Should you send a client a text message? Straight up I don’t have the answer at all, but I am curious to hear your thoughts. I have just sent out a Twitter Poll as well to get some feedback there.

Here are my two schools of thought:

Is it too personal?

I originally have always fallen into this camp, that a text message is a little too personal unless you really do have a close relationship and you know that outside of your business setting. I feel that a text message is a personal communication channel and one where I expect to receive messages from friends and family. You could argue that permission has been implied by them having your mobile number in the first place and therefore means they can contact you via that number regardless of the format?  Text messages are normally short and sharp and get to the point. This has not stopped people from sending messages that pretty much an email just sent in a text message.

Is there a point in a business relationship where it is acceptable and if so what is that point or where is that line?

One part of my concern with sending clients text messages is that exact line and lack of clarity if it is acceptable or not? I think there could be some people that would be confused if they got a text message regardless of how well you know them or how long you have known them.

It is a line that I see that I honestly have no idea if I am the only person seeing this line?

Or am I making too much of nothing?

I am very happy to concede that I just might be making something out of nothing? Is it just another format, another way of communicating? You could also throw mobile apps into this. Some feedback I have just received from a few people is that it is also absolutely fine to use apps like WhatsApp and Facebook to communicate with your clients. Maybe the lines between the channels are blurring and if it is available to use then it’s implied you can send messages via than channel.

Some of the other feedback I have been getting is quite interesting in the use cases such as sending pictures via mobile and via apps. And interesting enough every response I have got has been that it is acceptable or at least depending on the relationship it is.

It does makes sense in general from a communication stand point as in many cases people hate getting phone calls. If you think about it they are rather disruptive and stops you doing what whatever you were doing to respond the needs of the person calling. A message of some kind means people can respond when they are ready. This is when people follow the message with a call to chase up the response from the message.

The Problem

We have so little time today and we live an expect an on-demand experience in everything we do. I get frustrated when the toaster is taking too long or the kettle is taking forever to boil. We no longer want to wait to wait for anything. Even when sending out a message we want and expect an instant response. I wonder if we use messaging apps and text messages because they go straight to the person and right onto a device that we know they are going to see the message? Even now people will get the messages on their smart watches.

The Challenge

Because it is a more personal channel I wonder if it can be a challenge to manage the “line” Some feedback I have just got is that keeping a professional distance can be a challenge when using personal channels. I think this is where I do have concerns but again comes down to where the “line” is and how well you know your clients.

So after reading back the responses i have got while writing this post I thinks the bottom line is, it is ok to use any of the digital channels to communicate with your clients providing you set the expectation and you feel you know them well enough that they will be accepting of receiving a personal communication from you.

I have no doubt I have missed lots of really valid points in this post as I have been jumping back and forth getting feedback and therefore will continue to update this post. If you have any thoughts please let me know in the comments and I will be sure to add them to the post.

*Update: Thank you so much for everybody who has helped me get some real feedback on this. Some brilliant responses have come back and I do see some trends coming through.

  1. Texting clients is fine and it seems most if not everybody does it.
  2. Using texts for short updates, confirmations or reminders is in fact very useful.
  3. Getting their permission and establishing preferred methods of communication is key .

Thanks everybody