All About Microsoft Teams and SMS (Short Service Message)
As a Microsoft Teams user (MS Teams), have you ever wished that you could send an SMS message to your customers, suppliers, or remote workers directly from your MS Teams platform?
Well, you’re not alone.
Users have long demanded the ability to text from MS Teams. And that’s not surprising: SMS is, quite simply, the quickest and most convenient method of B2B and B2C communication. It boasts an open rate of over 95%, and 90% of SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes. So while your calls may go unanswered or sent to voicemail and your emails remain unread, your SMS messages will enjoy nearly instant open rates and the shortest response times.
So Text Messaging and SMS mean the same thing – right?
Well, not exactly. You’ve probably heard Text Messaging used synonymously with SMS. However, Text Messaging is the umbrella term that refers to all the different types of messaging over which companies and consumers can communicate with each other. That includes iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, RCS – as well as SMS.
But right now, SMS is by far the most widely used platform in the United States and Canada. It’s a channel that everyone has on their smartphone, it’s quick, and it’s easy to use.
Why hasn’t Microsoft added SMS into Microsoft Teams?
Good question, especially when you consider how many organizations and individuals want this critical communication feature added to their Microsoft UC platform.
In all likelihood, Microsoft will, in the future, add SMS to Microsoft Teams. But current indications suggest that if they do, it will only be to extend collaboration, i.e., Group Messaging, rather than adding it for the benefit of customer contact and 1:1 interaction.
Moreover, the introduction of their Azure Communication Service (ACS), which is likely to be the basis for any SMS feature, only uses toll-free numbers. That suggests that when Microsoft ultimately introduces SMS, it will use separate toll-free numbers for the service, rather than an organization’s main phone number or an individual’s personal number.
The use of toll-free numbers would also severely disadvantage users in that they could not send or receive pictures (MMS) in their messages.
So how do I add SMS to Microsoft Teams right now?
Several third parties can add SMS into MS Teams. Most of these fall into two categories. These provide, either:
1. An external SMS service that adds a simple, unsophisticated Bot to an MS Teams channel
2. A separate Unified Communication (UC) solution with inbuilt SMS
The major problem with both solutions is that neither is designed specifically for MS Teams. They do not integrate into Microsoft’s UC platform. They merely add on to it.
With option 1, you must leave MS Teams every time you want to send a text. While option 2 means you can’t make phone calls from MS Teams using its in-built UC functionality. Instead, you have to use the external application for your calls.
Worse still, option 1’s SMS bot makes it highly challenging for users to manage multiple conversations, and solution 2 is often expensive. But significantly neither option integrates with Microsoft Contacts.
These solutions, then, do nothing to unify communications.
But there is a third option: YakChat. An SMS solution built explicitly for and natively integrated with Microsoft Teams.
YakChat extends the UC capability of MS Teams with a fully-featured SMS text messaging application.
The application sits conveniently in your MS Teams sidebar, and you can also add it to your MS Teams channel. That way, you don’t have to switch between applications every time you want to send or receive texts.
Intuitive to use, YakChat works on every device (desktop, tablet, and mobile). Individuals can have a private message inbox with a dedicated number, while multiple users can share an inbox. So any member of a team can send/receive texts using the same number.
As well as its in-built contact database, YakChat connects with your Microsoft contacts in Teams/Outlook, Active Directory, or SharePoint. And that means you don’t have to synchronize or store contacts outside of your organization.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
YakChat can also be used to receive Multi-Factor Authentication codes (MFA) via SMS so that anyone in your Teams channel can receive the codes. This is ideal for your teams that need to access the same systems but have to utilize a single number to receive an MFA code
How easy is it to set up YakChat SMS in Microsoft Teams?
Installing YakChat to MS Teams is easy. Simply download the software here and follow the step-by-step instructions to upload YakChat as a custom app into MS Teams. Once installed, you’ll be asked to register for a free 14-day trial. That way you get to try YakChat for free with absolutely no obligation.
All about Microsoft Teams and SMS by YakChat SMS