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SMS Messages

Learn how to use Vtiger's SMS Messages module to send SMS messages to your customers.
B
Bindu Rekha Babu
13 Dec, 2023 - Updated 5 months ago
Table of Contents

Introduction

SMS stands for Short Message Service. It is a text messaging service widely used on mobile phones and other mobile devices. SMS allows users to send and receive short text messages to other mobile phones or devices.

The SMS Messages module in Vtiger CRM lets you send SMS messages to your contacts directly from the CRM. You can use these messages to inform them about products, services, offers, etc. 

Types of SMS Messages

You can send the following types of SMS messages from Vtiger CRM:

  • Single or stand-alone messages -You can send a message to a single customer or business. For example, meeting requests, special offers, product information, etc.
  • Bulk or bulk messages - You can send messages to multiple customers or businesses simultaneously using a workflow. For example, campaigns, offers, discounts, etc.
  • Automated SMS messages through workflows - You can set up a workflow in the CRM to automatically send messages at a planned time and date. This triggers the CRM to send SMS(s) on the selected schedule. For example, pre-planned campaigns, greetings, etc.

Sending an SMS from Vtiger CRM

There are three steps involved in sending SMSes from Vtiger CRM:

  • First and foremost, you need to sign up with an SMS provider. They will give you details like authentication ID, user ID, and password. 
  • Once you receive the details, you must set up the service provider in Vtiger CRM. If you do not find the provider or the gateway you are looking for, contact Vtiger support and raise a ticket. 

Note: You can send messages only from a single gateway at a time. 

 

The following service providers are available (pre-loaded) with the CRM:

  • Clickatell (Communicator/Central)
  • Clickatell (Platform)
  • ESMSProvider
  • GupShup
  • India SMS
  • LabsMobile
  • MobileMessenger
  • MSG91
  • Mvaayoo
  • NRSGateway
  • SolutionsInfini
  • SMPP
  • SMS99
  • TextAnywhere
  • TextLocal
  • Twilio
  • ZoomConnect
  • SMS Gateway Center
  • Kaleyra SMS

Once you integrate a service provider, you can send SMS messages to your leads, contacts, or organizations.

​Sending Bulk SMS Messages

The Bulk SMS feature allows you to send messages in bulk. For example, if you want to send a campaign about a new product or an offer to a group of customers or all your customers, you can use the bulk SMS feature to do so. You can send bulk SMS messages using Workflows in Vtiger CRM.

Let us learn about workflows and bulk SMS messages. 

Workflows help streamline your business by automating operations like sending emails, creating activities, updating fields, etc. As these repetitive tasks are performed automatically, you need not have to execute them manually, thereby saving you time. Using Workflows, you can set up a schedule to send messages and notifications to your customers. You can decide on the time, date, frequency, and who to send the messages to.  

SMS Templates

An SMS template is a pre-written text message that can be saved and reused for customers or other recipients. SMS templates are often used for frequently sent messages like appointment reminders, order confirmations, or promotions.

They can be customized to include personalized information such as the recipient's name or order details. They can be saved for future use to save time and ensure consistency in messaging. SMS templates are often used in marketing campaigns, customer service interactions, and other business communication scenarios where sending standardized messages can save time and improve efficiency. To know more about SMS Templates in Vtiger, click here.

SMS Campaigns

SMS campaigns are marketing campaigns that use SMS or text messages to reach potential or existing customers. SMS campaigns aim to promote a product, service, or brand, or to encourage customer engagement and loyalty.

SMS campaigns can be used for various purposes, such as:

  • Promotional offers: Sending exclusive offers or discounts to customers through SMS messages.
  • Event promotions: Promote events such as product launches, sales, or webinars via SMS.
  • Customer service: Providing customer service through SMS messages, such as order confirmation or delivery notifications.
  • Reminders: Send appointment, payment, or renewal reminders via SMS messages.

You can create targeted SMS campaigns based on factors such as demographics, location, or previous purchasing behavior. They can also be personalized with the recipient's name or other relevant details to improve engagement.

SMS campaigns are a cost-effective way to reach customers and generate leads and sales. However, it's important to ensure compliance with regulations around SMS marketing and to use best practices in messaging to avoid being seen as spammy or intrusive. To know more about SMS Campaigns in Vtiger, click here.

Feature Availability 

SMS Messages are available in all the editions of Vtiger CRM. You only have to install the SMS Notifier add-on from the Extension Store.

