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The 6 P's of Texting in Business

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It typically takes businesses several years to grasp trends their consumers find valuable. We're now seeing businesses implement texting as part of their everyday operations. It's taken awhile, but texting in business is becoming a standard.

SMS was first created way back in 1984, and we as consumers have been familiar with it for well over twenty years. In that time, it's gotten easier and easier to do. It's become a staple of the way we interact with each other. As always, there's been a gap between tech innovation and business implementation. But this gap is finally closing.

We know countless people are trying to figure out what exactly texting is good for, and how to manage it as an enterprise. These 6 P's of texting will help you, as they articulate what we've all experienced, and bring to light several benefits of texting in business.

1. Privacy

People text so they won't be overheard. You can be the most honest person in the world, and not want people listening in on your conversations. And that's perfectly alright! You have a right to privacy. Texting helps you exercise that right. Were you to take a phone call, you'd be thinking about the person in the room/cubicle/office next to you overhearing what you have to say.

If you're out and about - on the subway, walking around, in a restaurant - you don't want everyone hearing your private conversations. That's between you and the person you're communicating with. Plus, if someone outside your organization can be listening in, you're at risk of releasing confidential information. How's that for compliance?

Even during a meeting, you might want to text. This happens all the time! You're in a meeting with, say, ten people. You need to share something with only one of them, so you fire off a text. Texting is as private as conversations get in today's world. You have a right to that privacy. Any customers you work with deserve the privacy texting in business brings.

2. Permanence

Every now and then, for one reason or another, you need to look back at a text so-and-so sent you. (The same goes for email.) In a business setting, this kind of record keeping becomes exponentially more important. Particularly if you have some kind of dashboard or built-in compliance capability (like Text Request), the right people can see who said what to whom at what time. The permanence of texting in business is important for compliance, but it's also practical.

Most businesses have become accustomed to tracking and recording every conversation one of their employees has with a customer. Texting intrinsically has this function.  And if you do have a dashboard, one employee could also view conversations another employee had with another customer, as appropriate, such as in customer service or when handing a lead off from marketing to sales.

3. Power

Texting is the most powerful tool most businesses still aren't using. Before we get into the stats, just think about it. If you want to get in touch with any of your friends, how do you do it? You text. Need to quickly communicate with a coworker or colleague? You text. Schedule a time to meet someone? Text.

We text people for 101 reasons everydayThat's power. And that power comes from two things: how flexible texting is (for any reason you would communicate with a person, you could text them), and how much people do it (national average: 100+ texts a day, 99% open rate, 90 second response time).

Anytime you need to reach someone, you text them. To virtually guarantee that you'll reach a prospect or customer every single time is a need that cannot be overvalued in any business.

4. Preparation

This is big. When you're going to text someone, you can type, erase, type, edit - do whatever you want within that message before sending it. When you're talking face-to-face or on the phone, you can never edit your words. You can only say more. We've all had an experience (or 100) where we've spoken, and wished we could change what came out. Texting enables you to do just that.

In conjunction, most texts are also much shorter than, say, emails. Texting is concise whereas emails are typically verbose. Innate conciseness with the ability to edit content results in more efficient, streamlined communications for your business. That makes texting in business very appealing to a lot of people.

5. Politeness

Unless you are waiting hand and foot on one person over the age of 50 to share some elaborate story with you, there is not one situation where answering a phone call isn't disruptive to your day. About 20% of calls are answered. There's plenty of reasons for this, but the primary one is that people are active. They're busy. They don't want to take a call because they're working on something else and have no idea how big of a distraction will be on the other end.

Texting takes all of this in the opposite direction, which can be crucial for actually getting work done. When a call comes in or a person walks into another's office, there's either an inconvenient interruption, or someone goes ignored. Neither of these are good. But a text can be temporarily postponed without harming anyone.

The average response time for a text is 90 seconds, and 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent. This tells us two things: texts are minimally distracting, and are generally attended to as a person reaches a pause or stopping point in whatever they're working on.

People are busy. By texting, you let the recipient know that you need to communicate with them, but that you also value and respect their other duties. Texting in business is polite. That's huge for employees and customers.

6. Preference

You can look around and see that people prefer to text. But let's put the nail in the coffin. About 20% of calls are answered. About 20% of voicemails are listened to. In fact, larger corporations admit to wasting thousands of dollars every year on voicemail services that no one uses. About 30% of emails are opened, with an average response time ranging anywhere from 45 minutes to 48+ hours (depending on industry, department, interoffice, etc.).

Calls, emails, etc. are effective in their own right, but if you're comparing them to what people do and enjoy, there's no contest. With over 100 used a day, "sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50" (Gallup, 2014). People spend more time texting than on any other form of communication - including face-to-face or in-person communication. In fact, texting makes up 33% of all mobile usage.

We can go on. If you would like more research, here's 24 statistics that prove texting is the largest void in business communication.

People enjoy texting. We do! We text because conversations can be private. We text because it leaves us a record of conversations, even addresses and other details we need. We text because it's a powerful way to communicate. We text because it's polite and respectful of others, and of what duties they have. We text simply because it's how we prefer to interact with the world around us. Who wouldn't want all six of these characteristics to be part of their business?