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4 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Text Messaging Solutions for Higher Ed


How do you decide what to buy?


When selecting groceries, you likely consider freshness, flavor and cost. Your clothing purchases may be influenced by events you’ll soon attend, the impending weather and the materials you find most comfortable.  

No matter the scenario, you likely don’t just buy the first thing you see. You ask yourself questions and research your options to find the best match. 

The same should hold true for your college or university’s SMS text messaging solution. There are many options out there but—just as a month-old Red Delicious apple is subpar to a fresh-picked Honey Crisp—not every solution will get you the results you want or deserve. 

Here are four questions you should ask yourself, your coworkers and the companies you evaluate in order to discover which solution is best suited to your needs.

4 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Text Messaging Solutions


1. What are your current biggest communication challenges?

All colleges and universities strive for excellent communication with their learners—including prospective students, current learners and alumni.

Yet, it’s all too easy to make some missteps along the way, such as:

  • Emailing students too often, with multiple departments vying for students’ attention
  • Communicating too broadly and sending students information that does not apply to their academic major, housing status, credits earned or other demographic
  • Reaching students at the wrong time of day or year
  • Not responding quickly to students’ questions and concerns
  • Sending messages to alumni’s outdated email or home addresses

When evaluating text messaging solutions, look for a company that inherently understands your challenges and software that allows you to avoid your historic missteps.

Consider: Are you looking for a solution or the solution that is purpose-built with your challenges in mind? 

2. What are your goals?

Go big. Think about your institution’s strategic plan, vision, goals and values. 

How might text messaging contribute to the successful completion of that strategic plan, meet your institution’s vision, accomplish its goals and uphold its values?

Gather insight into the development of the institution’s strategic plan. How did staff-student communication—and the sense of connection that optimal communication fosters—weave its way into that?

Consider, too, how you’ll measure your successes. Will you benchmark against previous years or compare yourself to similar institutions? Two colleges that appear extremely similar on paper may have wildly different goals and, thus, expect wildly different results. 

To find your right communication solution, focus on finding a tool that will boost your institution’s unique vision and support your modern students’ unique needs.

3. What are each vendor’s mission and values?

Consider your current favorite vendors. Which are the easiest to use and most enjoyable to work with? Which do you see as a true partner in your success, rather than a nuisance whose conflicting ideals you struggle to yield to? 

Your favorite vendors probably share a majority of your institution’s philosophies and values. They understand the goals that drive you because their product is driven by the same thing.

So, when evaluating texting solutions, look for a vendor that shares your values and whose mission aligns with your own. 

Research the team behind the product. Where does their expertise come from? Is the product purpose-built for colleges and universities and, if so, what is their vision for the future of higher education? What do they think modern students, such as yours, need to feel supported and engaged?

By understanding how the vendors you’re evaluating view the future, you’ll gain insight into how prepared the company and product are to grow and shift in order to fit your students’ and staff’s evolving needs.

4. What is your institution’s future?

Your right texting solution won’t just solve your challenges over the next semester, the next year or even the next five years; it will produce cascading benefits that will set you up for far-reaching successes. It will be integral to securing your institution’s prosperous future.

When evaluating text messaging solutions, consider: what does the future of your department look like? How about your individual role? What about the broader institution? 

Imagine what solutions are by your side and supporting you in your ideal future. Is your text messaging solution user-friendly and intuitive? Is it innovative and customizable? Have you created experiences that your staff and students have consistently developed a connection and loyalty to? What does problem-solving at scale actually look like? 

There’s no better time to start securing your ideal vision of the future than now! Selecting the right text messaging solution can be your first step. 

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Last updated: January 5, 2023


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