Texting In Business – How Unprofessional!Catherine van Straten
A few years ago, taking out your phone during business hours to send a text message to a colleague, supplier or customer may have raised some eyebrows. Texting to communicate business-related information was seen as highly unprofessional. But is it still? Or has the increase in the benefits of text messaging made it more acceptable to send messages at work?
We live in a much different world today and the way we communicate is changing fast. Increasingly we are looking for better ways to interact, and businesses are at the forefront of change in business communication. Cellfind, a leading mobile technology solutions company, says, “Modern businesses need modern business communication systems. And modern business communications system is all about mobility.”
If reaching your customers, communicating with staff or recruiting new candidates are your targets with your business text messages, it has not only become more acceptable, but it is now a highly beneficial communication method.
Why have text messages become more acceptable in business?
Studies have found that telephone calls have taken the back seat in recent years, with text messages becoming more popular. Business professionals, as well as their customers, no longer have the time to take calls for every query, and email inboxes have been overflowing for years. Although it’s still valuable to have one-on-one discussions, text messaging, specifically SMS messaging, offers a great alternative when it is not necessary to meet face-to-face. Cellfind has found that the humble SMS is, in fact, leading the modern business world for effective and surprisingly fast communication.
SMS messaging offers numerous benefits for both business owners, staff and customers. Here are a few to consider:
Higher open and response rates
Text messaging is customisable
Today, text messages can take many forms and can be customised depending on your needs. Cellfind, who offers tailored text messaging services, says, “Automated messages and two-way responses can easily be set up to cater to your unique business needs.” They offer among other services:
- Omnichannel Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). CPaaS offers real-time communications features, including voice, chat and mobile messaging, to allow messages to persist across different channels and platforms.
- Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). USSD allows businesses to interact and transact with customers using any GSM handset. This menu-driven communications protocol can be used to provide customers with information services, including important news, and interactive services, including surveys and competitions.
Text messages save time
While making a phone call or sending out an email can take well up to a couple of minutes, you can send out a text message in seconds. Text messages are usually short and to-the-point and can save businesses valuable time.
Text Messages for Business – How, When and Where To Send It
While texts can be highly beneficial, there are certain dos and don’ts. Text messaging etiquette do exist and should be a part of a business’ operational policy to ensure smooth, safe and legal communication.
Only send messages if there is an established business relationship.
It is still illegal to send texts to anyone who has not given their consent. In other words, if you simply send out messages to your customer database without them opting in, it can get you into trouble. It is advisable to ensure your policy complies with the industry Code of Conduct, maintained by the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA).
Always check the recipient.
Before you press send, always check that you have added the correct recipient. If you send out personal information to the wrong person, it can lead to a lot of embarrassment.
Establish the tone and style of your messages and always double-check before you click send.
It happens often: You type out a message and click send too early, sending out a message filled with typos and grammar errors. It is important to double-check texts every time. And while emoji-studded and abbreviation-filled messages are okay to send to friends and family, these should not be used in business messages.
Watch the details.
Some information, such as sensitive information and bad news, should never be sent via a text. It is always more appropriate to disclose this in-person.
Pay attention to the time.
When we are busy, we often forget to check the clock. However, when it comes to sending out business messages, you must pay attention to timing. No one wants to receive a business message at 8 pm or before 7 am. Be considerate and stick to business hours.
If you want a reply, add a strong call to action (CTA) to your messages.
Not every message requires a call to action, but if you want action from a message, you have to ask for it. CTAs should be short and to the point to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. Examples of good CTAs include:
- Please call us now.
- Send your form today.
- Don’t forget our meeting at 12 pm.
Automate your messages to save more time.
If you find that you are always strapped for time, it’s wise to automate your messages. Automation can be used for promotional messages, alerts and reminders. If you decide to automate your messages, it is even more important to check spelling and grammar. Sending out a message with an error to one person is one thing but sending out an error in a bulk SMS is quite another.
Statistics show that text messaging isn’t slowing down and it is predicted that the number of people who use text messaging will increase to 5.9 billion globally by 2025. Convenience and speed have become major priorities in the business world. It is no wonder then that businesses are increasingly investing in simpler and faster ways of communication. If you’re ready to invest in an SMS for business solution to streamline your business’ communication processes, it is wise to find a provider that offers the whole package.
Cellfind is an innovative communications technology company specialising in text messaging solutions for businesses.