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Every form of communication has its own unique set of unwritten rules, a code of conduct that governs everything fr...
Every form of communication has its own unique set of unwritten rules, a code of conduct that governs everything from the structure of the message to the etiquette surrounding its use. When you answer the phone, you greet the caller first to let them know you've answered. When you send a letter through the postal service, you don't include anthrax in the envelope.
These are rules that have been around long enough that they're viewed as common sense, or almost second nature. But with newer modes of communication, including methods like email and text messaging, the rules aren't quite as clear.
There are still some people who send emails in ALL CAPS, others who read and write text messages while they're having a face-to-face conversation with another person, and there are others who aren't quite sure when it's appropriate to use one method or the other.
In the business world, the lines can get pretty blurry, and the risk in crossing them can often be great. Texting is much more casual than email; its informality is written all over the question that is the title of the article.
Do you stick to email, which is the expected norm in a customer relationship, or can you safely communicate outside the box over the airwaves? The answer isn't so black and white. You can use text, but only in certain circumstances.
1. Are you just starting out with this customer? Is he or she just a prospect? These are the situations in which you do not want to be sending texts, really under any circumstances. In the courtship phase of personal relationships, texts can almost seem thoughtless, or viewed as a blow-off.
Don't follow up a productive first meeting with a text with something like "gr8 meeting. look forward to business with u!!" If this is a long-time customer, someone with whom you've developed a more casual tone in your interactions, that response may be fine (but really it isn't: see Rule 5).
2. Don't assume everyone has an unlimited texting plan. Some are still paying per message to send and receive texts; it's always a good idea to ask permission before you start texting.
3. Don't use text messages to reschedule meetings or conference calls—especially at the last minute—even with someone you've been doing business with for a while. This conversation needs to happen in real time, so each party is aware of the changes as soon as they are proposed.
4. Don't text bad or unexpected news. Telling your customer that their order will be shipping a week late demands explanation. And follow up; even if your phone has a full Qwerty keyboard, typing a comprehensive message is clumsy and inefficient.
5. Always use full sentences with proper spelling and punctuation. Otherwise, u wont be taken srsly lol.
6. Finally, when in doubt, just avoid texting altogether. If the message is urgent, use your phone to make a call. Ensure your customer is getting the information, which isn't possible in the vacuum of feedback that is texting. If it's less of a priority, then it can wait. There are just some things that don't need to be said at the exact moment you think of them.