Starting an SMS conversation with an existing lead is very easy, and you don't ever have to leave the Com Portal to do it. When you host an SMS conversation through the Com Portal, you'll type messages into the Com Portal itself while the lead sends and receives normal text messages from their phone.
Want a general look at how SMS messaging works? Start with our overview on sending and receiving texts in the Com Portal.
To start an SMS conversation from the Com Portal, there are two different approaches you can take:
- You can use the "new message" feature.
- You can message a lead from the dialogue box.
This article will explain how to send an SMS using both methods.
Option #1: Use the "New Message" Feature
The "new message" feature is quick and easy and can be done from any screen in the Com Portal. Follow the instructions below.
1. Click the "New Message" Icon
From the top of the lead queue (the left-most column), click the small icon that looks like a pencil.
This will open up the "Create New Message" screen, as shown below.
If you want to send a text message to a lead who is not yet entered into your Com Portal, then this is the screen to do it! Refer to our full instructions for adding a manual contact to PSAI.
2. Search for the Lead You Want to Message
In the search bar at top, enter a search term to find the lead you'd like to message.
You'll probably search by first or last name most often; however, you can also search by other associated data like company name, email address, phone number, and so on. You can even search by partial matches like "email.com," and all matching results will appear below.
If a phone number is marked in gray, you cannot start an SMS conversation with that number. Most likely, this is because the phone number has not been labeled in PSAI as a cell phone number. You can edit the lead's contact information to update the label. The phone number will also be disabled if the lead has opted out of SMS.
3. Click a Phone Number to Initiate the Conversation
After you've found the lead you want to message, click the underlined cell phone number to initiate an SMS conversation. Clicking the cell phone number will do two things automatically:
1. It will send an automated SMS to the lead, explaining that you are now connected and providing information on opting out if the lead does want to receive your text messages.
2. It will open a new SMS activity thread in the Com Portal. As shown below, this activity thread will be marked in orange-ish yellow so that you can easily identify it as an SMS engagement. The screen will appear blank until you send an SMS message.
4. Type your SMS Message and Send
In the field at the bottom, type your SMS and click "Send." Remember that you can send attachments and weather returns from the Com Portal, too!
Once your SMS message has been sent, all you have to do is wait for the lead to reply by text. Once he or she has replied, you can continue the conversation indefinitely, all from the same activity thread in the Com Portal.
Option #2: Message from the Dialogue Box
The second option for sending SMS messages is easier if you're already on the lead's page. If you're already looking at the lead in the Com Portal and want to initiate an SMS conversation, then you don't have to go through the steps listed above. Instead, follow the instructions below.
1. Click the Mobile Phone Icon
Click the blue mobile phone at the top center of the dialogue box.
You may have noticed that this lead first came in through web chat, as indicated by the green banner at the top and the label "Last message via Web." The great thing about SMS is that it doesn't matter how the lead entered your Com Portal or how they last interacted with you. As long as you have a valid mobile number, you can seamlessly start a text message conversation.
2. Add or Select a Phone Number
Clicking the blue phone icon will cause a pop-up panel to appear. This panel will look different depending on what kind of contact information and/or previous engagements you've had with that specific lead.
Valid Mobile Number on File
If you already have at least one valid mobile number associated with the lead, then the next screen will prompt you to choose the number you'd like to send an SMS message to.
No Valid Mobile Number on File
If you do not have valid mobile number on file, then the Com Portal will prompt you to add a phone number to send the SMS message to.
Does the lead already have a phone number, but you're still being prompted to add one? That means that the phone number you have on file is not a valid mobile phone number. (Maybe it's a landline, a VoIP internet number, etc.) You'll need to add a valid mobile phone number.
Previous SMS Conversation on File
If you or another PSAI user has already had an SMS conversation with this lead (using the same mobile phone number), then the system will alert you, as shown below.
You can click to view (and continue) the existing SMS conversation, or if you want to start a new conversation with a new number, then you can input a new mobile phone number instead.
3. Type your SMS Message and Send
Regardless of whether you choose an existing phone number, input a new number, or continue an active conversation, you'll ultimately end up on a screen like the one below.
From this screen, simply type in your SMS into the message field at the bottom and click "Send."
Keep in mind that the very first SMS message your lead will receive—before they receive the message you've just typed—is an automated message like the one below.
That's it! You've now initiated an SMS conversation with your lead and can send and receive replies directly from the Com Portal. You can continue to nurture the relationship, answer your lead's questions, send images and weather returns, schedule appointments, and more—all through a seamless texting conversation.