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Alexander Haque Co-Founder at Clerk Chat
Alexander Haque

Co-Founder at Clerk Chat

Troubleshooting Guide: What to Do When You’re Not Receiving Text Messages

Troubleshooting Guide: What to Do When You’re Not Receiving Text Messages

The frustration of not receiving text messages is all too familiar. Businesses leverage this efficient and immediate communication tool to connect with clients, send updates, and convert customers on the go. It boasts an impressive open rate – that is, when it works. We’ve probably all encountered the “not delivered” notification, leaving us wondering what to do.

If you own or run a business, you expect (and your customers expect) your communication to be consistent and reliable. Whether it’s coordinating with team members, reaching out to clients, or providing updates, businesses depend on communication channels that deliver messages promptly and accurately. Text messaging makes this possible - they’re convenient, direct, and immediate.

So, why is it that sometimes you wonder: ‘my phone isn’t receiving text messages’ or ‘my message didn’t reach its intended destination’? Let’s unpack it together, so you’re better equipped to make sure your messages are received rather than floating around in la la land.

Not Receiving Text Messages? Check for Invalid Numbers

Maybe obvious, but invalid numbers are a number one reason why messages fail or communication breaks down. These numbers could be incorrectly formatted, deactivated, or non-existent, meaning - they can’t receive texts.

This can happen when someone accidentally mistypes or incorrectly inputs recipient phone numbers - whether it’s done manually or copy and paste doesn’t matter. If there’s a missing digit or transposed numbers, it’s invalid.

If your records aren’t up-to-date, you’ll run into a problem if you try to send a message to a deactivated or disconnected phone number. Keep in mind, businesses (and people!) do sometimes change their number or carrier. The same goes for the recipient. If you’re thinking, “Strange, my phone is not receiving texts,” you may want to make sure everyone has your correct contact information.

Additionally, if you’re sending a text message to an international number, make sure you’re using the right format.

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Carrier-Specific Problems, Security Measure, and Filters

“Why am I not receiving text messages?” is a question many users find themselves asking when faced with delivery issues. But do these users know that mobile phone carriers have the ability to block the delivery of text messages that they identify as inappropriate or spammy? This process does help keep SMS a reliable strategy for businesses, especially those using it respectfully, but it also creates challenges.

Why Carriers Use Filtering Systems and How the Filters Work

Spam filters and security measures safeguard users against unsolicited and potentially harmful messages (yes, please!), but they can also inadvertently impact the delivery of legitimate messages (yikes!).

It’s important for consumers to trust their carriers, so carriers are proactive in filtering texts to identify spam, fraud, or unacceptable content. Additionally, many countries have rules that regulate what types of messages are allowed to be sent via SMS to a consumer. Failure to comply with these laws could result in fines or other penalties.

Every carrier uses a method that works for them, but some processes or examples include:

  1. Keywords: Lists of content considered inappropriate.

  2. Phishing: A message that resembles a fake SMS, looking for info.

  3. Violations: Unsolicited marketing, strange attachments, or odd links.

  4. Machine Learning: Software that uses volumes of text to assess patterns.

  5. Unusual High Volume: Bulk or automation could be mistaken for spam if not properly registered.

Filtering serves a (welcomed) purpose, but make sure your messages don’t fall under any of the questionable categories or you may run into a problem resulting in text messages not delivered.

If you’re proactive, you can improve your message delivery rate:

  • Reputation: Prioritize sending relevant, non-spammy messages and adhere to best practices for all messaging.

  • Content: Messages should be well-written, concise, and relevant and avoid using excessive links or attachments.

  • Domains: Make sure your sender domain is authentic so it isn’t questioned by the carrier or recipient.

  • Data: Regularly review open rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribes.

How SMS Routing Affects Text Message Delivery

When you hit “send” on a text message, you assume that message lands where it was supposed to, but when users don’t get the message, they’re left wondering, “Why isn’t my phone receiving texts?” Sender to recipient sounds simple, but SMS routing impacts the message’s delivery and sometimes results in a delay or the message being lost.

