Do This Not That: The Complete Guide for Texting at Work
Texting at work is no longer banned. In fact, in many businesses it the preferred method of communication. So what is and isn't appropriate for work texts?
It had to happen! It was only a matter of time. Bosses no longer look the other way as texting employees shove their phones into desk drawers. Nor do the texters hide what they’re doing. Yes, they’re texting on company time. But chances are, they’re texting company business.
The changing tide of communication
Once the realm of remote workers and support techs, texts have become the preferred communication in office or out. And if you take a look at the numbers, you’ll understand why.
Text messages vs phone calls
Text messages vs emails
The average open rate for email hovers between 15 and 22. And then there’s the matter of those that end up in spam folders. Contrast that with texts, which not only get to their intended destination but are read within 90 seconds.
Text messaging and courtesy
When using text messages, be courteous and respectful. Remember you’re representing your company and your brand. Like any tool, there is a right way and a wrong way to use texts.
If you’re a sales rep, texting is an excellent way to follow up with a new lead. Whether it’s a simple thank following a call, or a special offer the next week, texts show you’re serious about working with them one-to-one. However, you should always give customers the opportunity to opt out of receiving any more texts.
Texts can be used to sample customer satisfaction with your service, but don’t overstay your welcome. Respect the fact that like you, customers regard their time as precious. A survey can be as simple as “how would you rate your last experience with us?” Again, give them the chance to opt out of further texts. Or, should they prefer, include a link to a more extensive survey. This gives customers that all important opt-in/opt-out choice. At the same time, it lets them know you’re concerned about their customer experience.
Steady customers who suddenly stop responded to your email marketing campaigns may be uninterested. Or for some reason may be missing your emails. Use a short simple text to find out which. Let them know you miss them while giving them the chance to unsubscribe from future email campaigns. Even if they currently have no need for your product, your text reminds them you’re available for future reference.
Statistics show that 51% of employees text external business contacts and a larger 73% use texts to communicate with co-workers. Show colleagues the same consideration you show customers. Just because we see each other every day doesn’t mean we should loosen the reins of propriety in a text.
When texting your team:
- Consider the time. Unless you have a personal relationship with a colleague, try not to text him after 5 PM. If you feel like there is something he really should know, e-mail it.
- Keep in mind that texts can lose their meaning when viewed out of context. They can be misunderstood, especially if seen by a significant other. Stick to professional language in your texts.
- Differences in age, race, and gender also come into play when considering your language. Texts are written words, so should they strike the wrong chord, insulted co-workers can pass them on to HR.
When texting your boss:
- Although colloquial language may be fine with a younger boss, it pays to stick with more formal language. Steer clear of abbreviations and emojis.
- Keep your message short and direct unless it involves urgent matters that need resolution. At this point, he may suggest you call him instead.
- Never convey bad news like losing a contract or account. And above all, never resign via text!
Whether texting customers, colleagues, or managers, don’t use texts as a way to keep in touch. Frequent text messages can be as annoying as the emails they don’t read and the phone calls they don’t return. Text only for a specific purpose, and stick to the point. Don’t give texting a bad name!