Communication is pretty important to a functioning office, wouldn’t you say? You can encourage, collaborate, problem solve, sell and more with simple communications throughout the day. But you probably haven’t thought much about how you can accomplish all these things through text message.
Why should you?
Because 81% of executives already support texting for work, and because texting’s the most requested channel for business communication. Let me show you a few examples of when you can text at work, and how you can keep those texts professional.
1. Send employees quick words of encouragement.
I’m always impressed by what progress can be made when you’re intentional. And when you’re intentional about motivating and encouraging your coworkers, great things happen.
Where does texting fit?
There are ample opportunities. When someone is performing well, handles a situation well or does anything else noteworthy, you can send them a quick text. For example:
“Congrats on the new account! You’re killin’ it!”
“Thanks for taking care of that customer while I was out. Much appreciated.”
“I admire your tenacity through all this. Keep it up.”
It also works in group settings:
“Team, we’re 96% of the way to our goal. We can do this! Any ideas for getting over the line? I’ll take everyone to lunch if (when) we do.”
Texting is not going to replace all your face-to-face conversations, but a quick thank you or congrats text is a good way to strengthen those around you.
2. Schedule interviews (and other meetings).
Texting is great for scheduling. You probably get a confirmation text every time you’re supposed to go to the dentist. But there are more options – like during the hiring process.
Let’s say you get an applicant, but you want to avoid phone tag. The average response time for a text is only 90 seconds, so you can quickly set up a phone call or face-to-face interview. For example:
“Hey Jeremy, this is Linda at [Company]. Do you have time for a phone interview tomorrow afternoon? Let me know, thank you.”
You can also text to set up meetings with coworkers:
“Do you have twenty minutes today to go over [this thing]?”
Or with clients:
“Karen, I’ve got an update for you, let me know when you have a minute to talk through it. Thanks.”
Texting is a flexible tool, and it’ll be very effective for your organization if you give it room.
3. Grow your subscriber list.
Email is not dead, but it’s not exactly thriving. Constant Contacts reports that the average email open rate is only about 16%. That’s really low, but it’s okay, because you can complement your email subscriber list with text subscribers.
How does that work?
People will opt in to texts from your business just like they opt into emails. A lot of people would rather get a text than another email, anyway. Also, 99% of texts are read.
You’ve got options here, too, but the most direct way to grow your subscribers is through keywords. If you’re a retailer, for example, you could create a keyword for SOCHARM, and say:
“Text SOCHARM to 423.760.3730 for 20% off today’s purchase (and future discounts)!”
Customers text to opt in, and you can send them immediate and future discounts. Or let’s say you’re a member organization. You could say:
“Text CHAMBER to 423.756.2121 to stay up-to-date on all things Chattanooga business!”
Then text your subscribers your newsletter. It’s a great option to add innovation to your brand and increase engagement.
4. Make company communications more customer-friendly.
Did you know that about 90% of people want to text a business for sales and customer service? That’s significant. Most people probably find your website from their smartphones, too, so why not let them text you?
Text messaging and picture messaging can be added to your office phone number(s). And when customers text in, those message can go to a shared dashboard for employees to respond as their able.
There are even click-to-text and SMS live chat options, so viewers can either click a button or fill out a short form to text you. (Your replies would go back to their cell phones.)
Companies and other organizations are often so caught in what communications they can push out that they neglect how their audience might want to communicate with them. For inbound communications, texting is a great option.
5. Pass out office memos and updates.
Sometimes you need to share an update with one person, or two dozen or 5,000. Sure, you can send an email, post it in the break room or add it to a Slack channel. But perhaps the most effective way to make sure that note is seen is to text it.
(Don’t worry, you can send BCC texts – or broadcasts – so a thousand people don’t create a chaotic group thread.)
You might text to update employees about holiday office hours, to tell a group that maintenance is coming by or that so-and-so is going to be out for a few days. You can share quick updates with customers, too. Texting’s just a good way to get the word out.
What do we do with this information?
Take it back to your team. Talk about how you can address text messaging in the workplace, and if needed, set some ground rules for when it is and is not okay to text. (Those decisions will be specific to your organization.)
If you decide you want to text professionally with customers or employees, and that you want the business to own or have access to those messages, then you’ll want to look into a company texting service.
At the very least, though, you can text to encourage and motivate, and to tee up office meetings. That’ll make your office life a little better.