Here are a handful of factors that should be considered:

Carriers: Carriers have to communicate with each other to help the text message move between networks. In addition, some carriers prioritize internal traffic over incoming messages from other networks. This prioritization can sometimes lead to text messages not coming through as expected.

Grey Routes: This may be a cost-effective message delivery solution, but is often problematic. The message starts in one place but routes its way elsewhere before it gets delivered. Sometimes this is used to disguise where the message started. This becomes a security liability and a higher chance of the message getting lost.

International: Sending a text message to international destinations is complex, often leading to questions like why am I not receiving text messages? Sometimes a message travels through multiple carriers, the same way we may travel over several states or countries when going on a trip further away.

Networks: Just like traditional rush-hour times, there are also peak usage hours. When the networks are overworked or congested, messages may be delayed or even fail to be delivered.

Policies: Terms and conditions, policies and preferences are set by each carrier and typically define how a message is routed.

As a business, it’s important for you to understand how SMS routing could affect text message delivery, ensuring that you’re not left wondering why you’re not receiving text messages, or why your customers aren’t receiving the ones you send.

How Network Connection Issues Affect Text Messages From Not Coming Through

When it comes to sending and receiving text messages for businesses, network reliability plays a pivotal role. Let’s explore some common network-related issues that can cause messages to fail:

  1. Signal Strength: How often do you check your phone’s signal bars? Your phone’s signal strength determines how well it can communicate with cell towers.

  2. Coverage Gaps: There are areas where cell towers are few or far between, remote areas, in particular.

  3. Network Congestion: Mobile networks have been known to experience congestion during peak hours.

  4. Roaming: Are you within your carrier’s coverage area? If not, your phone may connect to other networks, which is called roaming.

  5. Maintenance: Carriers occasionally have scheduled maintenance, and during these times, services may be temporarily disrupted.

  6. Outages: Network outages are possible either because of technical difficulties or a storm, for example.

If you’re impacted and can’t receive text messages on your Android, iPhone, or other devices, here are some common solutions:

  • Wait for the maintenance window to end.
  • Move to an area with better signal reception.
  • Be aware of local network status and remain patient.
  • If traveling, wait until you’re back in an area with better coverage.
  • Check your roaming settings and consider using Wi-Fi for messaging.
  • Try sending messages during off-peak hours or when network traffic is lighter.

Keep in mind, we’ve come a long way, and we’re lucky to have technology that the telecom industry provides, yet glitches happen. When they do, troubleshoot as needed.

Problems with your device can affect your ability to successfully receive text messages. These challenges might include incompatible devices, outdated software, and insufficient storage capacity, all of which could lead to instances where users cannot receive text messages as expected.

One common device-related challenge is encountered when attempting to send text messages between devices with incompatible operating systems or messaging platforms. For example, have you ever noticed a message going through as green or several group messages created for the same text chain?

Messages sent from an iOS device may not be received properly on an Android device and vice versa due to differences in messaging protocols and formatting. Additionally, messaging apps may have varying levels of compatibility with different devices.

Outdated software presents another hurdle to reliable text messaging, older operating systems or messaging applications that have not been updated, for instance. If you don’t regularly update your devices or messaging apps, you may run into a compatibility issue.

It’s also recommended that you check your device’s storage capacity. If you’re running on limited memory or storage space, incoming messages may be unable to be stored or received.

TL;DR? Keep your devices and apps up-to-date.

Understanding Why Am I Not Receiving Text Messages

Yes, encountering issues with text message delivery can be frustrating, but understanding the underlying causes and implementing the appropriate solutions will create a smoother communication experience for all involved.

Take the time to proactively address factors like carrier filtering, device compatibility, and network connectivity, and you or your business will become known for reliable messaging.

Technology glitches happen, but with the right resources, you can minimize disruptions and keep your messages where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to get there.

Is your business using SMS for communication? Schedule a demo with Clerk Chat to avoid customer complaints that they’re not receiving your text messages.

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