We all use text messaging - to tell our children "we're on the way", our partners to pick up a bite to eat, and our mates to arrange a quick beer. It's quick and informal. Yet our banks also use it to provide balance updates, our insurers, and, good forbid, claims management companies.
But professional services firms struggle. How should lawyers, for example, respond to the client that insists on communicating by text. Surely complex arguments cannot be condensed into a few short sentences?
It will not always be appropriate, but it should be part of a professional's comms toolkit. Clients increasingly turn to, again for example, their lawyers for wider advice. And sometimes that advice need to be brief and straight to the point. A text works perfectly.
In one recent interview, a senior in-house counsel said, “What I need from every communication from an outside counsel is simply three things. One, what is the matter/issue? Two, what is your recommendation? And three, how will this help us move forward?” In another conversation with a general counsel, he said, “Sure, PowerPoint is great, and it really needs to be one slide with three bullet points. But most of the time I communicate with my CEO via text.” That’s the new normal call: texting with clients. We often joke about the lawyer that still sends emails that were clearly dictated and attached as a PDF. But the reality is that even multiple paragraphs in the body of an email fail to deliver on many clients’ expectations around communications from outside counsel.