Full Guide to Business Texting Etiquette
It’s simple, it’s fast, and done right, it will never make your customers furious! With text messages being opened and read 138% more than email and up to 75% of consumers preferring texting to calls, business texting is the ultimate go-to communication tool for business.
Not only is texting the most-used smartphone app, but business texting is also incredibly cost-effective and in the growing stages of implementation which means it stores depths of unprobed potential. All this makes business text messaging a hot commodity for businesses that employ it appropriately.
So how do you begin business texting legally, politely, and to maximum potential? Here’s everything you need to know about business texting etiquette.
Read on or jump right in:
- Is business texting appropriate for business?
- Business texting laws
- Business texting etiquette
- How to choose a business texting app
Is texting appropriate for business?
Business SMS is often linked to promotions that consumers treat as Spam. However, studies show that 60% of respondents actually enjoy receiving non-promotional messages from a business. This means that your business texting strategy has to focus on building relationships instead of focusing on promotion.
Instances when business texting is appropriate:
- Informative messages — With business SMS, your information is received and read within as fast as 90 seconds with millennial consumers. Neither emails nor calls offer anywhere near the same statistics. When you’ve got to communicate important information, do it via texting to be absolutely sure it’s read.
- Customer service — Business text messaging isn’t just a fast way for customers to contact a business, it also saves costs. Business texting statistics show that texting converts the cost of a twenty-dollar phone call to just a few cents. But even more importantly, it allows both customers and businesses to address service questions on the go. For example, in a situation when it’s inconvenient for the customer to talk on the phone.
- Feedback — Asking for feedback via text messages is as simple as it sounds on both ends. For a business, it’s a great way to show that you truly use this tool to care about what your customers are thinking and make service better, instead of spamming them with deals and promos. For customers, sending feedback via text message takes just a few seconds, and keep it brief and to the point.
- Surveys — Research shows that 31% of consumers respond to text message surveys, and do so in under 6 minutes. Meanwhile, email survey response rates fluctuate variously from 10% to 40% depending on your audience. In both cases, customer surveys fare best. So if you’ve got an occasional survey for your customers (remember to keep it short — 1–3 questions), text messaging is your best chance of getting a sure view and a fast response.
- Offers/promotions — It’s critical to remember that promotional/sales text messages should constitute a maximum 10% of your overall business text messages. In other words, it’s absolutely OK to send a once-per-month special offer to your clients, amongst other informational messages. But sending one every week is the fastest road to getting in their SPAM folder and in the radar of the CAN-SPAM act (see below).
Business texting laws
The U.S. has a main law that enforces text messaging privacy. This is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Put simply, the TCPA law means that a business may not send text messages to consumers without their consent. If you’ve ever filled out an online form that asked for your phone number or applied for one of those discount cards at a local store, you’ll have signed that consent unwittingly. That’s because it’s usually placed in those Terms and Conditions that none of us read (while we should).
Gaining consent is simple
If you’re an online business that wants to grow your text messaging subscriber base legally, you have a few options to gain consent.
- Paper subscriber form — this works best for on-site businesses and those that offer subscriber rewards and club cards.
- SMS text — Getting consent via SMS message also works. For example, you can ask to text back a short word like “JOIN” to your business number (xxx) xxx-xxxx.
Whatever option you choose, always give consumers a clear understanding of how to opt-out of business text messaging. A simple opt-out link is fine. This isn’t just basic politeness, but a law under the CAN-SPAM Act overlooking business text messaging marketing.
Business texting etiquette
One of the biggest turn-offs for business texting and SMS marketing is poor business texting etiquette. There’s no one in the world that wants to be bombarded with text messages. That’s because texting is still a rather private affair. Having a business inconsiderably intrude into this aspect of our lives usually reserved for friends and family feels rude.
How can you ensure that your business text messaging is polite? Don’t overlook these important guidelines.
- Provide value — the golden rule of business is also the golden rule of business text messaging. 80% of your business texts should provide important information to the client. This includes notifications about the order or service, important information, delays, service glitches, and customer service.
- Don’t overdo it — Customers should know that you value their privacy and will only contact them when important information needs to be read.
- Be concise — Most business text messaging services have a character count limit, but even if the app you’re using allows unlimited texting, keep your information, query, or offer brief and to the point. Not only is this good for your business texting etiquette, but it boosts your chances of the message being read in preview mode, even without opening the app.
How to choose a business texting app
These days there are countless business text messaging apps. Many look similar and are hard for the novice to tell apart since they all offer business text messaging. However, all of the apps fall into several categories, which we’ll take a look at right below, as well as the pros and cons of each tool.
Free text messaging apps
Text messaging apps like WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and Social Media DMs can all be used to text with clients. Since most of your customers own a smartphone with at least one of these apps downloaded, any kind of information can be communicated right there and then.
✅ Extremely popular texting apps, especially with millennials and GenZ
⛔️ Each text needs to be manually sent; need to check different apps throughout the day in order not to miss messages; older users and those with simpler mobile phone models are left out
SMS campaign tools
Tools like SimpleTexting, EZ Texting, and platforms like Sendinblue allow for easy texting campaigns to reach a great number of people at a time. Such tools are useful for marketers and sales professionals.
✅ SMS and MMS marketing campaigns, automated campaigns, reach to thousands of people at a time. Best for larger businesses in the food and hospitality industry, retail, and services.
⛔️ Worth the investment only if you plan on doing a lot of SMS/MMS marketing campaigns on a regular basis
Texting apps for customer service
Today we have quite a few text message “aggregators” that pull up all your SMS customer service interactions in one place. These include apps like Heymarket, Intercom, Freshdesk, and more. Most of these platforms are centered around teams, which means when a message from a customer is received, that message gets straight into your team’s feed in the app like Heymarket, and you delegate the response to any team member. The customer doesn’t need to download any special app. They send/receive messages as usual using their standard phone texting or a messaging app like Facebook.
✅ Easy for teams to view all business text messages in one feed, without the need to go through various apps
⛔️ Applicable only for teams who have a lot of customer service going on, otherwise not cost-effective
Virtual business phone system with text messaging
Virtual business phone systems like MightyCall offer business texting as part of their standard features. Each monthly plan comes with a text messaging feature that allows you to send text messages to clients straight from your business number. Using business texting paired with a feature like Business Contact Book allows your team to quickly text saved contacts from the same phone app where they make business calls.
✅ Teams can message clients from their business phone number (both toll-free and local); great for small businesses that use text messaging for informative communication and customer service; single platform for business calls and text messaging
⛔️ Not suitable for bulk marketing texts, such as promotions; text messages only, no MMS.
Business SMS messaging is the only communications tool that gives a business 90% certainty that their message was read. Even when the text isn’t read in the app, a person will 100% skim through it in the phone’s preview mode. No other tool gives a business the same odds of being heard.
What does this mean for your business? Primarily, that you have right here and now a great and underappreciated tool to build relationships with clients. Just remember that like every relationship, this one has got to be polite and consensual to provide maximum benefit and least stress to both parties. Which means that business texting etiquette should be your priority when interacting with clients via text messages.
And if you’d like a phone system that makes business texting for smaller businesses look professional and gives you the security and privacy of a toll-free or local number, learn more about business texting from MightyCall.