Texting: Friends vs. Customers

Texting: Friends vs. Customers

In an age where modern communication is replacing traditional methods, it’s important to keep up to date with new trends. When it comes to texting customers, how can you make sure you remain professional?

Choosing the way you communicate with customers is key to your success. It’s generally accepted practice to do this face to face or via letter or email. Texting, however, can be a whole different ball game. You’ve likely been using texts for years to chat with friends and family. When using this communication channel, it can be all too easy to slide into old habits. When it comes to your business customers, you have to look at them in a different light.

Your tone as a business person has to be professional. It should be convivial but not overly familiar. So, just how can you strike this balance?

Choose your tone

No one wants a message that’s condescending, superior, or boring. On the other hand, no one wants a message implying a familiarity that’s not genuine. Be console, considered, and respectful every time. Although the tone of your message is paramount, of equal importance is your spelling and grammar. While this can’t always be measured during face to face interaction, it will soon become blatantly obvious when your message is in written format. Check your wording, check your spelling, and check your grammar before you hit send. You can never be too cautious.

No text speaks

However, you speak to your customers, and you cannot convey your professional message in text speak. Telling your customers ‘c u l8r’ as a response to an invitation to drinks mixer is a definite no. This is NOT the way to encourage repeat business. Many people abhor abbreviated speech in regular circumstances, so speaking to the CEO of a company in text speak won’t do you any favors. Although it may be an easy way to send a message, customers are very different beasts from friends and family. Clients are way less forgiving and far more judgmental than your nearest and dearest.

Customers demand being treated with respect. Therefore, they need to be spoken to in plain English. This doesn’t mean you can’t inject your personality into your texts  but rather tailor your message to the recipient. Electronic communication must be above reproach. Never put in writing something that may reflect badly on you or your business down the line.

Be friendly, but not too friendly

No one is suggesting that you can’t have a great relationship with your customers. After all, it’s the relationship as much as the service they’ll keep coming back for. Customers want to see you as human and approachable, but they still expect certain standards.

Striking a balance between friendly and over-familiarity can be challenging, but never forget who you’re dealing with. Even when you’ve known customers for years and are certain of their loyalty, you still owe them professional courtesy.

Your text language must be friendly (no one likes receiving a strict message) but must also convey your position and represent your business. If you’re a funeral director, flippant and jovial might not work to your advantage. If your company sells computers, light-hearted marketing may well set you apart from your competitors. If you know your customers, you’ll know which approach to take,

Summary

While texting might be an easy and convenient way to do business, it’s imperative to the success of your livelihood that you clearly differentiate between how you speak to customers and how you speak to anyone else in your life.

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