Guide to SMS Conversations in Klaviyo

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With SMS conversations, you can communicate with your customers on a one-on-one basis, answering questions as well as having in-depth conversations. You can provide details about your business, a product, or an order; send a coupon or picture of a receipt; and follow up with customers. This can enhance your customer support and is an opportunity for you to connect with your audience on a whole new level.

Only owners, admins, and managers can use SMS conversations. Further, you cannot initiate a conversation for two-way messaging; you can only reply to those who texted you. Due to this, SMS conversations are not available for alphanumeric sender IDs

In Klaviyo, two-way messaging is available through the SMS Conversations tab after you set up SMS. This article runs through what you will see in this tab, how to use two-way messaging, and best practices.

About SMS Conversations

SMS conversations in Klaviyo are available when a subscriber texts one of your sending numbers and does not use a keyword. You cannot initiate a conversation; only reply after a customer texts you first. 

You will also be able to view texts from non-subscribers, but to adhere to laws pertaining to SMS consent, you will not be able to reply to anyone who has not opted in to your SMS marketing efforts. When non-subscribers text you, it does not count as consent for SMS marketing unless they subscribe (e.g., by sending a subscribe keyword).

The SMS Conversations Tab 

In the SMS Conversations tab, you’ll see two screens side-by-side:

  1. A list of who has texted you on the left
  2. The text thread on the right


On the left, you can navigate between your inbox, which shows the last 10 people who texted you without a keyword, and your archived messages. If there’s a name for the profile, it will be displayed. If there’s no name, Klaviyo will show their phone number. This list is ordered based on when the person texted in, with the most recent text messages appearing at the top, and will update in real time.

Further, you can filter conversations by All or Unread

On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see the text thread between you and the selected profile as well as that profile’s consent status. You will not see MMS messages sent from subscribers; if someone sends you an MMS, only the text will show, not the images or GIFs. 

You can block, archive, or unarchive SMS conversations.

How to Reply to Subscribers

Click the conversation that you want to respond to.

The text thread will show the last 50 messages between the two of you, including any flow and campaign messages that you sent; however, messages from your auto-responder will not appear. If the profile is subscribed to SMS marketing, you will be able to respond in the space below the message history. 

An example of a text thread in the SMS Conversations tab.

If the person has not yet consented, this response field is grayed out and you will not be able to respond until they opt into SMS marketing.

In your message, you can include images, GIFs, emojis, and coupons just like you can in any other SMS. You can also send multiple messages in a row.

Update Your Notification and Auto-Responder Settings

Before you get started with SMS conversations, it’s important to update your SMS conversation settings.

Go to SMS Conversations and then click the gear icon in the sidebar.

The settings for your SMS conversations, where you can adjust your auto-responder settings.

A modal will pop up that allows you to adjust your email notification and SMS auto-responder settings. The modal ties directly to the settings for When no keyword is recognized under Account > Settings > SMS. If you update one, the other will also update. 

You can choose whether or not to receive an email for incoming messages.

If you choose to enable these email notifications, you must set at least one recipient; however, you can add any number of email addresses.

The settings modal for two-way messaging.

Now, it’s time to turn on your auto-responder. As a best practice, enable this feature for Only non-consented profiles if you want to use two-way messaging. (If you do not currently want to use SMS conversations, set the auto-responder to send to All profiles.)

Next, input your auto-response message. It’s important to let non-subscribers know that you cannot respond via text and how to reach you. For instance: "{{Organization prefix}}: We are unable to respond as you have not consented to receive SMS. For help, reach us at {{email}}."

Example of an auto-response message for non-consented profiles

When you’re done, click Save.

Note that messages from your auto-responder will not show in the conversations thread.

Best Practices for Two-Way Messaging

Two important things to remember when using two-way messaging are the time of day for the recipient and how quickly you respond. Below, we discuss each in more detail.

Be Mindful of What Time You Respond

It’s important to avoid texting too early or late in the day, as SMS messages actively ping a recipient’s phone.

Be mindful that what’s early or late for you may not be the exact same as for your customers. For instance, say you’re based on the east coast of the U.S. and get a text from someone from the west coast. Replying at 8 am EST means they get the message at 5 am PST. For this recipient, getting a text that early in the morning may be seen as intrusive and may cause them to unsubscribe. 

If a profile’s location is available, it will appear in the header. This can help you determine someone’s timezone.

The text thread shows the profile's location when it is available.

Respond to Messages Quickly

People expect a quick response when they text, much faster than when they send you an email or fill out a customer support form. Thus, ensure that you have the resources to reply quickly and meet demand.

When it comes to SMS support, quicker response times are key. Aim to text back within the hour, and make sure that you are responding to all incoming messages. 

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