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.

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).

Before Getting Started

If you decide to use two-way messaging, it’s important to update your autoresponder settings. First, it is a good idea to turn off sending to all profiles. To do so, navigate to Account > Settings > SMS. Under Consent & Keyword Management, click the pencil icon on the right-hand side next to the When no keyword is recognized.

In the resulting modal, switch Automatically respond to from all profiles to non-consented profiles only. Next, change the message so 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}}."

Leave Forward incoming SMS message to checked and input your email. This way, whenever someone texts you — and there's no keyword in the message — you will get an email notification. This applies to all messages in the text thread, so you'll know if someone responds to you.   


Further, check any flows that are sending automated responses for SMS messages. If the word(s) used as the trigger for these flows are not keywords, someone could get the flow message as well as appear in the SMS Conversations tab.

The SMS Conversations Tab 

Navigate to the SMS Conversations tab on the left-hand side of your account. In this 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’ll see the last 10 people who texted you without a keyword. If there’s a name for the profile, that will show here. If there’s no name, Klaviyo will show their phone number. This list is in order of when the person texted in, with the most recent text messages appearing at the top, and will refresh automatically. 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. 

If you haven’t read a message yet, there will be an unread indicator (a blue dot next to the profile’s name/phone number). As soon as you click the name/number, the message history for that individual will appear on the right and the unread indicator will disappear. You cannot mark messages as unread, so keep that in mind when checking different messages.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see the text thread between you and this profile. You will also see that profile’s consent status.

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. If the profile is subscribed to SMS marketing, you will be able to respond in the space below the message history.


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.

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.


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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