Stuart Lansdale

How to Send SMS from Slack!

Huh, what? Slack is a team tool and SMS is from phones? Well.. SMS might have been only from phones in the days of the Nokia 3210 but in recent times SMS is making a major comeback.. you may wonder why SMS is now so popular, just think. Who sends SMS these days? Nobody. Who always plays with their phones? Everybody. Your message will be seen whereas an email may be ignored. 

Why do I need SMS in 2019?

Good question and I am sure you know how to run your business so I am looking at it from the point of view of a vacation rental manager. We deal with both owners, cleaners and guests. Each present a clear use case SMS, we can shoot reminders, tell people to contact us and fire off schedules and new bookings so staff can prepare. Super simple but you go to the website of SMS providers online and it all looks super complicated. API this and API that… I haven’t got time for that.. I just want a no code no worries solution.. and where do our team always hang out? Slack of course.. 

The Concept

Write SMS messages in Slack and send them in the same message. Pretty simple right? What are the two pieces of information we need here? Well the first is the number to send it to obviously. Without this the message won’t be delivered numbnuts. The second is the message itself. Slack messages are easy to configure so we just need to make it so that it will trigger based on the same thing each time. For the sake of simplicity, how about something like this;

Awesome, that is a workflow that would work. Now let’s ensure it does. Head over to Zapierand chuck it in;

Building the Process

Processes in Zapier are pretty simple, they start with a trigger and then action on top of that. Filter is also possible and super important in this use case. What we want to do is create the trigger based on a message in Slack starting with SMS. This will ensure it only picks up these messages and who else starts a chat with SMS, so you are fairly safe that you won’t accidentally trigger it. 

First stage is choosing where to trigger the message
Ensure it only triggers on what you want it to trigger on (choose something you wouldn’t use accidentally!

Next up now that you have this big string of text is to try and split it up into the pieces that you need. Luckily enough, Zapier has a formatter option which enables you to do just this. You can split text. To get the number, you will need to use the formatter and choose extract number. Do note that by doing this, do not use numbers anywhere else in your message! 

Super easy, now to get the message again go to formatter and do a split text on ‘Message:’ and choose last, this will provide you with the message only. Easy life! Now for the SMS action, for this I use Twilio. 

You can set up Twilio and choose send a SMS. You can then fill in the number of the recipient with the details of the split text and also the message. You will probably want to use your alphanumeric ID if you set this up in Twilio. This is really cool, it lets you send messages as your company, for example we have it set up as ROOMFILLA.

You can then test it to ensure it works!

We also set up one further action in Zapier to push a success message to Slack. For this we chose Vegeta because the power to send a SMS from Slack is obviously over 9,000.

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