On average, a text message gets read about three minutes after it's received. Texting has become an integral part of life. It is also becoming an essential business tool.

Communication with text messaging can help you stay connected when you need it most. Communication is most important during times of crisis. Your customers and team members need reassurance. They also may need to have important questions answered. Or they may simply need someone to talk to.

An in-depth conversation may take more time and effort than you have. A call could also interrupt the recipient's day. But a text message can keep you connected while maintaining meaningful communication.

During a crisis like the coronavirus epidemic, it can be easy to get caught up in the panic. The same may happen to your customers. Reaching out to them via text can help them stay grounded. Also, even if you're only checking in, your customers may appreciate the gesture. The same is true for employees and other team members.

Here are some ways you can convey what you need to with the right text message.

The Value of Connecting Remotely

The days of business hinging on one physical location are evaporating into the past. Thanks to mobile communication, business—and life—is on the move. One of the best ways to stay connected in this environment is through a text message.

Using a text messaging service for business while on the go is simple and quick. Also, your recipient doesn't have to stop what they're doing to get your message. Even if the person you're reaching out to is "busy," they can still take a few moments to check your message.

Get the Right Message Across at the Right Time

Many people wonder what to say in a text, especially during times of crisis. In the end, it depends on your goal. Certain sentiments are more fitting than others and the timing is critical. If you already have a connection with the recipient, your text can be less formal. You don't have to use full sentences or worry about formal verbiage.

For example, you can check in with a simple, "Hey, everything OK? I heard the COVID-19 outbreak reached your area." There's no need to introduce yourself or include a preamble to the core of your message.

If you are still developing a rapport with the person, an introduction may be appropriate. For instance, you could say, "Hi, this is Jim from XYZ company. I just wanted to check in because I heard the outbreak reached your area. Everything alright?"

You can also vary the text message based on the form of texting you use. With integrated communication tools, there are several you can choose from. Here are some of the most effective:

1-to-1 Texting

Texting between two people is often associated with casual conversation. But it can be an effective business tool. Keep in mind that business is all about relationships. Communication is the foundation of a relationship. You can stay connected with the right business text messaging tool at the right time.

A text message between you and a client can be a way of conveying genuine concern. In effect, you're telling the client they're on your mind and that you see them as more than a source of income.

Bulk Texting

When you have to convey the same message to a large group, bulk messaging may be the answer. Sending a bulk message doesn't have to feel insensitive. In some cases, each recipient may not even know they are part of a larger group. Even if they do, that could also be a positive thing for your brand as a leader. Good leaders communicate with efficiency. A text message to stay connected can exemplify strong leadership.

In a time of crisis, bulk texting can be a powerful team-building tool. For example, if you want to check in with your team about how they're handling the crisis, a quick bulk message can:

  • Express your concern for everyone
  • Offer help to those affected
  • Provide advice or guidelines that may help ease their concerns
  • Forward official safety notices
  • Provide updates about the progress of the situation
  • Arrange a meeting time or make a quick change to the time or place of a meeting that was already arranged

1-Way Texting

A text message to stay connected doesn't always need a reply. One-way texting helps you get the message out while avoiding a pile of replies. When deciding whether to use 1-way texting, consider the following questions:

  • Does the message include or imply a query? For example, if you say, "We want to check that everyone is OK during this crisis," a query is implied. You're not asking a direct question, but it sounds like you want information
  • Would it be better to get replies? Often, a reply, even a simple "OK," may strengthen the communication. In that case, 1-way texting may not be the best choice
  • Will you save valuable time if you avoid a lot of incoming messages? This is where 1-way texting can shine. You can convey concern without having to stop your busy day to field the replies

2-Way Texting

Two-way text messages, especially during a crisis, can help make lemonade out of lemons. Think of your customers or team members as people in need of reassurance. You can't solve all problems, but you can help address those that affect your relationship. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by offering a listening "ear" with a thoughtful question.

To get someone to open up, it's best to ask questions that need more than a yes or no answer.

For example, you may not want to ask, "Are you OK?" It may be better to say, "What are some of the things you and your family are dealing with?" When they respond, you can show you value the input and act on it. You can provide help, tips or more questions to show you're interested.

API Calling and Text Messages

An application programming interface (API) calling gives you the ability to automate certain aspects of your communications. You can use an API to place calls under specific conditions. For example, the API can place a call when the recipient is ready. It can also integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. APIs can also help you stay connected by sending a text message.

They can be useful for marketing campaigns if you need to distribute information. In times of disruption, text messages generated through an API can keep employees updated. Also, if they have to stay inside, they can be useful tools for helping employees stay connected.

Text Messaging and the 8x8 Solution

With 8x8 Business SMS, you can:

  • Send and receive up to 160-character messages to and from your 8x8 extension
  • Type and read messages directly from your desktop, laptop computer or mobile device
  • View message history

During a time of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic that the world is grappling with right now, texting can help you stay connected with those who matter most. 8x8's text messaging apps make connecting easier, quicker and more flexible. You can send and receive texts when and where you want, using whatever device is most convenient.

Ready for the Next Step?

Contact an 8x8 solutions expert to learn more about how one system of engagement that integrates phone, meetings, team messaging and contact center capabilities can lower costs and improve customer service. Call 1-866-879-8647 or visit 8x8.com.