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Text message thru computer software
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19-Nov-2020 10:26am

I am finding more clients are using throw away email addresses to give out and they never check them. I am looking for a more efficient way to contact clients with simple messages like "Your tax return is ready" and thought I would give text messaging a try, but don't think it is prudent to do this thru a cell phone.

Anyone doing this and what do you use?

19-Nov-2020 8:13pm

I would advice against it, unless you don't mind answering (or ignoring) thousands of tax advice texts that you get form your clients through this phone. Then they will start texting you their 1099Rs, "Oh, just got this, please add it to me tax return", etc. Even worse, they will text things like, "please add a $640 insurance expense to my P&L, I just found the bill I paid."

My Doctor, for example, will send me texts for needed things, but he sure wont answer one of my texts. So that's one possible route.

I don't answer tax texts at all nor do I give out my cell number. That's why I have an office phone, email, and pay employees to answer and process them.

We are high volume and bypassing those contact points throw a wrench in our systems.

20-Nov-2020 6:12am

I'm with ItDepends. Only clients I have a personal relationship with have my cell and I tell them not to use it for taxes. One time I was stupid enough to text my address to a prospective client and she literally woke the household up with late night texts and Sunday texts even after I specifically requested she not use the cell. I ended up blocking her number and we never did get together.

20-Nov-2020 6:50am

Other than sending a friendly reminder for a in person meeting I do NOT use text messages to communicate any other tax matter. Also my text message is sent from my computer and not my cell phone. I do not want my cell phone # floating out there to be used at all times of the day to communicate business matters.

I had once thought of getting a separate cell phone# for business but then a friend told me his experience and that was the end of that!

20-Nov-2020 9:06am

My VoIP telephone service offers a cellphone app that turns the cellphone into an extension. I can easily communicate with them, during office hours of course, from anywhere.

20-Nov-2020 9:32am

My VoIP offers texting via my any number I hand out that is on my account. I do utilize texting for numerous reasons but will not engage in detailed discussions. If they send me information pertaining to taxes, I either save the image they sent or I screenshot it and add it to my file.

I DO NOT give out my cell phone unless I establish friendships with the clients, or we were friends, first. I do not have a problem with texting in most cases.

20-Nov-2020 2:44pm

We use a company called EZ Texting. We love it. It's reasonably priced and easy to use. Unfortunately, it's not an app on your desktop, it's in your web browser, so you'll always have a browser open. It's easy to use and clients love it.

We only use it to inform/remind client taxes are ready or other such simple communications. We never send sensitive data by text. If client asks a question regarding sensitive data or will require a long answer we tell client we will respond by email.

22-Nov-2020 6:09pm

Thanks cornerstone / tax dude. This is what I was looking for in my original post. Simple commo with the client to let them know their returns are ready. No cell phones.

24-Nov-2020 7:02am

You can setup a Google Voice account. Small fee to setup but no annual fee after that. The txt can be directed to your e-mail program (Outlook etc.). You can also send txt directly from your e-mail program. No need to go into your Google Voice account. The Google Voice number is it's own number. Basically your txt messages are treated no differently then your e-mail messages. Works great.

8-Dec-2020 9:20am

I'll third that my VOIP allows texting on my computer for our traditional phone number. We never use it but it's an option.

Clients will text me on my traditional cell phone and I'm fine with it. I charge them accordingly.

8-Dec-2020 2:23pm

We are looking into Avaya's VOIP plan that uses a cloud based app Ring Central. Besides texting, it also gives you the following features:
* Call out using your cell phone, but recipient sees your main office number. This is good for remote workers.
* Video conferencing, including screen sharing. This will be good for the new world of no appointments.
* Remote access. We can drop our GoToAssist subscription.

Does anybody have any experience good or bad they can share with me?

9-Dec-2020 10:40am

We use RingCentral and it has been excellent. Computers and cell phones have an app which allows them to be used on the system but you can also use your physical phone. I can literally work anywhere in the world with wifi and clients will think I'm in the office. All day at work I'm hooked into the app on my laptop but I have it on my home laptop also. It allows clients to text message our traditional phone number. It has worked exceptionally well in the 18 months we've had it.

When it snows and I don't want to drive to the office - I just pick up the phones from my office laptop.

9-Dec-2020 10:57am

Beagle, Thank you for that feedback. Do you utilize the screen sharing or remote access? Are you happy with those features?

It allows clients to text message our traditional phone number.
Interesting. The sales rep made it sound like we needed to use a "smart number" for sending & receiving text messages. Some 801-XXX-XXX number. Each staff person would receive their own smart number. That would be great if our admin staff could send/receive text messages displaying our current main office number.

9-Dec-2020 1:20pm

I don't use screen sharing or remote access through their system.

Each user is given a personal phone number automatically - those are all able to use texting so they go directly to their desktop. You could (I think) assign the main office phone number to one employee but if it went to every person it would be too confusing. How would you know who it is assigned? You can also text back and forth easily with all employees.
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