Higher education text messaging solutions are still relatively new, which means there aren’t too many really robust options to choose from. To make your job of choosing a texting platform easier, we’ve pulled together the top five things you need to stop doing with your current solution and the top five things to look for in a more robust option.

1. Stop: responding manually to hundreds or thousands of texts.

Start: using automated pathways to do the work for you.

Save time and respond to students quickly by finding a solution that offers automated pathways. You can use this feature to set up automated replies to simple messages from students, freeing staff to focus their energy on one-on-one support. This approach makes it simple for users to triage their inboxes, reply in a timely manner, and engage in high-touch communication with high-need students.

2. Stop: gathering data manually to keep your student profiles up-to-date.

Start: updating student information via text.

Find a texting solution that can save information students send you via text message right back into student profiles. Automatic profile updates save you time, keep your data current, and make it easier to target the right text messages to the right students in the future.

3. Stop: trying to keep track of when messages need to be sent.

Start: sending event-triggered messages.

In a truly robust texting solution, personalized text messages can automatically send to students based on triggers like “application submitted” or “Event RSVP.” Any time trigger information is updated in your information system, the message timing is also updated. So instead of writing new messages every time an important milestone is reached, you only have to set up a message once and it will automatically update as your information updates.

4. Stop: using multiple phone numbers to contact the same students.

Start: using overlapping caseloads and a multi-user inbox.

Instead of giving every staff user their own texting phone number, find a solution that offers customizable, shareable accounts. Individual staff phone numbers create confusion and chaos for students when they receive messages from potentially dozens of different numbers. Customizable student groups and staff accounts ensure that the right staff are communicating with the right students. It’s easy for a group of staff to share the responsibility of communicating with students, or to ensure that an individual staff member is communicating only with a designated caseload of students. Students get all messages from each department from one designated, department-specific number; even if multiple staff are sending messages, students see everything in one continuous thread of conversation.

5. Stop: struggling with your texting service alone.

Start: working with a comprehensive customer success team.

Texting students is a team effort. Look for a texting solution that comes with a dedicated Customer Success team to help you create a student-friendly and staff-friendly program. The best Customer Support teams help you smoothly implement the solution, understand the platform’s functionality, and strategize your text messages. Bonus points for solutions that provide a library of resources or an online user community.

In your search for a texting platform, it’s important that you have all of the tools you need to be successful. Choosing the right provider from the beginning is the best way to go, but don’t be afraid to switch if things aren’t working out with your first choice. The results are worth the change.

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