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The Hidden Costs of CRM Texting

7 min read

Your college's CRM is a powerful tool in your communication strategy. But using your CRM instead of a texting platform to engage with students can get complicated... and costly.

It's important to know if CRM texting will help, or hinder your student engagement efforts and whether you're going to see a return on your investment.

Here are some of the hidden costs you'll find when texting with your CRM.

Lack of Efficiency Negatively Impacts Your Students & Staff

This is the most significant element to consider. Texting is all about real conversations and engagement.

The level of engagement staff is able to have with students has a direct effect on predictability and enrollment. Your staff needs to quickly and easily send messages to individual and groups of students. Likewise, when a student responds, staff needs to be able to respond in-kind.

There are only 24 hours each day. Allowing staff to be as efficient as possible is paramount. Features like mobile apps, shared inboxes, automation and smart message, intuitive reporting and analytics, segmenting, campaigns, message identification and more are essential for effective, efficient student engagement campaigns. CRM texting features simply aren't enough.

Recurring Unexpected Fees Become Difficult to Manage

CRMs are built with incredible functionality to help you easily manage your contact database. Unfortunately, that doesn't carry over to text functionality.

Most CRMs, including those designed specifically for higher ed, are a costly choice when it comes to texting students. To enable text messaging, your school must first purchase set amounts of SMS credits within the platform. You'll pay per text with the cost of your credits, which you need to track and maintain, with additional service rates per text.

When texting platforms offer unlimited texting options, this just isn't something your staff needs to worry about.

Managing More Workload: When texting through a CRM, an individual on your team must be responsible for accessing deliver configuration, adding accounts, purchasing credits, and monitoring service rates.

No Actionable Data to Show Campaigns Are Working

It should be easy to pull and use data from your school’s CRM for your text communications, but that is not the case. Your CRM is built to store student data, not communicate with students. Unfortunately, that means there's no way of knowing what texts are working and what aren't. That's why integrating a texting platform with your CRM is essential.

Looking at a CRM texting feature, there's no way to detect opens within text messages. Without that visibility, you won't be able to tell if your messages are getting through to your audiences. 

In order to use texting effectively all (or most) staff members need to have easy access to manage text campaigns and conversations. Texting is a medium where real, genuine conversations rule the roost. Initial text messages can be automated but the subsequent conversations are where the real engagement occurs.

When texting in your CRM:

  •  Message received notifications are easy to miss.
  • You need to be logged in with your computer (there is no mobile app for texting).
  • To check to see if you have new incoming SMS messages, you need to dig by navigating to your various inboxes (Internal, Mailings, SMS).
  • CRMs often bury (or don't show) SMS conversation history. For that reason, it is very difficult to follow the relationship you've built with a student.

In short, you can see you’ve sent a text through your CRM but you will not know how that text has performed. A two-way texting platform allows you to easily view crucial texting metrics in your dashboard. 

In order to use and report on important data such as reply rates and click-through rates, you have to manually run reports and decipher the information. If you can’t adapt your texting strategy, you will lose students.

Ease of Use and Adoption

When deciding whether to use a texting platform or the text function of your CRM, it’s important to keep your team in mind. If texting isn’t easy, it’s going to create problems - wasting time in manual processes, difficult training, and lack of adoption to name a few. These problems will get in the way of helping students.

Time is money. Texting platforms have time-saving, easy-to-use features including mobile apps, texting templates, automation, etc., that save valuable staff time and improve student engagement. When considering the cost of staff time spent, or rather wasted, managing CRM texting platforms, a texting platform is easily the more economic choice.

If your team experiences any amount of turnover, training and processes become major concerns. Consider how easy the learning curve is for a CRM texting feature and whether or not it would benefit your college to have a dedicated texting expert to help your staff.

Permission Levels Create Roadblocks

With a CRM, access to information is based on permission levels. Different staff members might be restricted from accessing CRM functions. When tasking your staff to use a CRM texting function, it might not be a matter of whether they are capable but whether they have actual permission to do certain things.

It is up to senior members of your staff to circumvent permission restrictions, adding another level of work to your texting strategy. With a separate texting platform, you don’t have to cut through the weeds of access and permission levels.

Managing More Workload: When using a CRM to text, an individual on your team will need to be responsible for managing permission levels to navigate these roadblocks.


Phone Carrier Violation Risks

Since texting isn't a priority for CRM companies, they're usually the last to hear and adapt to industry changes. Telecommunications carriers are continually changing their standards and best practices to reduce “spam messages” to consumers by text. 

When CRMs lag behind industry standards, the schools using them suffer. Schools need the proper support in their solutions to protect them from harm and to ensure they see results from their texting campaigns.


Slow Send Times & Manual Delay Functions

When you’re texting ten thousand students, the texts don't send all at once. Those texts need to be "throttled" or stalled a bit in order to avoid phone carrier issues. For schools texting through a CRM, you need to manually add delay functions and throttle large groups of texts, or else you risk having their numbers blocked by the phone carriers.

With a texting platform, your text messages are automatically throttled and sent in an efficient manner. You safeguard your school from phone carrier violations and losing the ability to text altogether. You can also automate messages to save your staff time and segment your audience for more effective, personalized communications.

With CRMs, You're On Your Own

CRMs are incredible tools, but they simply aren't designed for texting. When you need help, CRMs require you to submit a support ticket, and even then support is slow and unresponsive. 

When choosing a student engagement solution or texting platform, your staff has support before, during, and beyond implementation, ensuring your school sees a return on their tech investment.


Use Your Budget Effectively

The most economic choice is to save CRM texting costs and reallocate them to a student engagement platform that integrates to supercharge your CRM. This way you save your school the costs of CRM texting while reaping the ROI of a texting platform that actually drives results for your institution.


The Goal is to Reach Students

Outcomes are important. Higher ed professionals are tasked with helping as many students as possible with limited resources. It makes sense to consider using your CRM to text.

The benefits of texting with your CRM are plain to see - you’re using technology that you’re already paying for and you have everything in one place with one system. What isn't so easy to see is the hidden cost - incremental fees and weeks of monthly wasted time in manual processes.

When using your CRM to text, you have to factor in incremental fees and countless hours in staff time. Plus, a texting platform that integrates with your CRM allows you to easily use data to communicate with students.

If you’ve never texted with your CRM before, you’re going to need to learn how to do so - and then train your staff to do so. Considering you will not have a ton of support for this task, it can be daunting. When there’s an issue in texting with your CRM, you are on your own. 

It can’t be overstated how important it is to have the ability to reach out to a dedicated expert when you need help. If you’ve ever frantically poured over help articles to solve a time-sensitive problem, you know how valuable it is to have a team of student engagement experts in your corner.

While CRM texting features allow for mass text updates, they don't allow for the two-way conversational texting that drives results. Ultimately, you have to decide if your school wants to text students or actually reach them.


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