Receiving an Inbound SMS
When an SMS text message arrives to an Inbound phone number, it is routed on to a single User as an email message. This article explains how turboDial chooses who that single user is.
(If the Inbound phone number is configured to copy the “assigned user” on all Inbound SMSs, then that user will also receive a copy of the same email message.)
If you have the Hosted Voice upgrade or the Enhanced Inbound add-on then an Alert will also be generated and displayed in the turboDial panel for the emailed Users. The alert message can also be displayed on the User’s smartphone. Please see Enhanced Inbound SMS screen pops & chat window which describes those additional SMS capabilities.
Phone Numbers Are Not “Owned”
turboDial allows the users in your team to share phone numbers. For any specific Inbound number in your turboDial account, multiple users may use it as the ‘from’ number when sending an SMS. There is no concept of a single user in your team having exclusive access to use an Inbound number as the ‘from’ number when sending an SMS. You may establish that approach as a convention in your team if you like, but turboDial does not enforce it.
When you Share Phone Numbers
Phone numbers acquired in turboDial can be shared among multiple users in your team for use as the ‘from’ number when sending an SMS.
turboDial is designed to allow a User to have a “conversation” via SMS with a Contact and that conversation may include many SMS messages back and forth. It is important that turboDial forwards every Inbound SMS to the User who is having the conversation.
For that reason turboDial must perform some checks to decide which User should receive an inbound SMS from a Contact.
Here’s the general rule: the User in your team who most recently interacted with the Contact will be chosen to receive the inbound SMS.
Overview: Inbound SMS Forwarding via Email
As stated above, turboDial uses a “most recent interaction” method to decide where to forward an Inbound SMS. In other words – the user in your team who most recently initiated outbound communication to the sender of the inbound SMS will be chosen to receive the forwarded inbound SMS. When no previous outbound interaction can be found then the owner of the Contact Record will be chosen, and if there is no owner then the email address configured as the “assigned user” for the Inbound Number will be the last resort choice.
In Detail: Inbound SMS Forwarding via Email
4 Cases: When an SMS comes to an Inbound number, there are four different cases to consider for understanding how turboDial decides which User is notified.
- Reply to a manually sent SMS.
An Inbound SMS message is sent as a reply to an Outbound SMS sent manually from your turboDial account. The SMS “conversation” began with an SMS sent by one of your Users from turboDial to a Contact, then continues when the Contact sends a reply and turboDial routes that reply back to the User.
- SMS from Contact who has never received an SMS from you.
A Contact may send an Inbound SMS that is not a reply to a previous SMS sent from turboDial to the Contact. For example, the Contact may send an SMS back in response to a phone call they received.
- SMS from unknown Contact.
Someone may send an SMS text message to your Inbound Number from a phone number that is not associated with any Contact in your Infusionsoft account.
- Reply to an SMS sent from your Infusionsoft Campaign.
An Inbound SMS message is sent as a reply to an SMS sent automatically from your Infusionsoft Campaign, using the Campaign SMS add-on. The SMS “conversation” began with an automatic SMS sent by your campaign via turboDial to a Contact, then continues when the Contact sends a reply and turboDial routes that reply to a User in your team.
Inbound SMS Routing for Cases 1-3
The first 3 of those Inbound SMS message types are routed to the email address for a User according to the following prioritized criteria:
- User who sent an Outbound SMS to the Contact.
First, if the Inbound SMS is from a number that is found for a Contact in Infusionsoft, then that Contact record is checked to see if an Outbound SMS was previously sent from turboDial to that Contact. If yes, then the Inbound SMS is forwarded by email to the User who sent the Outbound SMS.
When checking for an Outbound SMS turboDial gives precedence to an SMS sent from the exact number this Inbound SMS was sent to, and if none then looks for an SMS from any number in your account.
- User who called the Contact.
Second, if there is no previous SMS sent from turboDial to that Contact, then the Contact record is checked to see if a Call was previously made with turboDial to that Contact. If yes, then the Inbound SMS is forwarded by email to the User assigned to the turboDial Call Note record created for the phone call.
- User assigned who is Owner of the Contact.
Third, if there is no previous SMS or phone call from turboDial to that Contact, then the Inbound SMS is forwarded by email to the User who is the Infusionsoft Owner of that Contact.
- User assigned in the Inbound Phone Number backup email address.
Fourth, if the Contact does not have an Owner, then the Inbound SMS is forwarded by email to the address that was provided as the “Backup email for forwarding SMSs” when the Inbound Phone number was configured.
Likewise, if the Inbound SMS is from a number that is not found for any Contact in Infusionsoft then the SMS is also forwarded by email to the address that was provided as the “Backup email for forwarding SMSs” when the Inbound Phone number was configured.
Inbound SMS Routing for Case 4
Campaign SMS Replies:
When you create an Infusionsoft campaign that sends an SMS via the Campaign SMS add-on, your HTTP POST process will include a “reply” field. With that field you provide the email address of a User in your team where turboDial should route any replies sent back from contacts who received the SMS. Using a merge field to merge in the “reply” address allows you to specify the User who owns the contact record.
Full instructions for creating a Campaign SMS can be found here.
Note, this case is also subject to the “most recent interaction” rule. If the Campaign SMS was not the most recent Outbound SMS to the Contact then it will not be used to determine where an Inbound SMS is routed.
Consider this case: A User in your team is reaching out to a Contact using email, and includes a phone number in the email. That Contact then sends an SMS message as a response. If your User had not previously sent an SMS message or called that Contact, then the SMS from the Contact will be routed to the Contact’s Owner in Infusionsoft.
So, if Contact Record in Infusionsoft is not owned by the User who is interacting with the Contact, that Inbound SMS message may possibly be routed to another User in your team who did not expect to receive it.
To achieve the best routing for your Inbound SMS messages, you should:
- Consider not sharing numbers. Instead, acquire a unique Inbound phone number for each of your Users and train them to send SMS messages only from their assigned number.
- Always assign ownership of Infusionsoft Contact records according to the User who is interacting with the Contact.
- Train your Users to recognize when they have received an unexpected SMS message and check the Contact record to see if another User may be expecting it.