Before You Hit Send Please Consider...

James Martin
james@rallycorp.com
My pet peeve when it comes to organizations texting people

I had two experiences recently that reinforced our product development direction at Rally. So much so, in fact, I made it a point to talk about them with my team. Now, I'd like to share them with you.

They went something like this.

A few weeks ago, I started getting marketing texts from a leadership development group that I'm part of announcing recent updates to their blog. At first, I was a little annoyed because, while I'm sure they've had my permission in the past, it has been a while.

A friendly and straightforward message from someone on their end would have been nice, especially if they started a new communications initiative. Something like this, perhaps?

"Hey, James. We are going to start sending updates via text. Want to get them (1 to 2 a month tops)? — Reply, yes, no, or with any comments and questions. — Yours truly, Mary in Marketing."

I would have said yes and might have even asked about the upcoming conference. I had a task to call them about it, in fact, but never did (that's another story).

Now, to add insult to injury, after getting a few of these text messages, I had another crap-I' m-outta-here experience. One of these blog posts posed a question, and that is how the message came across my phone. So, being the smarty-pants I am, I figured I'd respond to the author using the same method he used to reach me. I just replied with my answer.

Guess what happened? Yup… nothing. Crickets! That didn't feel right, and it wasn't the experience I'd expect from their brand (or at least not for what I was paying in membership fees). So, I promptly unsubscribed as it was clearly a one-sided "conversation."

The second experience related to a recent trip to my dentist

The night before my scheduled cleaning, I received a text reminder about the appointment, which was expected and easy enough. The following morning I was running a bit late, so I replied to the text, letting them know. When I arrived, I told the receptionist I had sent a text. She had no idea what I was talking about, and they never got my message. Frustrating.

So what are the takeaways?
  • If you are going to add people to a texting campaign, make sure you not only have their permission but make it personal and conversational. It never hurts to get their approval again at the moment, especially if you are starting a campaign for the first time or restarting after awhile.
  • Always always always put a human on the other end. Please don't make it one-sided! If you are concerned about doing this at "scale", you are using the wrong solution.
  • Make the experience timely, relevant, and helpful, as if your customer is texting with an old friend. Most people will enjoy using text messaging as a means to get updates and connect with you. Provided, of course, it benefits them too.

Text messaging is a great way to stay engaged with people. Research shows that 99% of text messages are read and a whopping 90% within just 3 minutes. That's amazing! When done right, it can go a long way toward creating a better experience. But as with anything, never forget the Golden Rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Before sending that automated message, ask yourself this...

"Is this helpful, relevant, and personal?" and "are we ready and able to respond if someone replies?" If the answer is no, PLEASE don't hit send.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Am I wrong here? Let's connect. Send JAMES to 24-365 for my vCard (includes all my contact info) or schedule a time to chat with a member of our team here.