Introducing Text Message Opt-Outs Using Machine Learning
When your well intentioned mass text lands in the wrong mailbox you can face a barrage of replies that range from the polite to the profane. Many people reply to the text with a simple request to be removed from the list, but they fail to use the “STOP” response, or another defined keyword, which triggers an opt-out. This means they will continue to get more unwanted texts fueling their frustration. Using machine learning, we’re trying to make this a thing of the past.
AI for Opt-Out
Our new Auto Opt-Out feature “reads” the reply messages to help make sure that those not wanting to receive your texts are removed. This type of artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning can comb through the stream of comments to look for patterns of phrases that show dissatisfaction and a desire to opt out. Since our network handles millions of messages, we've collected quite a few that signal an opt out without using the word “stop”.
The polite replies:
- Please remove me. I have already asked once.
- I have been receiving these messages in error. Please remove me.
- I believe you have the wrong person.
- I don't wish to receive these offers anymore.
- I' m just a kid wrong number.
- Can I please be taken off of the list! Not coming out this winter. thanks
These will fast devolve into expletives if you don’t “hear” their request and they could end up escalating to profane responses like these:
- Your a day late & a dollar short I think your service sucks!
- Eat my #@!$% boi
- I am not a #@!$% truck driver . I have asked for a plumbing job. do you have any of them!
- Stop ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! sending or leaving voice mail to me . It’s been 3 years I suffered from you
- There has been 100 different people texting my phone to get a hold of some guy . . . I am not that guy. You all have the wrong number! spread the word!
One Text Can Close Your Company
While some replies are creative and often hilarious they are expressing the legitimate frustration at being bothered. This is potentially an explosive situation because if you do not remove people and you are reported as a spam sender, you could face hefty fines.
The FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that was created to curb text message spam and protect consumers. If you ignore the act, every illegal text that you send can carry a civil fine. These can be anywhere between $500-$1500 per individual text message! As consumers have become increasingly exasperated with receiving a flood of unwanted messages on their smartphones, it has led to a rise in class actions. Large companies like American Eagle, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Burger King, General Motors, Papa John’s, Jiffy Lube, and countless others have faced lawsuits seeking huge payouts ($1-$250 million).
A small company could be financially ruined from sending one unwanted text to thousands of people without getting their permission first. For large corporations, they could face a lawsuit where they end up paying millions just to avoid the lengthy process of litigation that could damage their brand forever. So, think before you send, and pay attention to your replies. It’s all about getting consent.
You really must pay attention when you see replies like these:
- I don't know how you got my number but I have turned you into the attorney general’s office.
- I have not legally authorized this unsolicited contact.
- Unsolicited messages are not welcome. cease and desist.
- How do you know my number?
- Before sending out notices you should ensure that the proper group of individuals are targeted. Stop wasting my time with random text that is not meant for me.
There could be some serious ramifications for not listening to these replies.
The Perfect Auto Opt-Out Solution
“Auto Opt-Out” is our proactive response to ensure that you are never in hot water from your message landing in the wrong message box. Our highly intelligent AI works 24/7 to automatically detect inbound messages that clearly demonstrate intent to stop receiving more messages. The person is removed from the list and profanity is averted. You don’t have to trawl through the replies yourself, saving your precious time. This has the added benefit of ensuring that your messages are arriving at your highly engaged, targeted audience.
Additionally, the first time you send a text message to a phone number that has not received any prior communication from you, Call-Em-ALl will append the phrase “Reply STOP to stop anytime”. The reason we do this is so that all your message recipients are aware that they can “opt-out” from receiving future messages. This is something that we feel is not only the right thing to do; but also adds an extra layer of protection from any legal conflict that could arise from sending messages to the wrong person.
FIXING OUR MISTAKES
Our Auto Opt Out should get more accurate with time, but it is possible that it will mis-identify an opt out. You will notice a new Auto Opt-Out folder below your Inbox when you go to the Conversations section. If you think we got a message wrong, you can simply click the “opt-in” icon above the conversation and your contact will continue receiving your messages as before.
When you really “listen” to the comments coming from people on your target list you are practicing safe send, no-spam messaging. When your AI is such a great listener and responds immediately to people’s irritation, you know you can send texts with less fear of backlash –both verbal and legal.
Call-Em-All includes this amazing feature with all your automated mass texting campaigns on our new texting platform.
The legal issues listed in this post also serve as a reminder as to why we have such a strict Responsible Use Policy. You must have consent to message contacts. We do not allow political, telemarketing, promotional, or fundraising messages on our network. We only allow informational messages.
Brad Herrmann is the founder and president of Call-Em-All, an automated calling and group texting company that provides solutions for small and medium sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Since 2005, Call-Em-All has grown to send more than 5 million group calls and texts each month. Brad is a graduate of Texas A&M University.