The verdict is out, and it's split. Some people say it's OK to text message clients, while others say, "no way!"
Here's the correct answer! Text away, but GET PERMISSION FIRST. In an initial meeting with a client, you should find out which methods of communication your client prefers.
Some will prefer text messages, while others will let you know that texts are a "no-no." Now should your client indicate he or she prefers receiving texts, we offer the following suggestions:
- Do preface a text with an introductory statement such as, "This is [your name], your [state professional relationship]."
- Do not assume the client has stored your information in his or her phone.
- Do not include an auto signature with each text. Though they serve as identifiers, they get annoying, as phone and PDA screens are only so big.
- Never return a client's call with a text. If the client wanted to text, he or she would've texted you first. A call placed deserves a call returned!
- Do not use texting shorthand. We've all seen the commercial, "I-D-K, My BFF, Jill." While your girlfriends may understand shorthand, don't assume your clients will. Also, don't use slang, and do use proper punctuation when texting a client.
- Do send text messages that are short and concise. If a text message extends beyond three or four sentences or will require a client to respond more than three or four times, do not text. Instead call or send an e-mail.
- Do indicate when you are finished communicating via text. You can simply say something like, "Feel free to contact me if you have any questions," "Have a great day," or "I'll let you know if I learn anything else."
Remember, texting may seem like the most efficient method of communication, but it is important to meet clients' needs and expectations in the best way for them. Thus, get permission to text first, and then follow our guidelines to ensure that your text-habits don't turn your clients off!
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