Everybody texts these days… even your eighty year old granny. And the truth is, you’d rather scrub toilets in a boys’ bathroom by hand than have to actually call a client. So of course it’s not your fault that you’ve considered texting your clients. Or (gasp!), you’re already guilty of doing so. We don’t blame you. The temptation to text clients is so strong. So if you need a few good reasons not to text clients, don’t worry, we’ve got five for you!
Texting gives clients way too much access to us. We live in a world where people expect us to respond to texts within minutes and at all hours of the day and night. Text messages interrupt our daily life a hundred times a day. Whether we’re in the middle of an important project or dinner with our family, we deserve a respite from interruptions. Communication with clients should be done during business hours only, by email or phone call. So if you’re answering emails or calling clients after business hours, you’re busted. We can still be friends, but it’s time to make that change right now.
Texting clients isn’t professional. You’ve worked so hard to get everything in your business in order, because you’re not just a hobby photographer anymore, you do this for a living (even if it’s only part time). When you start calling yourself a professional photographer, it’s oh-so-important that you act professional at all times. Texting is quick and easy, but we need to pay attention to detail in our communication. Emailing clients requires us to focus on proper grammar and spelling, includes our professional email signature and hopefully doesn’t include any abbreviations like “thx”, “ttyl” or “gr8”.
There’s so much room for miscommunication in a text message. We’ve all been in a situation where we got our feelings hurt or we hurt someone else’s feelings with a text message. And more often than not, it was all a miscommunication. It can be hard to read tone in any written communication, but this is especially true for text messages. Because texting is supposed to be quick and easy, we cut corners in our messaging. Trust us when we say cutting corners in client communication is not something you want to do! And if you want to truly make sure all your bases are covered and there is no room for miscommunication, make sure you check out our Portrait Studio Policies for Success guide. It’s got everything you need to make all your policies crystal clear.
You can’t archive text messages in the same way that you can archive emails. Documenting communication is such an important part of running a business and the great thing about email is that it’s so easy to archive. Text messages, on the other hand, disappear after awhile or get lost completely if you get a new phone. Without a written record of your conversations, you could be left wondering if you did indeed promise a client you’d have those photos edited on the Monday after their wedding. And that, my friends, would be a terrible thing to wonder.
Texting doesn’t help you build solid client relationships the way calling someone does. Remember when you were in middle school and you spent hours on three-way calling with your two best friends? Those hours on the phone helped cultivate your relationship… and even though you don’t want to be best friends with your clients, having a solid relationship with them can only be good for your business. You can learn a lot about someone in just five minutes on the phone. But don’t just take our word for it, try it out yourself.
So, now that we’ve told you all the reasons not to text your clients, we feel pretty confident that you’ve seen the light. But what happens when your clients text you? Because odds are good that it will happen sooner or later… or often. The best thing you can do when clients text you is to redirect and retrain them. It’s just like teaching your cat not to claw at your couch, only much easier.
When clients text, send a message back letting them know you’re happy they contacted you, but to please email you instead. Make sure you follow up with their email during business hours. We recommend setting up an autoresponder that informs clients about your business hours and your policy of returning emails during business hours. If you need help getting these things in order, you’ll love our Studio Email Assistant.
Over time, when you refuse to respond to text messages, your clients will get the picture (pun intended?) and keep their communication where it belongs… to email and phone calls only. You’ll maintain your professional image and never have to choose texting with a client over snuggling with your kids on Saturday mornings.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.