When you interact with a customer in person, you conduct yourself with a certain amount of decorum. You try to be punctual, you mind your P’s and Q’s, and you refrain from talking with a mouth crammed full of food.

After all, you’re in the hospitality industry and being hospitable is the name of the game. And this involves being polite.

It is, however, equally important to follow the rules of etiquette for written communications too. And, yes, this includes avoiding some big faux pas when sending group text messages.

Thankfully, group texting etiquette is much less complicated.And there’s much less silverware to clean.

Here are a few ways to ensure that your business engages in proper group texting etiquette.

Be Invited First

If there is one “golden rule” that must be observed when sending group texts, it is that by law you must first secure your customer’s consent. They must “opt in.” Once they have opted in, it is expected that your company will be contacting them. You have, in effect, been invited to engage them in conversation.

Don’t Be a Pest

Now that your customer has invited you to contact them, the last thing you want to do is make them regret this decision. And one sure-fire way to make them “opt out” faster than you can utter “anti-disestablishmentarianism” is to become a pain in the fanny. Start off by sending one text message per week to test the waters. Then, as “11 Group Text Messaging Best Practices for Nonprofits” recommends, let your open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates guide the frequency of your future group text messaging campaigns.

Be of Use

Before pressing the “send” button, make sure that your message has value for the customer. Does it fill a need, entertain, inform, or move them to take action? If it fails to meet any of these criteria, what is the point of the message? Your texts need to be timely and relevant. And you don’t ever want to waste your recipient’s time or data plan.

Don’t Always have Your Hand Out

While your overall goal may be to make a sale and increase your profits, you do not want to be constantly asking your customer to reach into their wallets. In order to foster customer loyalty, you need to cultivate a relationship with them. And all relationships involve some “give” and not just “take.”

4 Great Ways to Use Bulk Text Messaging for the Holidays” reminds businesses that a warm greeting can set you apart from the competition and that by providing a link to a family-friendly video clip, recipes, craft ideas, or other tips, you can get customers thinking about your business without seeming too promotional.

Watch the Clock

There is nothing worse than being awakened by the sound of your phone chirping, whistling, beeping, or vibrating in the middle of the night. If it’s a close friend who has been on a bit of a bender, you are likely to forgive them. Eventually. But, if it’s a text from a restaurant offering you a discount on wings, you will likely call them in the morning and use some Yosemite Sam-like language–followed by opting out of their text message program.

Make sure that you look at the clock before sending out any text messages. And, don’t forget to keep differing time zones in mind too. As anyone in the hotel industry will tell you, well-rested people make much happier customers.

By treating your customers as you’d like to be treated, you really can’t go wrong. Always be respectful, put your clients’ needs ahead of your own, and always use your best manners–even when sending a group text message.

If you’d like to learn more about putting text messaging to use in your business, you’ll want to check out “How Text Marketing Provides New Opportunities.”

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer, avid blogger, and text messaging-addicted social media fanatic who wonders what the difference is between a “fish fork” and a “seafood fork” and why anyone would need both. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

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