Texting your clients, Yes or No?

Recently I’ve noticed a trend mostly with solo practitioners that they tend to communicate with clients purely by text. So I reached out and asked the community how they felt about texting with clients and I’ve had some interesting responses.

Why did it become an issue?

So i’m obviously sharing my own opinion here, there is no right or wrong answer to this. At the end of the day, whatever tool makes it easiest for your client to schedule themselves with you, is the best tool to use. There’s just something about texting for me that feels a little intrusive.

Most mobile phone users have a deep connection with their phone, it has become another part of our bodies and is with us almost 24 hrs a day.
From a client perspective, I feel that receiving business related text, unless initiated by me, is almost like having those darn PPI calls coming through or having a door to door sales person show up just as your sitting down to dinner.

Our mobile phones are very personal, and unless we are invited in, I don’t think it’s a great way to communicate with clients.
It’s also a short form of communication and so much can be inferred or misconstrued in a text, when it may be more suitable for longer forms such as email, or even a phone conversation.

 

So when is texting ok?

As suggested above, I feel that if the conversation is started by the client, or the client has given explicit permission to be contacted by text message then by all means, go ahead. I know as the years go by i’ve picked up a bit of a phone phobia and for a lot of occasions prefer to communicate via text than talk on the phone, so it’s possible some of your clients fall into this category.

So as long as you have permission, and/or the client has triggered the start of the conversation by text, I think its perfectly acceptable.

If do text with your client base regularly here is a handy guide on texting etiquette.

When is texting not ok?

If you are discussing any specific details about the clients treatments, or information that would go on their consultation notes, this shouldn’t be done via texting.
Any conversations that may contain sensitive information about the client should be done either over the phone or more preferably, in person.

From the therapists side:

Here is where texting can get complicated, when we are discussing boundaries as a therapist.
Sure we can tell clients “I’ll be available on this number from 10am-8pm Monday-Thursday”.
However clients can and will text you or call you whenever it’s convenient for them, not necessarily for you.
If you have one mobile phone that you use for everything this can then blur the lines between work and personal time.
You wouldn’t want important rest or family time interrupted by pings from clients checking appointment times or asking for some quick advice about a recent injury or pain.

In an ideal world we would have a separate phone for business and personal.
When you are just starting out though,  this may not always be possible.

So what do you think?
How much do you text with your clients?
Are there any situations I may have missed when texting is more appropriate?

Leave a comment and let us know your opinion!