August 04, 2021
How to Choose an A2P 10DLC Provider [Step-by-Step Guide]
Searching for a messaging provider is a lot like speed dating. You have to evaluate its attractiveness (or UX), stability (or platform stability), compatibility (or collaboration and feedback incorporation), and trustworthiness (A2P compliance) to make a decision. And you need to do it fast.
But since the A2P provider you choose will have a major impact on the well-being of your organization, you can’t afford to rush the decision and compromise on key traits. You need to make sure you’re asking the right questions and assessing every feature and offering thoroughly too.
In this post, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of evaluating A2P messaging providers and give you some tips for choosing one that will help you bridge the gap between your messaging endpoints. Let’s get started.
Step #1: Assessing Your Needs
First things first, you need to take inventory of your own needs, so you have clear benchmarks to evaluate each A2P provider against. To do this successfully, you may need to sit down with individual teams and discuss factors like use cases (e.g., notifications, security alerts, contact center communication, two-factor authentication, etc) and goals.
At the same time, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- What are our uptime requirements?
- What are our deliverability requirements?
- Do we have throughput requirements? If so, what are they?
With this information in hand, you’re well-prepared to narrow down your option pool and evaluate A2P providers on their features, functionality, and offerings.
Step #2: Features
To evaluate A2P providers, you should start with the basics — the types of features you’re looking for and the quality of the A2P 10DLC service. You may be tempted to start with SMS support, but bear in mind that features and functionality don’t stop there. Providers should have the following basic platform requirements:
- SMS long code or 10-digit long code — these are 10-digit numbers that begin with an area code.
- SMS toll-free numbers — 10-digit long codes that begin with a special area code like 800, 888, 887, 866, 855, 844, and 833. Phone calls made to a toll-free number aren’t charged to either party.
- MMS support
- A2P compliance support — specifically help navigating the A2P rules, guidance on getting verified with The Campaign Registry, and more. For more information on A2P, read Business Messaging, A2P 10DLC, and The Campaign Registry.
- High throughput support
- High delivery rates — ideally, at or close to 100% deliverability
- Message concatenation — In other words, assembling messages that were sent as multiple texts (due to SMS protocol limiting messages to 160 characters) into a single message for the mobile user
- Message queuing functionality that is A2P compliant with carriers
- Robust reporting and tracking
Step #3: Relationships with Direct Connect Aggregator (DCA)
You may never have to interact with a Direct Connect Aggregator (DCA) yourself, but it’s important that your A2P messaging provider has a DCA connection. Besides shortening the distance between the messaging provider and carriers, it also makes it easier to troubleshoot issues and bring features to market quicker.
As a result, you should double-check that your candidates have a DCA in place before you sign on to use their A2P messaging platform.
Step #4: Deliverability
Poor deliverability increases costs and decreases customer satisfaction. In a worst-case scenario, you might even experience service disruption due to a server outage.
Integrating with multiple A2P messaging providers could be a good way to improve the resiliency of your messaging services. In the event that your primary provider is down, you can easily flip to your secondary provider.
Regardless of whether you choose to go this route or not, it’s important to have a clear picture of each provider’s past deliverability rates before you choose one. That way you know what to expect moving forward.
Telgorithm offers guaranteed deliverability (subject to exceptions). If we cannot get your message delivered, we hold ourselves accountable, not our customers.
Step #5: Customer Service
Customer service sits on top of two fundamental pillars: 1) treat customers with respect; and, 2) follow up when you say you will. In today’s data-saturated world, there’s no excuse for a company to communicate poorly with customers when troubleshooting an issue or personalizing the customer journey after onboarding.
If you currently have an A2P provider, ask yourself the following:
- How quickly could the provider’s representatives assess and fix the issue?
- Can you trust the provider?
- Has the provider reduced the need to call and submit support tickets?
- Has the provider reduced costs or increased revenue for you?
If the answer to any of these questions is a no, then it may be time to seek alternatives or a second solution.
Step #6: Pricing
Although pricing is a consideration, a better approach to choosing an A2P messaging provider should solely by the provider’s ability to maintain service consistency, facilitate your success, and simplify communication.
We understand that pricing will always play a key role in any decision-making process. But all things being equal, a quality A2P messaging provider will pay huge dividends to your product, support, and success teams too.
At the end of the day, your goal is to send SMS / MMS messages from one endpoint (your platform) to another endpoint (a phone number). You don’t have the time, energy, resources, or patience to babysit the backend process or constantly be chasing your A2P messaging provider to troubleshoot problems. Messages need to be reliably delivered and the integration should be easy for your product team to manage.
Fortunately, by following the steps outlined above, you can find an A2P provider that’s right for you and set up successful SMS campaigns to connect with your customers.
At Telgorithm, we pride ourselves on being a customer-first company that happens to offer cloud communications solutions. No matter what you’re looking for, our team is ready to lead you through the jungle of decision-making and into the open meadows of decision clarity.
Book a meeting with us to discuss whether Telgorithm is right for you.
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