Text messaging has become the norm for friends who want to make plans or discuss topics in an informal way. Whereas talking on the phone used to be the most common way to communicate with people remotely, messaging has become the norm for brief everyday communication.
But what does this mean for business communication? Are you still making phone calls to colleagues and business associates, leaving voicemail messages without knowing when, nor whether they will ever be heard? If so, there are many advantages to messaging you should consider.
First and foremost, messaging allows you to track conversations; many at a time for that matter. As the amount of information we all have to manage grows on a daily basis, having a record of communications allows you to free your mind for performing more demanding tasks, rather than trying to track previous conversations or managing cryptic notes from conversations with colleagues or customers. Having a record of your correspondence enables you to track and search for critical details, and refer to them as needed instead of trying to remember everything or scribbling down notes while talking on the phone.
Another advantage is that messaging allows your recipient to choose when to look at your message. While the immediacy of a phone call has certain advantages, too often in the business world, people are occupied and don’t necessarily have the luxury to drop everything they are doing when you call. The person you want to speak with may have a dozen other priorities competing for their attention at the moment you call. The last thing you want to do is annoy your client with something that can wait. This can lead to ignored and often forgotten phone calls.
If you are trying to communicate with an entire team about critical details, would you rather phone each and every one of them, or send a quick written message to everyone you’re working with? By sending a group message for business, you know for certain that everyone will get the exact same information and they will be able to refer to it when it’s most critical for them to perform their necessary functions. On top of that, you eliminate any chance of misinterpretation or the omission of details that could be the critical difference between meeting and missing a deadline. And to the extent something does go wrong, you have a record of exactly what was communicated to whom and when it was sent – good for protecting yourself against someone else’s fauxpas. This can have particular significance for businesses, be it manufacturing, sales, logistics or the delivery of products.
This logic also works in reverse. If you have clients or reportees who have questions or need information, would you rather have them call you, while you might be occupied, or send you a message that you can tend to with the proper attention at an appropriate time. What if a customer asks you a question and you don’t have the complete response prepared during the phone call? It could make you look unprepared. If you receive the request in a message however, you have time to research the issue and prepare the perfect response.
Furthermore, if you’re still relying on phone communication, you could end up playing “phone tag” with your most important client, while trying to juggle numerous pressing issues.
Additionally, messaging will help you minimize the extraneous topics that sometimes get introduced on the phone when you really want to focus on one specific issue. When speaking with a colleague or supervisor, you may have a solitary concern but your phone conversation can get diluted with less relevant details. With messaging, you not only stay on the topic you most need to address, you also have the ability to copy and forward information to others in a seamless manner and to include only the people who need the information you’re discussing. Messaging also allows you to attach significant documents that you could never fully communicate over the phone.
By taking advantage of messaging for business communication, you will make yourself more efficient and more reliable. You will decrease the risk of miscommunicating or omitting important business information and make it easier for your team to succeed.