Text Abbreviations and How to Use Them

by Alexa Lemzy | Last updated 4th May 2020

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Text abbreviations and acronyms are unavoidable, both online in social media and in your text conversations with customers, colleagues and other businesses.

Even if you don’t use them, your customers will, so you need to understand the common text abbreviations in order to communicate effectively as a business.

In addition, some text abbreviations can be used in a professional context to improve your text communication.

Business Text Abbreviations

When you are texting co-workers or other businesses, you can rely on most people to recognize the following common abbreviations. Some of these abbreviations are also fairly well-known among average consumers as well:

  • T&C – Terms & Conditions
    When you need to link to your terms and conditions in a text message, T&C can help shorten the message and sounds a little less stiff and serious.

    Thanks for signing up for our services! T&Cs: [link]

  • DND – Do Not Disturb
    DND lets co-workers know you are busy with something important at the moment. It is useful to schedule DND texts to your team before an important meeting or create an automated DND response while your phone is on silent.

    DND: I’m in an important meeting and unable to reply, please direct urgent messages to [team member]

  • ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
    Internally, ICYMI is often used to update absent employees about meetings and other important information they were not present for. When texting customers, this could remind users to read your newsletter or take advantage of a sale that is about to end.

    ICYMI: Last chance to take advantage of our summer sale! [link]

  • TBA/TBD – To Be Announced/to Be Decided
    TBA and TBD can prevent a lot of unnecessary queries about a new product or promotion that you have not yet finalized.

    We’re excited to announce our latest product, find out more here: [link] Release date: TBA

  • WIP – Work In Progress
    If you are sending a work file to your team for feedback or just to show them the project taking shape, WIP reminds them it is unfinished.

    Hi Team, I’ve attached the WIP landing page redesign, let me know what you think!

Alert and Update Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are useful for keeping your team and customers updated with the latest information:

  • BAU – Business as Usual
    Including BAU is a quick way to let people know your company will be operating normally, which can be useful if current events have created uncertainty about whether businesses will be open in your area.

    Hi [name], it’s BAU at our online store today, so don’t worry if you haven’t placed your order yet!

  • ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
    Texting ETA lets the recipient know when to expect an order or update. If a team member is waiting for you to upload important information or files, or a customer is waiting for an urgent delivery, an ETA text can help them plan around its arrival.

    Hi [name], our courier is on the way with your delivery! ETA: 10am-12pm

  • OOO – Out of Office
    OOO lets customers or employees know that you are not available, and usually also provides the time or date you will be back again.

    I’m currently OOO, but I’ll be available again on April 10th.

  • OOH – Out of Hours
    Use OOH to let people know at which times they will not get a response from you. Creating automated OOO and OOH responses are useful for setting expectations when someone texts you outside of working hours.

    OOH: Thanks for your text. I’ll get back to you between 9 am-5 pm on weekdays.

  • EOD – End of Day
    EOD establishes a rough deadline, which can be used if you don’t know exactly when a task or order will be ready but want to give assurance that it will be handled today.

    Hi [name], we are sorry for the problem you are having with our app. We are working on a fix and will send out an update by EOD.

Common Text Abbreviations

The following text abbreviations are not specific to business use, but they can be useful to communicate more casually with both customers and your team members. These will almost certainly appear in your incoming texts at some point, and you can safely use them in text conversations without setting the wrong tone.

  • ASAP – As Soon as Possible
    An urgent response to the text is needed.
  • AKA – Also Known as
    AKA provides other names a business, product or technology might be known by.
  • TIA – Thanks in Advance
    TIA can make requests made over text more friendly and polite.
  • FYI – For Your Information
    FYI can introduce important information such as meeting notes for employees, or order details for customers.
  • BTW – By the Way
    BTW introduces less important information, for example letting a customer know about other items that are on sale as you confirm their order.
  • AFK – Away from Keyboard
    It is a common way for computer users to say they are going offline temporarily.

Casual Text Abbreviations

Most of the following abbreviations are too informal or open to misinterpretation for you to use, but there is still value in knowing them. They might still appear in texts sent to your business, and also in social media posts or reviews online. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what people are saying about you without these!

  • RN – Right Now
  • W/O – Without
  • SMH – Shaking My Head
  • NP – No Problem
  • TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read
  • BC – Because
  • TBH – to Be Honest
  • IDK – I Don’t Know
  • IDC – I don’t Care
  • TY – Thank You
  • IMO/IMHO – In My Opinion/In My Humble Opinion
  • NVM – Never Mind
  • BRB – Be Right Back
  • BBL – Be Back Later
  • GTG – Got to Go
  • IIRC – If I Remember Correctly
  • AFAIK – As Far as I Know

Why Do You Need to Know Text Abbreviations?

Knowing the common text abbreviations is a necessary part of being able to talk easily over text. 64% of baby boomers and 83% of generation Z want businesses to text more, so you can’t afford to be out of touch with everyday acronyms.

do you wish more businesses would use texting to communicate with you ?

Source

Improve Customer Experience

In addition to simply being able to read your incoming texts without confusion, using text abbreviations can help you set a more relaxed tone to connect with customers.

It also lets customers know they can use text abbreviations themselves. This can save them time and make texting within your business more convenient. While your business is able to use texting apps and templates to quickly send messages, it is important to remember that your clients don’t.

Improve Readability

Furthermore, good use of text abbreviations makes your messages shorter and easier to read. The average smartphone screen can only display a handful of words per line, so text abbreviations can help reduce the amount of space a sentence occupies. Shortening messages can also reduce your cost per text.

Mistakes to Avoid

While using text abbreviations can help you save time and communicate more effectively with customers and your team, take care to avoid sending texts that are unprofessional or hard to understand.

These are the 6 most common mistakes you should avoid:

  1. Texting Shorthand
    Text abbreviations are not the same as using shortened spellings or replacing words with numbers. Texting shorthand such as u instead of you or gr8 instead of great makes your message harder to read, and can seem childish or lazy to many recipients.
  2. Overuse of Abbreviations
    Much like texting shorthand, using too many abbreviations and acronyms in your message will have an impact on its readability. Additionally, it can be off-putting to the reader in the same way as a message full of jargon or buzzwords.
    Limit yourself to just a few abbreviations per text, and don’t try to string a sentence together entirely.
  3. Obscure Abbreviations
    Text abbreviations only aid communication if everyone knows what they mean.
    When texting customers, avoid using business acronyms that your average customer can’t be expected to know.
  4. Inappropriate Abbreviations
    Text abbreviations like wtf are often used so casually that their actual meaning gets forgotten. If you would not text the full phrase in a business context, don’t use the acronym either.
  5. Using Abbreviations at the Wrong Time
    Text abbreviations usually imply a more casual and informal tone.
    While this is great for connecting with customers, it could cause annoyance if your recipient expects you to be more formal. When you need to send bad news, such as a cancellation or delay, using text abbreviations may not be the best way to assure your customer you are taking the issue seriously.
  6. Using an Abbreviation, You Don’t Understand
    This is fairly obvious, but trying to use an abbreviation you don’t know the meaning of could backfire. Similarly, if someone texts you an abbreviation you don’t recognize, you can always Google it.

Conclusion

These text abbreviations will help you understand clients and communicate better with your team.

Text abbreviations are a part of everyday conversation, and as a result, it is important to understand how to use them appropriately in order to avoid giving the wrong impression. Following these tips will enable you to better connect with customers and your team via text messaging.

Alexa
Alexa Lemzytwitter
Author

Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.