Just a few short years ago would you have thought that texting in business would be a widely-accepted staple of communication? Probably not, but then a decade ago, you would not have believed that email would be flooding your inbox. Thanks to texting, those overflowing inboxes are no longer consuming the better part of our day. Texting has become the new email and the new phone call.
Before we get into the subject of why, when and how to text, be assured that I am not suggesting that you abandon all other forms of communication in business. Hopefully, nothing will supplant real conversation over the phone or meeting face-to-face.
Why should you consider texting in business?
- Your customers prefer texting. Regardless of your preferred means of communication, it’s the customer who chooses. Because of all those spam calls, some people, even in business, do not answer their phones. Others won’t take your call because they don’t want to get involved in a lengthy phone conversation.
- Texting has a higher open and response rate. Studies show that people will open a text message while they ignore an email. And they are more likely to respond. Now that’s good business.
- Texting is a time– It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that texting is faster than making a phone call or sending an email.
- Texting is versatile. You can send out reminders, make appointments, schedule meetings and announce business updates. It’s a short sweet marketing toll.
Before you embrace texting with all of its advantages, establish guidelines and set standards for yourself and your business. If you don’t, you can quickly spoil a business relationship.
What are the etiquette rules for texting in business?
- Avoid abbreviations and acronyms unless your customer uses them. Don’t assume that everyone knows what you know or knows what you mean.
- Text at appropriate times. Is it after hours? Are you likely to be an intrusion?
- Use correct spelling. Yes, even in texting.
- Limit your number of texts you send. A nuisance will quickly lose credibility.
- Include your business name in each message. Again, make no assumptions.
- Consider your “why” for sending the message. Your customers need to know what you expect them to do. Do you have a “call to action” or an obvious reason for sending that text? Be clear about your purpose and give instructions for responding.
- Proof your text. Treat it just as would your email. Check your grammar, spelling, readability and especially the autocorrect. Texting makes assumptions. If you don’t double-check, it will replace what you wrote with some bizarre and unintended words.
- Get your customers’ permission before texting them. There are laws that govern texting in business. Know what they are. Ask your attorney or refer to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Texting is here to stay. People like it. Why? They like it because it is private. They like it because it leaves a record of conversations. They like it because it’s polite and respectful of others and acknowledges their busy lives.
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations, workshops and resources can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.