Text to Landline: What Businesses Need to Know

Text to landline is a phone service that lets people send SMS messages to phone numbers connected to wired-in phone systems, even if those systems don’t have the ability to display text messages or reply via text. 

Most cellular carriers offer some form of text to landline service, which typically converts text messages into an audio recording the recipient can choose to accept or decline. This service may also allow the recipient to reply with a recorded message. In that case, the person who sent the original text receives a text with a number they can call to essentially listen to a voicemail.

It’s a clunky, bizarre system that turns a simple text conversation into a game of voicemail ping pong. But it’s attempting to solve a major gap in modern phone systems. According to AT&T, “150 million texts are sent to landline numbers every day, even though many of those lines are not text-enabled.” 

Thankfully, there’s a better option for businesses that want to send and receive texts on their landline.

Business texting solutions like Numa offer more advanced functionality: when someone texts your landline, it shows up as a text message in your business texting app, which you can access from any mobile device or PC. When you reply to the text message through the app, your reply is sent as an SMS message and appears to the consumer as a simple text conversation.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about text to landline services, including:

  • Reasons to text enable your business landline
  • Features to look for in a text to landline solution
  • How much it costs to text enable your landline
  • How to set up text to landline with Numa
  • How to text from a landline

Let’s start by exploring why landline texting matters.

Enabling two-way text messaging isn’t a “nice to have” business feature anymore. 

Reasons to text enable your business landline

Texting is hands down the most convenient way to communicate via phone. At the very least, it needs to be an option your customers have when they need to interact with you. Ideally, it should be the norm. 

Changing your business’ communication procedures can feel risky.  You have to get your staff on board with a new process and adopt new tech. But if you’re not giving customers the option to text your business, you’re leaving money on the table. 

Here’s why you should consider a text to landline solution for your business.

Consumers prefer texting over other channels

It takes seconds to send or read a text message. You can do it on the go, in public, in loud environments—wherever—without feeling rushed or having to share your conversation with the people around you. You also don’t have to wait for the other person to pick up to say what you want to say, or interpret what someone is saying and respond on the spot.

It shouldn’t be surprising that most consumers want to communicate with businesses via texting, especially for tasks like scheduling appointments and getting status updates. Unfortunately, less than half of businesses are equipped to send and receive text messages from customers. 

Most calls to a business go unanswered

After monitoring 85 businesses for 30 days, 411 Locals concluded that these businesses failed to pick up 62 percent of inbound calls. Most callers either hang up or get sent to voicemail. If texting your business became the default way people communicate with you, your clients could be more confident that you’ll see their message, and they won’t have to play the dreaded game of business phone tag. 

No more waiting on hold

Most people expect to wait about five minutes to get a response from a business over the phone. But nobody likes waiting on hold. And according to Velaro, about one-third of consumers aren’t willing to do it at all. They simply hang up when placed on hold.

With a text to landline solution, you can give your customers their time back, delight them with more convenient interactions, and ensure that more of your customers actually get served.

People don’t check voicemail anymore

Voicemail is antiquated technology. Before texting, it was a convenient way to leave a message. Now it’s more trouble than it’s worth. That’s why more than 60 percent of people don’t even listen to their voicemails. And when the voicemail comes from a number they don’t recognize, more than 80 percent of people don’t listen to it.

Who’s going to waste their time leaving a voicemail if they don’t listen to their own? When businesses can’t pick up the phone, Numa’s phone answering service asks callers if they’d like to leave a voicemail, start a text conversation, or do both—and up to 80 percent of them choose text.

This isn’t even just about what your customers prefer, either. Throughout the day, your voicemail box gets clogged with spam and messages from vendors—so your customers’ messages can get buried. Text messages are much easier to skim, delegate, and prioritize.

Text messages have incredible read and response rates

When you need to follow up with a customer who called or left a voicemail, it can take a few tries to  reach them. But people can read and reply to text messages at their convenience. They don’t have to drop everything and commit to several minutes of conversation. It’s effortless to glance at your phone and read a text.

That’s why the read rates for text messages can be as high as 98 percent, and the response rates can be up to 45 percent. If you need a client to schedule an appointment, send you a document, or pay their bill, texting is a much more effective channel.

When you text enable your landline, you give your customers the ability to reach your business through their preferred channel. It eliminates the friction involved in calling your business and makes it easier to scale your communications, conserve resources, and improve the customer experience.‍

Key text to landline features

Not all landline texting services are the same. As you compare various business texting platforms, there are some must-have capabilities you’ll want to keep an eye out for. 

Direct incoming calls to text messaging

With most business SMS apps, customers don’t know they can text your business unless you tell them. When you can’t answer the phone, Numa picks up and lets them opt-in to a text conversation. Over time, this helps teach callers that they can get service faster via text. And as texting your landline becomes the default channel your customers use, your call volume will go down.