Benefits of using SMS Messages in Vtiger CRM

Using SMS messages in a CRM system can offer several benefits for businesses. 

Following are the Benefits of using SMS Messages in Vtiger CRM

  • Increased open rates: SMS messages have a high open-rate compared to other forms of communication, such as email. This means that SMS messages sent through a CRM system are more likely to be read by the recipient, resulting in better engagement.
  • Improved response rates: SMS messages are often read and responded to quickly, making them an effective way to reach out to customers and get a response. This can help businesses to improve their customer service and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Personalization: SMS messages can be personalized with the recipient's name, location, or other relevant information, making them more relevant and engaging. This can help businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers.
  • Automation: CRM systems can automate the sending of SMS messages based on triggers, such as a new customer sign-up, a completed purchase, or an upcoming appointment. This can save time and improve efficiency for businesses.
  • Cost-effective: SMS messages are generally more cost-effective than other forms of communication, such as phone calls or direct mail. This can help businesses to save money while still reaching their customers effectively.

Overall, using SMS messages in a CRM system can help businesses improve communication with their customers, increase engagement and response rates, and save time and money.

 

In this article, you will learn about the following:

  • Installing SMS Notifier
  • Configuring (Setting up) an SMS provider
  • Sending an SMS
  • Sending bulk messages

Key Terminology

 

SMS

SMS stands for Short Message Service. It is a text messaging service that is widely used on mobile phones and other mobile devices.

Template

Template is a pre-designed format or layout that can be used as a starting point for creating new documents, designs, or other materials. 

Campaigns

These are efforts made by businesses or organizations to promote a product or service. 

Bulk SMS

Bulk SMS is a service that allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to send large volumes of text messages to multiple recipients at once. 

SMS Notifier

SMS notifier is a software tool or service that sends SMS notifications to users or customers to inform them of a particular event or update.

SMS Provider

An SMS provider is a company that offers services for sending and receiving text messages (SMS) through various channels, such as mobile phones, web applications, and APIs.

Installing SMS Notifier

To send SMS messages, you must install the SMS Notifier add-on from the Vtiger Extension Store.

Follow these steps to install the module:

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of your screen..
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Look for Extensions.
  5. Click Add-ons.
  6. Search SMS Messages.
  7. Click Install.

Once the SMS Notifier is installed, you can add multiple SMS providers and create SMS templates and campaigns. 

You can view your SMS messages in the SMS Messages module. To access the SMS Messages module, go to Main Menu > Essentials > SMS Messages.

Configuring (Setting Up) an SMS Provider

Vtiger CRM requires integration with a third-party SMS provider application to send SMS messages to your contacts, leads, and organizations. You must configure or set up an SMS provider to your CRM account to send an SMS message.

Follow these steps to configure or set up an SMS Provider with your CRM account:

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of your screen.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Look for Extensions.
  5. Click SMS Provider Configuration.
  6. Click +New Configuration. The New Configuration window opens.
  7. Enter or select information for the following:
    1. Provider: Select the service provider from the drop-down.
    2. Provider Name: Enter a name for the service provider.
    3. Active: Click the checkbox beside the required status.
    4. Default Provider: Click the checkbox beside the required option.
    5. Callback URL: Enter the callback URL.
  8. Click Save.
 

Note: Based on the service provider, there may be a few other fields related to the integration, such as:

  • API KEY
  • Account SID
  • Auth Token
  • From, etc.
 

Once you integrate an SMS provider into your CRM account, you can start sending SMS messages to your customers and other businesses.

Using Merge Tags to SMS Templates

Tags in SMS templates are placeholders that allow you to insert personalized information into your messages, such as the recipient's name, phone number, or other contact details. When you create an SMS template, you can use the Merge Tags feature to dynamically populate a message with specific details based on the recipient's profile or other data sources.

Merge Tags use a specific syntax, such as {#var#}, and can be customized to match specific data fields available in your CRM. Using Merge Tags can help you create personalized, targeted messages that resonate with your audience and improve engagement.

For example, let's say you want to send an SMS message to a customer reminding them of an upcoming appointment. You can use Merge Tags to automatically insert the customer's name, appointment date, and other details into the message. When you send the message, the tags will be replaced with the information from the merged fields from the related record.

Enter {#var#} and select the required merge field from the section below. When you send the message, the merge tags will be replaced with the information from the merged field specific to the recipient from the related record. 

