Is it Okay for Clients to Text a Professional Service Provider?

In my writeup about tax season, I wrote, not particularly tongue-in-cheek, about the annoyances of getting incessant text messages from clients.

Dawn Mentzer at the Insatiable Solopreneur website picked up on this part of my post and did her own blog post, titled “3 Ways Texting with Clients Can Hurt Your Business.”

Dawn’s post covers all of my concerns about texting but I wanted to add some more thoughts.

Not All Texting is Bad Texting

A lot of my clients read this blog, so I want to clarify something: I am not opposed to ALL text messages from clients.

If it’s a simple question, like a business client wanting me to remind them of how much they can put into their SEP account, that’s fine. In this case, a text may even be easier than a call or an e-mail.

If it’s something short, like wanting to know if it’s okay to call right now, or to say they’re running late to a meeting, that’s fine, too.

But there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

One line is: texting with questions about how a tax return is coming.

A second line is: when you’ve received a notice from the IRS and you take a picture of the notice and text it to me and expect me to be able to decipher the notice and make it all better just from the tiny, grainy, off-kilter photo you texted.

The first one, in particular, blows my mind. My answer is always “it’s in process. I will let you know when it’s done or if I have questions.”

I can’t possibly give more detail than that in a text, so it’s a mystery to me why clients feel compelled to text “r u done w r txs yet?” over and over and over again.

The single best way to ensure timely completion of your tax return or other work I’m doing for you IS TO LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME WORK.

(Can you tell that I still haven’t recovered from my tax season punchiness?)

In Closing

I have found that ignoring the texts doesn’t work (or at least, it didn’t in my case). Ignoring the texts just made those clients text the same thing again later.

But the single greatest piece of advice in Dawn’s blog post: you’re in control. (With “you” being the business owner plagued by texts from clients.)

This is something I remind myself of often. This is MY business and I am in control.

I have a hard time with that. Read my posts about pricing (as in my post from Tuesday) and you’ll see I have a very hard time with the concept of me being in control.

Much more to come.