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Texting 101

7 risks of business texting from a personal device

Nina Godlewski
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Depending on your business size, you might be wondering why you can’t just simply text your customers from your personal cell phone or device when you want to get in touch with them, but there are hidden risks to this.

Texting is quick, convenient, has a high response rate, and can help boost your business success, but only when it’s done properly.

You’re probably familiar with texting if you have a smartphone of your own, or if you have Apple products, using iMessage on your laptop or other Apple device. But if business texting is done without going through the proper channels or by taking some shortcuts, you might find yourself losing customers or potentially facing legal consequences.

We’re going to cover some of the risks of business texting from a personal device, risks that apply to any business, no matter the size or the customer base.

Why you should use a business texting platform

To be clear, we aren’t trying to say you shouldn’t business text. The opposite, in fact, you most definitely should be using business texting, but you should be using it the proper way.

Business texting can offer your business so much. Some of the benefits Textline helps its customers attain are:

Illustrated phone with smiley face emoji

All of this should be convincing enough to implement business texting. But it’s more complicated than just grabbing your customer’s number and shooting them a text from your personal phone.

Benefits of a business texting platform

The best way to business text is to use a business texting platform. Texting platforms like Textline have built-in features to help you safely text with security at the forefront of your messaging.

Platforms allow you to keep your texts in a centralized place and to access them on a desktop computer or in an app. Your agents have accounts where they can log in and use the platform during their shift, then log out so they aren’t conducting any communications outside of work. Textline allows users to collaborate as a team and share conversation background when necessary or applicable. It also offers a full history of communications with customers or clients so that managers can see the history like they would with calls or emails.

Plus, platforms come with helpful features like “Announcements” for sending bulk or mass messages, conversation claiming so you know who’s working on what conversations, “whispers” so your employees can communicate privately about texting conversations, MMS or photo texting, and many more features.

Here are 7 risks of using a personal phone for business texting

Let’s take a look at all the features you might need with business texting that texting from a personal phone can’t offer you.

No oversight of what individuals are texting

One of the biggest downfalls or risks of texting from a personal phone, or having your employees text customers from a personal phone is the lack of oversight. With a business texting platform, all of your conversations between customers and your business will be in one centralized spot. Plus there’s a paper trail so past conversations can be referred back to. With Textline, you can set Admin permissions who have access to certain features and conversations so you can have more oversight and control.

Textline software admin permissions screen
Textline offers Admin permissions so you can control which employees see what.

Additionally, you can assign each employee their own unique number, or each team a number to share, so you can see who interacted with which customers and what they discussed. This is great for record-keeping as well as seeing who might be best able to answer a question about a specific customer.

Having a business texting platform allows you to have oversight and potentially catch any misuse or abuse of your customer’s phone numbers.

Departing employees leaving with customer info

A lack of oversight can also lead to employees having possession of the conversations and data instead of your business having possession of it. With a texting platform you can be sure that if your employees move on to another job, they can’t take any customer contact information or conversations with them.

Make sure your conversations, permissions, and customer data are all housed somewhere safe and centrally accessible with a business texting platform like Textline. That way, you have the benefit of being able to access it from anywhere, but also the option to revoke that access when an employee moves to another job or changes roles and no longer needs access.

Device loss or theft, customer data security

Theft or a technical failure is another significant risk you face when texting from a personal device. It’s yet another threat to your customers’ security. With a business texting platform, you don’t need to worry about losing all of your customer communications if you lose a device, if it gets stolen, or if there’s some sort of technical glitch.

More than three million Americans fall victim to smartphone theft each year, meaning keeping your business texting on a personal and unsecured device is not a viable option. The chance of losing access to your customer conversations, and their information being compromised is just too high.

More than three million Americans fall victim to smartphone theft each year.

Using a texting platform allows your customer information and conversations to be hosted externally, not on a specific device. This covers you from a liability standpoint and protects your customers or patients too.

You can log in and access a texting platform from anywhere. Textline’s platform features password protection and two-factor authentication to help safeguard your data as well as automatic sign-out so if a device does end up in the wrong hands, they still won’t have access to the messages or customer information.

Just another reason to use a platform, they come with built-in security features. Your customer’s contact information, their conversation history, any personal information, and billing details can all be safely stored on a texting platform. Other features like automatic sign-out can help protect data and conversations. You should also want multi-factor authentication to confirm logins.

Textline also offers encryption of the data in its application and is compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, California Consumer Privacy Act, General Data Protection Regulation, SOC 2, and HIPAA.

Tracking opt-ins, opt-outs, etc.

Whenever you’re business texting you need to have a specific opt-in from your customers that indicates that they agree to be texted from your business. The law stipulates that you get permission from your customers in the form of an opt-in, for HIPAA-related messaging you’ll want to be sure to get a double opt-in. For the complete guide to SMS opt-ins, you can check our blog post covering what SMS opt-ins are and when you need them for business texting.

Note that you need to keep track of opt-ins, and opt-outs and a business texting platform is one of the best ways to do that. Having opt-ins scattered across personal devices is not a good way to organize consent from customers nor does it offer your business much protection. Not having a platform that allows you to track these opt-ins and outs is another risk for your business.

Legal issues

In the event that you are texting from a personal device and you suffer some sort of data breach, or the device is lost or stolen, or a former employee takes it with them, you might very well run into legal issues.

The scenarios we previously discussed are bad on their own, but they can lead to bigger issues too. Keeping your customer communication in an unsecured, decentralized manner can be quite a liability for your business. Especially if you’re required to follow HIPAA guidelines. Breaking HIPAA can have serious legal ramifications including steep fines and potential jail time.

Customer has personal number vs. company number

The whole reason you would implement business texting is to make it easier for your customers to contact your business when and how they want. That means your customers should have the contact information for your business, not for an individual.

Text message screen showing the difference of using a personal number vs. company number
Business texting from a personal number leaves you open to risks.

With a texting platform, you can have numbers specific to a department within your business and you can offer a login to each individual agent you want texting for your business. That way you can change or revoke permissions at any time. Plus, your customers will have the business phone number to contact, rather than the individual’s number.

This is part of the reason that having your agents introduce themselves with each new text is one of the steps to writing the perfect business text. Using a business texting platform could also help you as an individual or your employees manage their work. It’s unrealistic to be on and working 24/7 and using a platform could help keep work at work outside of business hours. Textline even has an automation feature that you can use to send an automatic response to any message received outside of office hours.

The bottom line: Why you should use a texting platform

One if not all of the seven risks above should apply to your business and be enough to convince you to add a business text messaging platform to your communication channels. There are stark benefits, including safety and security, that should be top of mind for any business owner looking to connect with their customers.

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