Texting customers, colleagues, customers, and others is a mainstream business behavior. However, with regular use, there can be abuse. Don’t text me just because it’s possible. Text people because they want or need to hear from you, and create a message that’s convenient for them, not for yourself.
After reviewing the 10 tips below, add suggestions for sending polite and professional texts.
1. Get permission before texting people. Ask what phone number to use and if it’s okay to text, like asking if you can call from home. Not everyone wants you to be ready to grab their attention day and night.
2. Text during normal business hours. Don’t ping co-workers or ping sleeping customers on Saturday. Communicate convenient for them, not for yourself. People I know don’t text the pastor because Monday is his day off. Texting on Monday might be convenient for them (perhaps because Sunday worship was inspiring or annoying to them), but they know that texting that day isn’t convenient for him.
3. Do not forward the same message by text, email or phone. Unless it’s an urgent message, one “touch” is enough. Choose the medium that best suits your message and stick with it.
4. If your identity is not clear, include your name at the beginning or end of the text. Remember, unless customers and clients add you to their contact list, they will only see your phone number, not your name, unless you include them. Don’t make me guess who’s texting.
5. Be polite. Being polite means using greetings and a positive tone and following the message – please and thank you . You can easily identify the more polite text in each pair below.
6. Ask yourself if you need texting or communication. Don’t use technology just because it’s possible.
7. Think twice before sending a group text. It may be easy for you, but it can drive the recipient crazy. As with email, every reply will have your phone vibrate and a one-word text like “Okay!” And thank you!” These responses can frustrate the recipient, especially when they don’t know each other and aren’t sure who’s talking about what.
Facebook, Twitter, and email can be more effective in communicating with groups of students, members, or project participants. Bcc addresses in emails when people don’t need to communicate with each other.
8. Proofread before clicking SEND. Text is a written medium, so make it easy for colleagues to read. Blaming autocorrect or speech-to-text for silly errors doesn’t meet the best views. Slow down and “acknowledge” before sending the words on the screen.
9. Be professional. Yes, emoticons and XOs are great for communication with friends and relatives. But when it comes to texting at work, texting is a professional communication. Do you want to insert a yellow smiley face or a pounding red heart on your resume? Emoticons can be perfect in your text if you or your relationship with them becomes very intimate. But choose deliberately. Do not use it as a constant function.
10. End communication. Don’t think the last word or emoji should be there. Here’s the end of the text exchange where the two make an appointment for lunch tomorrow. When did communication end?