It can feel like there are a lot of unwritten rules attached to texting. When it comes to etiquette, business texting and personal texting are a bit different and a bit similar. A lot of the rules that you’d apply to texting your friends and family are the same–for instance, you wouldn’t bury your face in your phone while talking to a loved one, and you probably shouldn’t do it in a meeting with your boss. On the other hand, texting your friend “ttyl” might be totally acceptable. Texting a customer “ttyl”? Not so much.
Business Insider wrote a great piece on this topic. Here’s our take on business texting etiquette–or should we say
“textiquette.” Read on:
1. Keep abbreviations to a minimum. While “omg,” “lol,” “u” and “np” might be acceptable to send to friends, it can be off-putting to your customers. To look professional, the best practice is to use full sentences when possible. If you’re working with a character limit, or in a big hurry, use discretion: what are the standards of professionalism in your industry (i.e. are you a DJ or a dentist)? How well do you know the person you’re texting? Would you be comfortable saying this out loud?
2. Watch your tone. Ever noticed how hard it is to pick up on sarcasm over a text message? It’s the same way with a lot of subtle intonations–they just don’t translate over text the way they do in real life. Here are some things to avoid:
- Negative words like “failure,” or “wrong.” Instead use more “please,” and “thank you.”
- Capitalizing all letters; people percieve it as yelling.
- Passive aggressive phrases like, “Did you get that?” or, “Do you understand?”
- One-word answers–they tend to be conversation killers. Sending “K” implies you’ve moved on from the conversation.
Additionally, you should read your message out loud to make sure it doesn’t sound too harsh.
3. Don’t send bad news. Just like you shouldn’t break up with someone over text, you shouldn’t quit your job over text. Texting is too casual of a medium and can make you seem disingenuous. Hold off on sharing negative feedback until you’re in person, ideally.
4. Identify yourself. Zipwhip makes it super easy to add a custom signature to your text messages, just like you would an email. It’s a common courtesy to let customers know who is texting them.
5. Don’t spam ’em. Sending too many text messages is not only annoying to the recipient, it can be illegal (see our TCPA guidelines for best practices). Keep your messages strictly informational; avoid sending marketing blast messages. If you are sending a URL link, let the recipient know where the link is taking them. You should always have your customers’ consent to text them, and if you’re not getting a response after three tries, it’s probably time to cool it.