Pick up your smartphone. What was the last action you took? We’re willing to bet you probably sent a text message. Are we right? With text messaging the #1 activity on smartphones, it wasn’t too difficult to make that guess.
The digital age is keeping business on their toes now more than ever. According to a 2014 study by Harris Poll, 64% of people would prefer text messaging rather than talking on the phone with a customer service agent. With texting the most preferred method of communication, how do we ensure the level of customer care remains top-notch? In other words, what is the appropriate text-iquette when messaging with your customers?
Customers expect immediacy when texting with brands. Do not let a text message sit in your customer service queue for more than 30 minutes.
Inform your customers what they should expect from you. Notify them if you are going to use it to send advertisements and other announcements. However, limit these updates to once a week, and only with their permission. You don’t want your valued customers to feel like you’re spamming them.
3. Abbreviate cautiously.
Texting is meant to be a fast form of communication, so abbreviations (that make sense and are widely recognized) will certainly be used. But steer clear of any acronyms or abbreviations that are inappropriate – we didn’t need to tell you that, did we? So that means LOL gets the green light, and WTF certainly does not.
Construct your text messages in brief yet clear words. Simplicity is the name of the game here. Customers aren’t texting you for fun. They need help or an answer, and they want the process to be quick and pain-free.
5. TONE. Period.
Text messaging tends to be short and quick. This can sometimes lead to bad results if we’re not thinking about our tone. When texting, write complete sentences and read your message out loud before hitting SEND to see how it will read on the receiving end. A recent study confirms that periods make you a jerk, at least in the world of texting – because they make you seem less sincere. With many of the social cues that we typically rely on during communication lacking – such as eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, and pauses – it is sometimes difficult to misread the tone on the other side of the conversation.
6. Personalize, but be professional.
Put a personal touch to your text message when responding to your customers’ concerns. Address them by name, use polite phrases like “please” and “thank you.” And feel free to end the message with a 🙂 emoticon.
7. Auto-correct isn’t always correct. (Same with voice-to-text.)
Smartphones allow you to speak your message, which the phone then converts to text but a lot can be lost in translation. Make sure that what you said is what is showing as text, before you hit the SEND button. Autocorrect changes are often not correct. Doesn’t that drive you ‘ducking’ crazy?
8. No automatic opt-in.
We understand that text messaging can be an effective tool to inform customers about your promos and specials, but do not assume that they want to get these notifications from your business. When interacting with your customers, ask them if they want to opt-in your text messaging platform to receive updates. If not, remove them and record this information in their account.