Texting used to be something that teenagers do and a lot of it. Now with the changes in the business and digital landscape including the ubiquity of chat messaging apps like WhatsApp, the rise and ban of WhatsApp pay and Sasai and the fact that those teenagers are now adults, texting is becoming a big part of the business. There are serious etiquette problems in the world of texting and they come from both the business and consumer side. I will do my best to tackle some of the deficiencies we see in this realm.

For customers

There are a few things customers can do to improve the process of texting for business purposes. I decided to start with customers because in many cases they initiate the conversation.

When initiating a conversation best practice is to state your name, where you got the contact information from, why you are texting. People have developed a habit of texting “Hi” and waiting for a response. This is ineffective and inefficient. Business owners or their agents are busy running entire organisations and have many things to deal with, some are urgent. A “Hi” does not warrant any attention. Telling me where you got the contact from and why you are texting also helps to get you assistance quickly. Also knowing where you got the contact is good for tracking any offers I may have placed on different platforms. Identifying yourself and the reason you’re texting also helps to differentiate you from the other 17 people who tried to sell me a Cryptocurrency investment that pays 100% in two weeks.

When discussing an order or products it is best to be as specific as possible. Asking a business person about their “advert” isn’t enough. Which advert? Where did you see it? Throw in a screenshot for ease of communication. In all cases endeavour to make things easier. When you do receive your quotation it is polite to communicate either way what you are going to do. If you are not going to take up the offer for whatever reason, a polite “thanks but I won’t be going forward with this” is enough. If asked your reason for choosing so you can communicate it if you want, you might even get a discounted offer out of it. While many vendors offer what can only be described as rude pricing you do not need to be rude in return.

For Businesses

Businesses and business people have a few areas they could improve too.

Greetings are still important. It is important to establish a human connection even if it is over a text. Some may choose to use autoresponders but be very careful with these and the language you use in them. It’s a good idea to let people know it is an auto-response and that you appreciate their communication and will get back to them as soon as you’re available. Bonus points if you can give a timeframe.

If you have to ask questions to gain information from prospects it is best to couple your question with a why. For example, you can ask where they got your contact form and explain that you would like to keep a track of where people are seeing your ads from. It also puts someone at ease to acknowledge their source.

If you have to take some time before you can respond it is best to inform them of when you will get back to them. If you know your sales well you should be setting callbacks at the end of every conversation. Same goes for giving the client time to consider an offer. You can provide them with the quote and tell them they can take their time with it and you will check with them tomorrow. In fact, letting customers know the process involved in advance can greatly improve your chances of closing the deal.

It’s also very important to be nice. When you receive good service over text with full communication you are left with an impression that makes you more likely to recommend someone. This is what you want to inspire in your encounters. Even if they don’t result in sales you still want to leave such an impression.