October 23, 2023

Tips to Protect Business Texting & Navigate 10DLC Compliance

By David Anandraj

Navigating 10DLC Compliance

Texting has become a communication game-changer for businesses. Texting allows companies to communicate with customers in real time, enabling quicker decision-making, problem-solving and information dissemination.

With the proliferation of smartphones, text messaging provides a means of reaching a broad and diverse audience, regardless of their location, without needing an internet connection. Texting is also inherently convenient for businesses and customers. Customers appreciate the flexibility to engage with a company at their convenience without requiring lengthy phone calls or email exchanges. On the other hand, businesses can send reminders, updates and promotional messages without interrupting customers’ daily routines.

Business texting used to be as simple as standard mobile texting between two people. But, as this messaging channel has grown in popularity, so have user protections. One such protection is 10DLC.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC or 10-digit long code are phone numbers businesses use for various purposes, including sending bulk SMS and MMS messages, as well as customer care messages and two-factor authentication. 10DLC was created to set messaging principles and best practices and to stop unwanted messages from reaching individuals. 10DLC numbers are a great solution for alerts, notifications, customer support, mass marketing messages and two-factor authentication. 10DLC is governed by Mobile Network Operators (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.), which require businesses to follow specific guidelines and regulations when messaging consumers.

What are the Compliance Requirements?

10DLC guidelines require organizations to register brands and campaigns through The Campaign Registry (TCR). Brand and campaign registration is for organizations generating long-code A2P messages. Under 10DLC regulations, they are required to register both their business (brand) and messaging use-case(s) (also known as campaigns) in a central repository.

In addition, carriers levy surcharges, sometimes called “pass-through fees.” Surcharges vary by carrier, message type (SMS or MMS) and, in the case of AT&T, also by type of campaign.

Why It’s Necessary to Comply with 10DLC Regulations

Mobile carriers implemented 10DLC regulations to prevent bad actors from posing as legitimate businesses and spamming or scamming contacts who never asked to be texted. The goal of 10DLC regulations is to ensure consumers get messages they actually want, that that bad actors do not harm them and to keep texting a trusted and effective channel for business communications.

The business texting landscape is complex and evolving. Not all companies use 10DLC for messaging campaigns; some opt for toll-free numbers. Regulatory changes and varying carrier guidelines add to the complexity. For example, while registering business text messaging campaigns has existed since 2020, it wasn’t until 2023 that major messaging providers set mandatory registration deadlines. Businesses must stay informed about these types of changes and adjust messaging practices and communication strategies accordingly.

If an organization doesn’t comply with 10DLC regulations, it risks getting messages blocked by carriers or receiving fines. If an organization relies on SMS marketing or communication for sales and product promotion, message blocking can directly impact its revenue generation and bottom line. Blocked messages result in missed sales opportunities, reduced customer engagement and decreased ROI on marketing campaigns. Over time, these financial losses can be substantial and further translate into reduced brand awareness.

Regulatory bodies and carriers take non-compliance seriously, and organizations that violate 10DLC regulations face fines and penalties from mobile carriers. These fines can vary in severity depending on the nature and scale of the violations. In some cases, fines may be imposed on a per-incident or per-message basis, which can accumulate quickly if the violations are widespread.

By adhering to 10DLC regulations, businesses can enjoy higher delivery rates, enhanced security, greater brand recognition and increased reach. These benefits can significantly improve the effectiveness of the business’ communication efforts, leading to stronger customer relationships and, ultimately, increased growth and success.

Tips for Compliance

Organizations can simplify 10DLC compliance through careful planning, awareness of the rules and by using appropriate tools and services. Here are five tips for businesses looking to streamline compliance efforts:

  1. Choose a Compliance Partner: Working with a trusted compliance partner or SMS service provider can significantly simplify compliance. These partners often have expertise in navigating regulatory compliance and are current on the latest requirements. These experts can guide businesses through the process. They may also offer tools and services facilitating compliance, such as company and campaign registration.
  2. Prove Opt-In and Consent: Implement strict opt-in and consent management processes. Ensure that the organization only sends messages to individuals who have agreed to receive them. Maintain precise records of consent and provide opt-out options in every message.
  3. Avoid Triggering Carrier Filters: Remember that the point of 10DLC registration is to reduce spam. Even if a brand or campaign is registered and passes vetting, messages can be flagged as spam. A few red flags for spam include mass messages with shortened URLs, having words in ALL CAPS and using multiple dollar signs or emojis in a single text.
  4. Maintain Records and Documentation: As part of 10DLC compliance efforts, it’s crucial to maintain accurate records and documentation related to messaging campaigns. Documentation includes registration information, campaign details and performance metrics.
  5. Regularly Review and Update Compliance Practices: Compliance requirements and industry standards can change over time. To ensure ongoing compliance, it’s crucial to periodically review compliance practices and stay updated with any new regulations or guidelines. Conduct internal audits and assessments to identify areas where compliance efforts need adjustment or improvement. By proactively adapting to changes in the regulatory landscape, businesses can maintain a strong and sustainable compliance framework for messaging campaigns.

In the ever-evolving landscape of SMS compliance, it’s clear that organizations must stay ahead of the curve to ensure the success of their messaging campaigns. By implementing the five key strategies outlined above, businesses can simplify 10DLC compliance, reduce the risk of message blocking and fines and create a more effective and trustworthy channel for communication. The proactive approach of choosing compliance partners, maintaining meticulous records and staying informed about changing regulations safeguards the organization and enhances its reputation and customer relationships. In the dynamic world of business messaging, this approach provides a roadmap to compliance and modern customer communications in the digital age.

Unlock Business Success Through Continued 10DLC Compliance

Its real-time nature, broad accessibility and convenience have made texting indispensable for connecting businesses with customers and clients. Today’s landscape of business texting and changing carrier guidelines make it essential for organizations to stay informed and adapt their messaging practices accordingly. Messaging providers have set mandatory registration deadlines, emphasizing the need for businesses to prioritize compliance.

Compliance with 10DLC regulations improves message delivery rates and heightens brand visibility. Together, awareness and action with regulations paves the way for more secure, accurate and effective communication between brands and customers.

By David Anandraj

David Anandraj

David Anandraj leads BCM One’s ECommerce Product Management team, and is responsible for the creation, development and performance of its offerings across all customer segments. David has more than 20 years of experience in network and product engineering, revenue and profitability management, as well as in developing customer and vendor partnerships in the telecommunications space. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Baylor University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, India.

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