We live in an ever changing world. It used to be companies invested a ton of money in customer service lines staffed by entire departments of employees waiting to on bated breath to answer client calls.

Well, things are changing. While the need for customer service representatives still exist, the need for every client interaction to be handled over the phone or email, does not.

Stepping into take its place is messaging. As we have noted in previous 7 Reasons to Message Customers, B2C and C2B messaging enables clients/shoppers to:

  1. Contact and communicate with a business conveniently
  2. Experience personal shopping
  3. To find new products with the help of an employee
  4. To handle routine payment interactions and refunds

With all the advantages messaging brings to the table, what are the new rules to 'texting' etiquette? Here are some guidelines.

1. Understand Your Audience

Remember, on both sides, you’re not talking to a friend, a robot, a family member or a new crush you grabbed some beers with on Friday night.

Business SMS

Above all else, in-app messaging, desktop messaging or SMS is still a business transaction wherein the client aims to achieve a goal and the customer service representative aims to provide that goal with a great attitude.

2. Hey There, I'm Jack

Introductions. We only get one shot at them.

How you introduce yourself to the client over UX storytelling should be formal but not too formal. Your tone matters (more to come on that in our next post).

As the medium of communication has changed, SMS lingo is a bit more casual than email correspondence or customer service telephone conversations.

When saying hello to a client, be simple, be to the point and be friendly:

Don’t overthink it.

3. You’re There to Help, Not to Push

As a customer service representative (or a bot posing as one), you are there to help the customer reach their end goal. This means you are there to help them with any questions, concerns or problems they might have without pushing them into a purchase they have no interest in.

The best example of what not to do is traditional phone providers like Comcast. If the client wants to upgrade their Internet service, help them do so yet avoid trying to push them into upgrading their land line phone plans or their cable package.

Be helpful, and keep it short and simple for the best customer experience.

4. Lead On

Now, typing can take time. And you want to keep your reader engaged in the conversation until his or her problem or request is solved. Instead of writing paragraphs of text, insert line breaks into your communication to let the client know another bit of information is on the way.

Treat does this well.

And when the conversation is over, bring it a close with a proper "good bye" or, to speak to the next line of communication, something like "Til' next time" or "Let me know if you need anything else!".

5. Manners Never Hurt Anyone

Please say please and thank you. Use your manners. Your mother will be proud.

6. LOL. JK? OMG! WTF!

No.

Abbreviations are common form for SMS. Abbreviations like LOL, JK or BRB are expected yet don’t cross the line. Remember, this is a client you are talking to. Would it be appropriate to say the long form of “WTF” during a phone conversation with that customer? Uh, no.

As such, don’t abbreviate it.

7. Proof

If you are using SMS to reply to messages, proof before sending. SMS messaging has a funny way of autocorrecting common phrase and words to phrases and words which make no sense in the natural flow of conversation. While you might have meant to write:

“Great. The plum duck is a great color for your rug.”

The last thing you want to unknowingly write is:

“Great. The plum f*#k is a great color for your mug."

Proof before sending.

8. DON'T TYPE IN CAPS & Don't Over Emphasis

"HI THERE!! SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PURCHASE!!"

Don't do that. Ever.

9. Emoji's

Emoji’s are common parlance within messaging. Can you use emoji’s to interact with customers? Sure. Nothing wrong with a smiley face when the client makes a cool purchase.

But watch it. Again, tone. While you might think it’s funny to send a red devil emoji while helping a client make a major refund, we’re pretty sure it won’t be enjoyed on the other end.

B2C SMS Etiquette

10. Don't Waste Your Client's Time

Finally, don’t waste your client’s time and realize they might be on a fully different schedule than you. Business B2C messaging is about quickness and ease. Customers love it because it allows for easy and quick help that doesn’t include lame holding music.

Be helpful, be succinct and be to the point. While this is your job, your customer just wants to get in, get out and move on.

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In short, business messaging should be simple, quick, informative and a bit less formal. Help your customers find what they want, when they want it, how they want it with a friendly, helpful tone.

To learn more about the growing ecosystem of messaging, head on over to Smooch.io. Our reps will be happy to message you about effective messaging strategies for your business.

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