As of late, more and more companies are letting employees instant message one another as a way of increasing efficiency and decreasing downtime. While this is a great tool for inter-office communication, some people want to take this further. What do they want to do? Instead of only instant messaging co-workers they want to bring clients into the equation as well. Whether or not this is a good idea is based on many factors.
The first thing to remember is that some clients will not want to communicate with you via instant messenger. Even if they enjoy working with you they may feel that this is nothing more than a waste of time. It is up to you to decide if this is something to present to clients. If you ask, and they agree, good for you. But if a client does not want to use an instant messaging tool that is fine as well; you don’t want to push them.
Also, you need to clear this sort of communication through your boss. Some companies strongly believe that instant messaging is the wave of the future, and will not have any problem letting you use this tool with clients. Others feel that this will take away from the “personal relationship” and will strictly prohibit this action. It is better to be safe than sorry so you definitely want to ask your boss for permission before getting in touch with clients to explain your idea.
There are definite benefits of communicating with clients via an instant messenger. But make sure your ask your employer first, and then get a feel for whether or not your client is truly interested.