Of all communication platform available to businesses, perhaps none is more convenient, reliable, and cost-efficient than text messaging. Compared to email, texts are delivered immediately and directly to a device that most of the employees have with them at all times.
Email is checked at a much lower frequency than SMS messages. Research shows that 98% of SMS messages have a response rate of 45% while the open rates for emails are at 28-33% with a much lower response rate of 6%, meaning that employees are almost three times as likely to read a text message in comparison with email sent to them.
However, while texting can elicit a faster response than email, it still has aspects requiring attention to render it effective for usage in a business setting. We offer the following guidelines for getting the most out of text messaging at work.
1. Know Which Message Can Be Sent Through Text
Though efficient, texting is not always the appropriate communication platform – especially if the message in question requires direct interaction from the recipient. If a particular issue entails lengthy or involved exchange of information, then it is best to use an email or even a phone call.
Never use text for quitting the job, firing someone (President Trump excepted), addressing a performance review, or anything negative. These kinds of non-emergency formal/business conversations are best-performed face-to-face.
2. Be Mindful of Your Tone
Written personal messages can be easily misconstrued, especially business. In fact, research by Celia Klin, a psychology professor at New York’s Binghamton University, showed that single-word text messages came across as less sincere and more abrupt when the period was included.
Therefore, it is essential re-read your text before sending them, ensure that you write a complete sentence to prevent sounding abrupt, and remove any negative words that might offend the recipient.
3. Use Abbreviations Carefully
One of the reasons why texting is the fastest form of electronic communication is because we can use abbreviations and shortcuts. However, while using abbreviations is acceptable for peer-to-peer communication, inappropriate abbreviation may mar your presentation.
If you choose to include abbreviations in your text, only use those that are widely known – such as FYI, ASAP, TBD, and TIA. If you are unsure if the receiver would understand the meaning of the abbreviation, then choose to type out the entire word or phrase.
And do beware of errant spell check/word completion software which can easily misrepresent your intentions.
4. Never Cold-Call Through Text
While texting is the fastest way to reach your prospects, it is still not advisable to use it to cold-call them. Texting your prospect depends on what kind of rapport you have, i.e., whether the prospect has given permission and where in the sales process you are. Many people believe that text messaging is still a personal communication that requires an immediate response and texting people you are soliciting business from when you do not know them is considered rude and intrusive.
It is also essential to know that texting a prospect (during business hours only) is appropriate only if it concerns:
- finding a venue for the meeting,
- notifying them that you will be late for the meeting,
- following up to an important question
- providing them valuable information.
Otherwise, using text to push a prospect to close the deal is never recommended.
5. Only Use Emoticons with People You Know
While it is often advised to avoid emoticons when using business-related texts, a recent study conducted by Monica Riordan, a psychology professor at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, revealed that using emoticons and emojis can make neutral messages more positive and reduce the negativity of downbeat ones. In another study at how the pictures helped comprehension, the people reading the messages understood the meaning better with the emojis included.
However, other studies have found that emoticons and emojis are most useful for internal communication within teams, and not with outsiders, like suppliers or clients. In an experiment conducted by Dr. Ella Gickson of Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, it was revealed that people who received a work-related email with ‘smiley’ face emoji in it from a person in their first communication could make the sender seem incompetent and the recipient was less likely to share information with them.
Read more: BYOD Policy in Your Workplace Best Practices
Contact us today to learn more how TeleMessage Enterprise Mobile Messaging solutions can help you maximize texting effectiveness in your business.