You can add merge tags to an SMS while creating an SMS template. These tags are available as a list based on the module selected in the Related Module field when creating an SMS template.

Follow these steps to add merge tags to an SMS template:

  1. When adding content to the SMS template:
    1. To add a merge tag (Repeat to add more merge tags).
      1. Enter {#var#} in the content.
      2. Click anywhere outside the content field. Merge tag fields appear.
      3. Click on the empty field beside the added placeholder.
      4. Select the required merge tag from the available list.

In this way, you can add multiple merge tags to an SMS to fetch the required data from the specific fields that are unique for each entity.

Sending an SMS

You can send SMS messages to your contact, lead, or organization if there is a valid phone number added to their record.

Follow these steps to send an SMS to a contact, lead, or organization:

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the Main Menu.
  3. Click Essentials.
  4. Click Contacts. Contacts List View appears.
  5. Hover over the required contact and click the SMS icon.
  6. Enter or select information for the following:
    1. Select Phone Number: Select the contact's phone number from the drop-down.

Note: Ensure that the phone number is in international E.164 format 

  1. Select SMS Gateway: Select the required SMS provider from the drop-down.
  2. Message: Enter the content of the message.
    1. Enter the message manually. 

Or 

  1. Select the SMS template from the drop-down.

Note: Merge tags only work if you use them in an SMS template.

  1. Insert Links: Select the required type of link to insert in the message.
  2. Click Send.

You will see a success message in the top right corner once your message is sent successfully.

 

Note:

  • You can send an SMS only to mobile phones.
  • Ensure that phone numbers are saved in the international E.164 format.
  • Any message you send will have a character limit of 160. Anything above this will be sent in a subsequent message. 
  • SMS service providers need to be configured for your contact before you can send an SMS.  
 

​Sending Bulk SMS Messages

Using Workflows is the most efficient way to schedule and send bulk SMS messages. Follow these steps to set up a workflow to send bulk SMS messages:

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of your screen.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click the Workflows tab.
  5. Click +New Workflow.
  6. Select Standard from the drop-down.
  7. Enter or select information for the following:
    1. Basic Information - Enter basic information for the workflow.
      1. Workflow Name: Enter a name for the workflow.
      2. Target Module: Select the required module from the drop-down.
      3. Status: Check the checkbox beside the required status of the workflow.
      4. Description: Enter a brief description of the workflow.
    2. Workflow Trigger - Select trigger conditions for the workflow.
      1. Trigger Workflow On: Check the checkbox beside the required condition.
      2. Recurrence: Check the checkbox beside the required condition.
    3.  Entry Criteria - Add conditions for the entry criteria of the workflow.
    4. Actions - Add the action for your workflow. 
      1. Add Action: Select the action as SMS Task. Add Action for Workflow -> SMS Task window appears.
      2. Enter the following information in the SMS Task window.
        1. Action Title: Enter a title for the action.
        2. Recipients: Add the recipients based on criteria like Organization Name, Contact Name, Created by, etc.
        3. Add Fields: Select the required field from the drop-down. 
        4. SMS Text: Enter the required text message you want to send as bulk SMS messages.
    5. Click Save.​​​​​

You have successfully created a workflow action for sending bulk SMS messages.



 

Limitations

When using SMS messages in Vtiger CRM, there are a few limitations to consider:

  • Character Limit: SMS messages are typically limited to 160 characters per message. 
  • Multimedia Content: SMS messages are primarily text-based and do not support multimedia content such as images, videos, or attachments. 
  • Delivery Time: While SMS messages are generally delivered quickly, the exact delivery time can vary depending on factors such as recipient network availability and congestion.
  • Opt-Out Management: Compliance with opt-out or unsubscribe requests from recipients is crucial when sending SMS messages. 
  • Sender ID Limitations: The sender ID displayed on recipients' phones may be subject to restrictions imposed by mobile network operators or regulatory requirements.
  • Network Limitations: SMS messages can be affected by network issues, such as network congestion or temporary outages..
  • International SMS: When sending SMS messages internationally, it's important to consider potential variations in regulations, carrier restrictions, and message delivery reliability.
  • Cost Considerations: Sending SMS messages through Vtiger CRM may incur costs, including message fees and potentially other charges based on the volume and types of messages sent. 

By understanding these limitations, you can effectively leverage SMS messages in Vtiger CRM while considering their constraints and potential alternatives.

References

SMS Templates

SMS Campaign

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