While telephone calls and physical mail continue to be staples of modern communication, technology has brought new options. One of these options is texting. As a Medicare insurance agent, you can send text messages to your current clients as long as you follow a few basic guidelines. If you haven’t used text messages to communicate with your clients, you might want to start soon.
Why Texting Makes Sense
Texting has become a common means of communication. Whether you’re planning an evening out with your friends or confirming a doctor’s appointment, you probably use text messages yourself. Texting your clients makes sense, too.
- Nearly everyone texts. According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of U.S. adults owned a cell phone in 2018. Nearly everyone has access to text messages, and most people use the function regularly.
- Some people hate answering the phone. Many people, especially younger individuals, hate answering the phone. While phone anxiety might be partially to blame, the increase in robocalls and phone scams is also to blame.
- Texts get a quick reply. Text messages are likely to be seen immediately, and they often get an instant reply. Emails are less likely to get as quick a response.
- Your clients may want to text you. The easier you make it for them to contact you, the more likely they are to go you when they need help with a new policy or a friend who needs coverage.
Texting Tips and Compliance Guidelines
Texting can be great when it’s done right, but a wrong move could give a bad impression or even lead to compliance issues.
- Don’t text prospects. Under CMS regulations, telephonic solicitation – which includes text messages – is considered prohibited unsolicited contact.
- Text current clients, but only if they want you to text them. Ask your clients how they want to receive communications, and let your clients opt in or out of text messages at any time. Keep a record of the permission to contact.
- Document your communications. It’s good practice to maintain a record of all communications, no matter the method used. This can help you avoid E&O claims.
- Keep it professional. You might not use correct spelling when you text your friends, but you should when you text your clients.
- Be careful with emojis. Emojis are generally considered very casual, and the meaning might not always be clear. Even worse, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, smileys might make you seem less competent. You might feel OK using a smiley face with a client you know well, but don’t go overboard. When in doubt, stick to actual words.
- Know what to text. Texts are great for short messages. Text your clients to confirm appointments, to tell them about deadlines, or to provide quick updates.
- Don’t text too much. Keep your texts short, and don’t send so many that you start to annoy clients.