Are People Texting Your Business Line?

Text messaging is a crucial avenue for engagement and communication.
Young people sending text messages

Are People Texting Your Business Line?

We live in a culture where more and more people are choosing text messaging over actual phone calls, and that includes when they’re reaching out to businesses. When they see a business phone number listed, they send a text message instead of placing a call.

There are many reasons why a potential customer could be doing this. Maybe it’s more convenient for them to send a text message. Maybe texting is their preferred method of communication, either because of their social comfort level or because of a disability. For members of a younger generation, they never grew up in a world where text messaging was not an option, so it doesn’t even occur to them that a phone number would exist exclusively for voice calls.

All of this is to say: Text messaging is a crucial avenue for engagement and communication. Because what actually happens when a customer goes to text your business line and the text message doesn’t actually go through?

Let’s break down this scenario, what it means for your business, and how you can fix it.

The Missed Connection

Let’s take a look at this scenario in detail: A prospective customer finds your business contact information either listed on your website or on printed material like a brochure or business card. There’s a phone number listed there, and because texting is such a prevalent means of communication in 2024, they assume that’s an option with this phone number. They shoot off a text message to your business number saying, “Hi, I’d like more information.”

Unfortunately, your business phone line isn’t set up to receive text messages. When somebody texts your business number, the text messages don’t come through to you — and the worst part is that there’s no auto-reply coming from your phone service either. So the potential customer’s phone number is lost in cyberspace, and they don’t even get so much as a bounceback message saying, “This message could not be delivered.”

In a worst-case scenario, this potential customer assumes they are being ignored. They move on to one of your competitors, and you don’t even know that you lost a business opportunity there.

Why did this happen? For members of an older generation, this might sound like an unfair assumption. Not every phone number is set up to receive text messages, so why would a potential customer just assume it’s okay to text? But the reality is that texting is a ubiquitous and legitimate communication method these days. In many cases, it’s preferable to a phone call because it’s quick and convenient. It’s something that’s easy to do when we’re busy multitasking in our day-to-day lives.

You can’t stop younger generations from defaulting to text messages. But you can set up your business to be able to handle them, thus protecting your reputation from the idea that you ignore customers or handle communications poorly.

Making your business text accessible

Part of a modern telecommunications service is setting up your business with a text-enabled phone line. Once you’ve done that, you can start advertising this option alongside your phone number. When you say “Call or text” before listing your phone number, you’re making it clear to even those people who are unsure that texting is an option — and it’s an option that many of them will likely appreciate!

A few important points to keep in mind once you start advertising a texting-enabled phone number:

  • There will be an expectation of prompt response. Even if you can’t have a member of your team reply 24/7, you can set up an automated message or a chatbot to resolve simple problems or let people know when they can expect to hear back from somebody.
  • You may need to train your staff about proper texting etiquette. Because texting is often a much more casual means of communication than a phone call, it’s easy to blur the line between professionalism and unprofessionalism. If you don’t want your team members using excessive abbreviations, for example, you need to lay those rules out.
  • Remember that it’s easy for tone to get misread via text. Remind your team to be overly polite and thorough in their responses. Something as small as a smiley face emoji can indicate to the customer that your team is being friendly with them.
  • Monitor the success rate of text communications. If you find that texting isn’t working for you as well as you hoped, you can leave your lines texting-enabled so that you don’t miss a potential interaction, but you can stop advertising the texting option so that people will consider reaching out via phone or email.

At Office Phones Plus, our goal is to make sure you have access to all the telecommunications services that will benefit your business. Reach out to us today by calling (410) 834-4900.