Some services transcribe your voicemails into text messages—which is helpful, but still requires your callers to leave a voicemail. With Numa, when someone leaves a voicemail, it gets automatically transcribed, and the message displays as text from the caller. So you can reply via text to the person who called.

Automate repetitive interactions

Texting is far more convenient than picking up the phone every time someone asks about your store hours, location, or services. But it still takes time. And as a business owner, you don’t always have the capacity to respond to repetitive inquiries. 

So why not automate these interactions? Numa doesn’t just redirect callers to text conversations—it uses artificial intelligence to answer the questions people ask you all the time. You tell Numa what questions to answer and what to say, and Numa takes those customer interactions off your plate. Instead of adding another communication channel for staff to manage, Numa reduces the burden of repetitive interactions.

Plus, any time Numa can’t answer a question, it learns from how you respond. The next time that question comes up, Numa remembers your answer.

It learns from you, so it gets better at saving you time.

Receive multimedia messages

Inevitably, customers will try to send photos to your business landline—especially as they get used to communicating with you via text. But not all text to landline apps support multimedia messaging service (MMS). With Numa, you can receive photos from your customers (and send photos to them) via text to answer their questions even faster.

Give access to multiple employees

There’s nothing worse than calling a business and wasting time just trying to reach the right department. With Numa, you can set up conversation routing to specific people or departments. This ensures that your customers quickly get the service they need, and that you’re using your in-house experts efficiently.

Any employee you want can download the app and connect to your account. You’ll have a record of every interaction, so you always know who said what to each customer. Conversations show up in a shared inbox, and you can easily ping the person who’s best equipped to serve the customer. Regardless of how many employees contribute to a conversation, your customer sees it as a single thread of text messages.

Unify your inbox

Some business texting services only facilitate SMS messaging. But those aren’t the only text-based messages your business receives. With Numa, you can manage your Facebook Messenger and web chat conversations from the same app you use to handle voicemails and text messages. 

Keep your same business number (if you want to)

However long you’ve been in business, consumers have probably only used one phone number to get a hold of you. It’s displayed on your website, social media profiles, ads, phone books, and other public places people look when they need to contact you. That’s not something you want to change (unless you’re using your personal phone number for your business).

Some business texting solutions require you to get a new phone number in order to text enable your landline. Numa lets you choose to keep your number or get a new one.

Translate text messages

Being monolingual can prevent your business from serving people who would benefit from your services. But if your employees aren’t fluent in multiple languages, that doesn’t leave you with a lot of options.

Numa offers multilingual texting services. If a customer texts your business in a language you don’t speak, Numa can translate it for you. It can also translate your predefined answers and even translate your custom replies. It basically functions as an interpreter, giving your business the ability to serve customers who don’t speak English. And if language is a barrier in-person, you can tell customers to text you to get the service they need.

How to text from a landline

Landlines weren’t made for texting. There’s no display for reading or writing messages, and the closest thing you have to a keyboard is the number pad, like the old school T9 predictive text service. 

Thankfully, texting from a landline doesn’t require you to actually use your wired phone. Instead, you connect a business texting app like Numa to your landline phone number. You can access these apps and reply to texts from a desktop or mobile device. So you don’t even have to be in the building to serve your customers over the phone.

Numa’s text-to-landline feature takes less than 15 minutes to set up. You can immediately give your customers the self-service experience they crave. No porting, no hardware, no problems.‍‍ Just create your account, download the app, and get started.

How much does texting from a landline cost? 

Pricing for text-to-landline apps differs from a typical contract with a wireless services provider. 

Most business texting apps charge a monthly service fee ranging from $49 to more than $600 and offer free incoming text messages. With the monthly fee, you receive a limit of outbound text messages and pay a small fee for any additional messages sent. 

Other text-to-landline services like Numa charge a flat monthly fee with unlimited sent and received messages. So instead of paying per message, you pay a flat monthly rate for the service. ‍

How to text enable your landline with Numa

Setting up a new business phone service sounds complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. Numa doesn’t require any changes to your contract with your phone service provider, and there’s no new hardware to install or equipment to buy. It’s just an app. And it only takes minutes.

The whole process is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here’s all you have to do to enable landline texting with Numa.

1. Enter your information

Once you enter your business name and phone number, Numa will immediately start learning about your business.

2. Approve and modify Numa’s answers

Numa automatically generates answers to common questions it thinks people will ask about your business. You can make changes to Numa’s answers and add new questions you’d like Numa to answer. You can test Numa’s abilities by texting it from your own phone.

3. Enable texting

When you are ready and comfortable, click a few buttons to enable texting on your business phone number. Your customers can start texting you right away, and Numa will start handling your overflow calls.

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