If an agency were to know this number for each of the last 2 years, there is no doubt that they would be seeing an increase. Whether your agency wants texting to be a way clients communicate with you or not, it is still going to happen. Texting is definitely a mode of today’s communication. A great starting point is to ask the staff how many / how often they are getting texts from clients.
Texting has now found its way into the fact pattern of a number of E&O claims so it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. It is prudent for agencies to have a stated position on the issue and to dedicate time to educate your staff and your clients.
Every agency should have a procedure to ensure that text messages of a business perspective are documented in your agency management system. They have a position on the documentation of phone calls and e-mails. Why would text messages be any different?
There are different approaches on managing text messages. One approach is to elevate the text messaging to an e-mail platform and to then communicate via e-mail. This should then enable the various communication to become part of the agency file. Assuming that you are able to capture the entire text message with your phone, it is okay to have the entire text “conversation” via your phone and then at the end of the discussion, use the process to get that “conversation” into your agency system. But bottom line, the text message needs to be part of the client file in your agency system. Without it, there is the possibility that the agency file could lack some very important discussion.
Recently I was advised that some agency management systems contain a feature for the handling of text messages. Agencies should explore this to determine how they want the issue handled.
Since text messaging is probably here to stay, it would be beneficial to talk thru the issues to ensure everyone in your agency is on the same page.