Competitive financial institutions know that a mobile communications strategy is not only quick and easy - but essential to stay top of mind. In the past, risk-averse firms avoided text messaging, wary of the strict regulations. Today, clients expect financial institutions to offer mobile messaging, and firms can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines. A new opportunity arises in mobile communications, and financial institutions must adapt to remain more efficient and agile.
By using this guide, companies can confidently harness the power of SMS while sticking to the rules. Outlined below are some best practices financial firms can follow when implementing a text messaging strategy in Salesforce.
7 Key Considerations | Navigating Text Message Regulations for Financial Institutions
FCC, FINRA, FTC, SEC, and Other Financial Services Guidelines:
Complying with the FCC, FTC, FINRA, and SEC’s guidelines for text messaging regulations is crucial for any financial firm’s communication strategy. Failure to comply with these rules can yield severe penalties and fines. In some cases, firms have received multi-million-dollar penalties for non-compliance. Avoid these unnecessary sanctions by following the rules and best practices outlined below with the guidance of your legal counsel.
Get Stakeholders and Legal Counsel to Weigh In
While developing a comprehensive communication policy for your financial services institution, bring together strategic leaders from relevant departments to define your communication goals. Collective input and non-siloed planning is critical to ensure your text messaging strategy is efficiently implemented.
Consult your legal counsel before deploying an SMS, MMS, or WhatsApp™ strategy. Your legal advisors can work side-by-side with your in-house stakeholders to draft and finalize any messaging policies, approve templates, campaign copies, and create comprehensive documentation. When these deliverables are complete, arm managers and individual users with the messaging knowledge needed to guarantee proper usage. Text messaging templates are an excellent tool for ensuring messages stay within regulatory guidelines.
Determining Your Strategy
The first step in outlining your text messaging strategy is to define your intended use cases. What is the "who, what, where, when” of your text messaging needs and goals? Once complete, map this outline to the relevant parameters for compliance in your industry. Every financial services sub-sector is beholden to varying and distinct state and federal regulations. Moreover, different considerations will apply depending on the ownership of the device agents and advisors use. Explore these three device options:
1. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Allowing your agents and advisors to use their devices to contact clients and gain access to company applications is extremely popular among firms. Personal devices give agents the flexibility to reach their clients while traveling through the Salesforce mobile application. However, security issues arise as personal devices leave the office daily. To protect the information of both your firm and client, produce a policy, and educate your users about using their phones for communications.
2. Corporate Owned, Personal Enabled (COPE)
By providing your team with a personal device, you guard both flexibility and privacy. This way, your firm possesses the power to govern how the device is used and set strict data protection software into place.3. Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)
COYD provides a middle ground between a BYOD and a COPE. Firms can offer an option of devices for their advisors to utilize. Additionally, they can configure the device with the appropriate applications and setting to ensure that it is used appropriately for work processes only. Your firm may install data protection software to protect sensitive information and privacy.
FCC Text Messaging Regulations
Regardless of industry, all businesses must comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s spam protection laws (FCC). Legislation requires organizations to be judicious when sending text messages. While undoubtedly more effective, text messaging may be more intrusive than email because it’s always delivered to a personal device and is, therefore, considered a more private mode of communication. Regulations require that companies are careful not to inundate clients with unnecessary text messages or place a financial burden on them. Many people do not have unlimited text messaging included in their mobile plans resulting in additional costs. Keep your messaging straightforward and to the point for a positive customer experience.
Consent Opt-in and Opt-out
Before sending any text messages, you must obtain consent and provide a straightforward way for users to opt-out. Failure to do so can result in serious legal repercussions. Be sure to read about the United States, Canadian, and the European Union opt-in policies before sending your first text.
You should maintain different consent levels to contact your clients based on the nature of your communications. After obtaining consent, be sure to keep a clear record for future auditing. We have outlined the two significant consent levels bellow:1. Advertising
- Solicitations or offers to purchase a product, goods, or service. For example, a text message that states:
Thank you for visiting today. Please follow the link to sign up for a loan.
- All other messages. These text messages include:
Hi , this is to confirm the resolution of your customer service issue. If you have questions, please contact us at 0 Thank you.
Are you planning on allowing your advisors to have access to sending text message campaigns or bulk messages? If so, don’t forget FINRA Rule 2210, stating that you must pre-approve campaigns sent to 25 or more investors. Mogli permission sets permit admins to approve advisor and supervise conversations. Learn how to apply permission sets here.
FTC Endorsement Guidelines: Communicating Trust and Goals
Trust is a vital component of a client’s experience. Keep in mind that investment recommendations are classified as an investment product, which is not approved for discussion via text message. Be sure your team does not inadvertently appear to coerce a client into buying or soliciting a service or product over SMS. Select an alternative mode of communication to discuss proposals. The FTC Endorsement Guidelines require the disclosure of all financial incentives.
The use of misleading language not only violates trust with your client, but states and federal regulations prohibit their use. Pay close attention to your state’s and federal regulations for your industry. For example, in sectors such as life insurance, many state laws ban the use of potentially misleading words such as "free" and "guaranteed". Determine which terms may apply to your industry by consulting your state’s policy guide.
Producing templates for your advisors and managers to use when contacting clients assures consistent messaging and wording to avoid detrimental mistakes. Additionally, templates help teach new members of your company about the style of messaging your firm utilizes.
Protecting Personal Information
Protecting your client’s personal information is essential to build trust. Never exchange personal information over text messages, or alter a client’s personal information over a text message.
Shield Your Firm's Reputation Directly in Salesforce®
The use of SMS, MMS, and WhatsApp in business puts intense pressure on financial service firms to adjust their policies and practices to keep up with the regulatory and legal requirements for text messaging. Mogli helps firms protect their brand and reputation by maintaining clear conversation records of incoming and outgoing business communications directly in Salesforce for monitoring and future auditing.
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