When you’re part of a small team or business, it’s not unusual or wrong to want a single number for texting that everyone shares. For many people that sounds ideal even.
But the decision to do so affects every step of the customer journey — from initial outreach to continued retention. You can’t simply make the choice based on saving money and consolidating systems.
So let’s talk about the pros and cons of sharing the same phone number with your employees and teammates — specifically one used for business texting.
The Pros of Sharing a Business Number for Texting
To start, think on these 4 reasons it’s advantageous and the right decision to share a number for texting.
For practically any team, but especially a small one, cost matters. It’s not just about wanting new software or not. And obviously having one business texting number will be cheaper than having multiple.
Single point of contact
Your company may have a single number for people to call. So why not have the same for texting?
When you provide a single number for people to text, that decreases potential confusion about how to contact the business. Employees don’t have to worry about watching other numbers or missing messages.
With multiple people responsible for the same number, the less likely it is that messages will be missed or go unanswered.
Having multiple people watching a single number could also allow you to extend availability past regular working hours. For example, you could easily assign responding hours to different team members throughout the week and on weekends.
No personal phone numbers
It’s certainly tempting to allow employees to use their personal phone numbers to text with leads and customers. Some team members may even suggest doing it. But if they ever lose their phone or leave the business, that’s a lot of lost contacts and conversations.
On the other hand, when every employee uses the designated number on a chosen business texting platform, the business always maintains the conversations and contacts.
As another plus, sharing a number means every conversation saves in one place for teammates to look back on. This helps you provide better customer experiences because, in theory, everyone knows what’s been said.
The Cons of Sharing a Business Number for Texting
Now let’s go through the biggest reasons you should avoid sharing the same number.
When sharing a number for texting, everyone either pretends to be the same person or simply acts as the business and no one gives a name.
However, when everyone has their own individual number, that allows them to showcase their own personality and build individual relationships. Customers will have no doubts that there’s a real person on the other end answering questions and taking care of them.
If your whole intention is for the number to strictly exist as a generic texting line (and not someone communicating on behalf of the business), this may not be a con for you.
No matter how organized everyone thinks they are, if multiple employees use the same number, eventually multiple employees will be responding to the same person at the same time.
Things also get confusing when recipients of messages receive mixed answers when talking to different employees at different times. While technically everyone has visibility into past conversations, not everyone will always go back to read old messages.
Other times, messages get buried or forgotten because the employee who first sees a message can’t provide an answer or a message is clearly directed at another employee. In both cases that increases response times.
Finally, there’s no way of tracking exactly who from your team sent what messages. If accountability and transparency are really important, this is a huge disadvantage.
All businesses need to brand their business texting, whether numbers are shared or not. But if multiple people all pretend to be the same person or even if everyone just communicates as “the business,” you have to pay extra attention to the brand’s voice.
When everyone has their own number, recipients of messages will expect messages to sound different when different people text them. But when it’s supposedly the “same person,” that’s going to be tougher to maintain.
The longer everyone communicates via text on behalf of the business, the more in sync everyone will become. But that process starts over when you bring on new employees and want them to respond just like the rest of you.
Lack of boundaries
While it’s generally advantageous to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you, it’s also a disadvantage at the same time. If your team is small and someone has to be available at all times on the shared number, this could impede their other work responsibilities as well as a non-work responsibilities.
As much as you may want to hustle and grind as a small team, you decrease the likelihood of burnout by setting distinct availability hours and communication boundaries. You can still have a very human and customer-focused business without being available 24/7.
Depending on the account type you choose from a business texting service, sharing the number could quickly lead to hitting account limits. Most commonly this includes monthly message limits and contact limits.
And thinking of limitations in more abstract terms, with individual business texting numbers, each employee can take individual responsibility and really perfect their communication style. They then have ownership over relationships and (hopefully) feel more invested in the company’s success.
Temptation to use personal numbers
Having a single number for people to text works to some degree. But eventually you or someone else will want to offer a more personal customer experience. And once that happens, it can be difficult to stop others from doing the same, even more so when team members are having better interactions with potential and current customers.
Especially for sales professionals, sharing a number just isn’t ideal. If everyone has their own number for making calls, they should also have their own number for texting.
To Share or Not to Share?
Whether or not employees share a number for business texting is ultimately determined by the team’s current needs. Here at Skipio, we’ve seen small businesses do very well with a shared number that everyone is responsible for.
However, if you do choose for employees to share a number, no matter that size of the business, that is always a short-term solution. If you want the greatest impact and to reach the most people in the most personal way, employees need to have their own numbers.
Skipio makes it incredibly affordable for any business to start nurturing leads and talking with customers through texting. Learn how Skipio will work for your team — it’s a simple process to upgrade and create new accounts as you need more numbers for a growing business.
This post was originally published on March 17, 2020. Updates included the additional and pros and cons to provide more relevant, up-to-date information.