Texting for business has lots of benefits. You can reach your audience faster (within three minutes in most cases), you can be 98 percent sure they’ll see the message you sent, and you can start back-and-forth conversations that work wonders for customer relationships. And, of course, texting means closing sales faster.
To get these benefits, it may be tempting to start sending text messages to customers right away, from your personal phone number. After all, you use your phone for everything else, why not texting for business? Or maybe it’s not you, but your sales team that’s itching to start texting and feeling the need to use their phone number for the sake of getting started right away.
So, should you text customers from your personal phone? Probably not. Before you or your team send any of those texts, be warned: There are a number of reasons why texting customers from your personal phone number is a bad idea.
Phone numbers become available to the public
This may seem intuitive, but your employees might not realize what exactly they’re opening themselves up to if they use their personal phone for business interactions. Texting customers with their own phones puts them at risk of possible unwanted contact. When it comes to your business, you want the two-way channel to open up text conversations that are convenient and easy for customers. But that two-way communication can get too personal if it’s not done from a company number. You can ask yourself: Do I want customers to text my phone?
Texts and calls from customers can be an intrusion even when an employee is still at your company. Imagine one of your sales reps uses her personal number to get in touch with clients, but she has booked herself a week-long vacation to spend time with her family. Because she’s used her personal number, she gets texts and calls from customers while she’s away, constantly making her worry about work but not wanting to take time away from her family. It’s situations like these that highlight how using your personal number for business texts could compromise your work-life balance.
Personal phone numbers aren’t attached to your business
If your people are using their personal numbers to text customers, when they leave, that number goes with them. It will be hard for the contact to reach your company in the future, without going through a prior employee first. This creates communication barriers and hiccups for customers that could leave them confused and unsatisfied going forward.
Quick note: Using your personal phone is one thing. Using your personal phone number is something entirely different. You can use a text messaging software that lets your employees text customers from their personal phones. The text software (installed as an app on their phones) will send all messages from a dedicated business number so they don't have to use their own.
Lack of oversight, tracking, consistency
Sending messages from your personal number means no one else on the team can see what you write to customers. It can be a little disconcerting knowing that messages are being sent that you don’t know about. Instead, using a business texting solution that centralizes all the messages means you can see every text that goes out and comes in. Complete transparency.
Another issue that comes up with personal text messages to customers is a lack of tracking. Texting is an excellent way to get your customers engaged with your content or promotions, but if you can’t track your success, it can be hard to know what you’re doing right. Again, using a centralized text messaging solution built for businesses gives you visibility into opens, engagements, conversions, and lifetime value. Without the metrics, your sales and sms marketing efforts will remain haphazard and not optimized.
Lose control of customer satisfaction
Going back to our previous example of the sales rep who went on vacation, imagine she decided not to answer her calls or texts from customers because she was out of cell service range or she wanted to maximize her time away from work.
Except, if she texted customers from her phone number in the first place, and one of those customers has an urgent need to reschedule their demo meeting or confirm an appointment, the sales rep will miss it. Missing client messages in this way can not only damage your business relationship with a customer — you’re going for trust after all. But it can also create confusion and cause disruptions that leave the customer dissatisfied with your company overall.
The solution isn’t to force the sales rep to answer texts from customers she receives while she’s on vacation. The solution is to find a text messaging software that allows one employee to take a vacation, a personal day, a lunch break, and to know that any texts received to the business number will be answered by someone else on the team.
A centralized text messaging platform allows your employees to have the freedom of, well, being human while also making sure the customer is well taken care of.
There are legal risks
Suffice to say, when an employee texts a customer from a personal phone number, your business loses control over the content of those messages. Even if your customers are perfectly happy with the benign content of the messages they receive in this way, any violation of privacy or misuse of this contact information could be detrimental to you, legally speaking.
Should you text customers from your personal phone, or if you allow your employees to do it, that could open your customers up to abuses by your employees. This is not just a legal worry but an ethical concern as well. Even though you probably can’t imagine your staff using a customer’s contact information for personal reasons, it happens. It’s best not to take any chances, and use a platform that’s built for business to customer communication with centralized messages and complete visibility.
Here are some more articles you might be interested in:
How text messaging can improve the customer experience
The top 3 principles for communicating with customers in 2021
Here’s why everyone is adopting business text messaging
How to decide on the best text marketing software