Texting etiquette

Just want to get some opinion on what are the feelings of HL lifers are about texting etiquette.

I just had a person who called my son "terse" because he texted without using full sentences. He texted the response in simple terms- "we use distilled water in batteries" instead of " yes, we can certainly honor that and use distilled water in batteries". Does it matter what the added words are if he only has a short time to text back?

If someone is texting someone after hours, is there any harm in texting "just the facts' as a reply?
Isn't "terse" in the eye of the beholder?

I was upset that they said this to my son- and wondered if there is a link I can go to to determine if his response is correct (or not)...
Want to learn the socially correct vibe on this, thanks in advance.

 "we use distilled water in batteries" *is* a complete sentence.

To your larger question, though... I find that people tend to read into emails, texts and forum posts based upon their own bias and insecurities. Those who are easily offended can interpret a slight in even the most innocuous of statements.

ianimal ianimal
Jan '19

Depends on who you are texting...sometimes a phone call works better with older people

Jan '19

If you wanted to be more professional, pick up the phone because a text is not the right medium. I agree with ianimal that maybe it was terse, but why is saying that a bad thing? I wouldn't let that bother me either way.

Terse, brief, abbreviated, short,
Terse infers attitude, no?

Stymie Stymie
Jan '19

Is he responding on behalf of a business? If so then I would say the texts should be the same way you would respond if the customer was standing in front of you.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
Jan '19

Why worry about someone who is demonstrably uptight?....and getting butt-hurt about a minor criticism is not good.

I agree with the wisdom in all of the responses so far......but the best gift you can give your son is to let him deal with it himself.

Man up and move forward. It doesn't matter in the end.

jjmonth4 jjmonth4
Jan '19

"Is he responding on behalf of a business? If so then I would say the texts should be the same way you would respond if the customer was standing in front of you."

the customer wouldn't be because they are closed. I wouldn't expect a business to even respond to an email or text after hours. they did the customer a solid by replying at all on their own time. or does that not generate good will itself?

"To your larger question, though... I find that people tend to read into emails, texts and forum posts based upon their own bias and insecurities. Those who are easily offended can interpret a slight in even the most innocuous of statements."

That's ridiculous, ianimal! I can't believe you would say it like that.

LOL, Rich... but seriously, texts are SUPPOSED to be "terse". If you're looking for a detailed explanation, your handheld device also has a "telephone" function.

ianimal ianimal
Jan '19

Whip - businesses are using text and messenger all the time in the off hours. Not saying it's right but part of the 24 hour economy.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
Jan '19

that's irrelevant. the business isn't entitled to a life outside the business? the person could have been appreciative they even got a reply from a closed business.
how does the alleged customer know they weren't out for a family function like brunch or dinner etc.?
my friend sent an email to a closed used car business today. should he be pissed they haven't replied yet?

If they make themselves available then they should respond appropriately

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
Jan '19

"If they make themselves available then they should respond appropriately"

Agree 100%

dodgebaal dodgebaal
Jan '19

Email is 24/7, but that doesn't mean people access them 24/7. It also doesn't mean if I get an email, text etc in the middle of the night I would not answer and set the precedent that is acceptable. That point is moot anyway. This person responded, but the response wasn't received the way intended. Unfortunately with print communication, we often infer tone which is not always what is meant. Par for the course when we often communicate this way.

Mel81 Mel81
Jan '19

I’m old, but I remember days where no one would even fathom bothering someone off hours. The customer got a response, for free, when the business was closed and then complains. Wow. Guess I’m lucky I’m old at this point

Jan '19

when dealing with clients and customers one always has to be aware of how a communication might be perceived and take steps to minimize bad or negative reactions.

txtg back off hours is ok if support is expected by a published SLA but in all cases we have to be aware of how our audience may feel.

I always put a few extra nicer words into it to try and create a tone that is customer friendly, because as Ianimal says, the printed words in emails and txt messages are devoid of feeling so the the reader will inject their own feelings into the words displayed,

With friends and family we can be terse but with clients and customers I work hard to avoid being perceived that way, so i think the OPs son could learn from this and either not respond right away or be prepared to take the time to write/txt a more complete message that minimizes the chances of being perceived in a negative light.

hows that old line go? "Know your audience" and this old cherub, "The customer is always right"

GreyHawk GreyHawk
Jan '19

If it was to a customer, then I would have probably would have added some fluff to sound friendlier such as "Hi Fred! Yes, we use distilled water in batteries. Please let me know if you have any other concerns or questions."

But honestly, I would have just been happy to get any response at all from a business and the convenience that they would communicate with me over text. Can't make everybody happy, but framing your written communications to customers with a little extra fluff is just some easy insurance against those who are easily butthurt as it appears the person who said that about him is. So, let it be a learning experience. :)

somechik somechik
Jan '19

Terse? The guy sounds like an annoying snowflake. If it were me, I wouldn't want to do business with him. Someone who will complain b/c a sentence wasn't flowery or obeisant enough will likely have many other unfounded complaints throughout the deal, and may even try to stiff your son when it comes time to pay, under the excuse that things weren't done to his satisfaction.

Troublesome customers are expensive, not lucrative.

EuphoriaMourning EuphoriaMourning
Jan '19

i'd agree with somechik. similarly, i would suggest the response was exactly correct for a text to a friend. for a business, i suggest responding in the same manner as the question was sent - if they use full sentences and capitalization, then return that. if they use abbreviations, return that.

ken e
Jan '19

Thay tipe lik thiz aniway. U no speling duznt cownt. Whttz edicut? Wat abowt terse?

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
Jan '19

Thanks, everyone.
In response to the question, this text was done on Sunday afternoon and my son hand shoveled our 110 + ft driveway in that nasty weather, so I am sure he was just tired and trying to respond. I personally think I agree with everyone's sides. To me, however, I think if you are courteous enough to respond after-hours and on a Sunday, I do think the person should have been a little less discerning and more grateful that he had gotten back to them.
The fact that this weekend also had some crazy weather should have also been considered as well- perhaps he was outside , etc.
Oh well, thanks for the feedback- I advised him next time to make time to respond only when he is prepared to have some considerable time to respond with more favorable add-ons. I do think this person would also have given him a hard time as well- does seem like a real annoying person to do business with.

Take care and thanks, HLifers

Back to the Top | View all Forum Topics

Leave a Reply

To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.

Re: Texting etiquette
Name (Required)
Email (Protected)
Add Photo (Optional)
By pressing Submit Comment, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.