replies to your mass text, you will initiate a one-on-one conversation with them.</div>

Message scheduling

<div class="platform__mb40">Pick a two-way texting provider that allows you to schedule messages to send around the clock. That way, you can get these messages to customers, employees, or leads at the right time.</div>

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How businesses use two-way texting

Businesses across all industries use two-way texting to communicate with their contacts. Here are a few common ways with texting examples:

Appointment rescheduling

Use two-way SMS to coordinate rescheduling an appointment. This can be faster than email and more convenient than a phone call.

A two-way appointment rescheduling text
Appointment requests

Today's consumers expect convenient appointment booking and scheduling. Use two-way SMS to help customers schedule services or ask about available appointments.

A text conversation asking to schedule an appointment.
Appointment reminders or confirmations

Use two-way texting to send appointment scheduling reminders or appointment confirmations to clients. This will help you book more business and cut down on no-shows.

A two-way text example for appointment scheduling.
Customer support troubleshooting

Use two-way texting to strengthen your customer support team.

A two-way customer support texting example
Customer service interactions

Add a personal touch to your customer service interactions with two-way texting. Give customers order updates or quickly answer their questions.

A two-way order confirmation text example.
Employee scheduling

Use two-way SMS to communicate with your team and quickly fill open shifts.

A two-way text example for employee scheduling
Out of office or other auto-responders

Use two-way messaging to set up auto-responders for when your team isn't available to respond. This can include out-of-office messages, after-hours messages, or slow-to-respond messages.

A two-way after-hours text example.
Follow up with a cold lead

Send a text to a potential customer who stopped replying to emails or phone calls.

A text example of following up with a cold lead.
SMS marketing campaigns

Enable two-way SMS for marketing messages. That way, when you send seasonal promotions or share upcoming events you can reply to customers.

A two-way SMS message example used for marketing.
Property management

Use two-way texting to converse with the lessees at your properties.

A property management two-way text example
Client management

Start a text conversation with customers to see how they are liking a product or service.

A client management two-way text example
Internal dispatching

Use two-way texting to help dispatch employees.

A two-way text example for internal dispatching.
Share real estate listings

Share new listings with potential home buyers to meet revenue and sales goals.

A two-way message example for real estate agents.
Recruitment

Use two-way texting to schedule an interview with a potential candidate.

Two-way texting example for recruitment
Send SMS surveys

Use two-way texting to easily send SMS surveys to customers.

A short two-way texting survey example.

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Two-way texting frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between two-way texting and one-way texting?

One-way text messaging is being able to send text messages, but not being able to accept replies. On the other hand, two-way SMS allows you to send messages and receive them. Many businesses use one-way SMS to send out text blasts like emergency alerts or important news updates. They are often sent from dedicated short code numbers, which are six-digit numbers. One way SMS can be effective for sending mass text messages to customers quickly, but there are limitations. 

Two-way SMS allows the recipient to respond to your message. You can choose if you want an automated response or for your team to respond directly. This can create a feeling of authenticity and help build personal relationships with customers. However, it is more time-consuming. 

Is engaging in two-way conversations with customers legal?

Yes! Engaging in two-way texting with customers is legal. But, there are several regulations to keep in mind. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 requires businesses to get written or verbal opt-ins from contacts. These opt-ins can be obtained in several ways. This includes having customers text you first or filling out a consent form.

To comply with the law, you must also provide a way for your contacts to opt out of SMS campaigns. One way to ensure you comply with this is by picking an SMS provider that unsubscribes contacts if they reply with words like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE. 

In addition, before you start texting your business must register for The Campaign Registry. The Campaign Registry ensures that businesses' phone numbers are real and the messages they send from it are legitimate. Businesses using 10DLC numbers to text their customers must sign up. Read our blog on how to ensure you are legally texting your customers to learn more. 

How much does it cost to two-way text with customers?

Pricing depends on your SMS service provider and the number of messages you send and receive. Currently, it costs just pennies to send and receive texts, which must be 160 characters or less. Textline offers three different pricing plans. All pricing plans start with a free trial that includes unlimited two-way texting and no hidden setup fees. 

How can I see message replies or inbound messages?

With Textline, you can see and respond to all message replies and inbound messages in a singular inbox. You can also see them on our mobile phone texting app if you are on the go.  

What are some best practices for two-way texting?

There are several things to keep in mind when sending two-way texts. Here are a few:

  • Personalize your messages
  • Be human and empathetic
  • Keep the messages short and simple
  • Respond to customers quickly
  • Post your business SMS number so customers can text you first
  • Use autoresponders for when your team is unavailable
  • Get an opt-in
  • Include a way to easily opt-out
  • Don’t send too many messages per month

Can I text-enable my existing landline or business phone number for two-way texting?

Yes! With Textline you can almost always text-enable your landline or existing business phone number. This includes local numbers, toll-free numbers, landlines, or VoIP. There are different steps to follow for each one. You can learn more here

Can you send photos, links, PDFs, or other multimedia in two-way messages?

Yes! Textline supports adding these items into your two-way texting. It would make the message a multimedia messaging service, also known as an MMS. 

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