Difference Between Chat and Text Message: Explained

Mia Jensen | September 7, 2023 | 13 min read
Difference Between Chat and Text Message: Explained

Over 6 billion texts are sent every day. That’s 75% of the global population, and majority if not all of your customers.

Chat messaging and text messaging have become popular tools for connecting with customers. However, they’re not interchangeable. Each has its own unique features, benefits, and requirements.

Let’s talk about the differences between chat messaging and text messaging. It will help you understand which is best for your business communication needs.

Table of Contents

What is Chat Messaging?

Chat messaging, or instant messaging, is a quick and easy way to send messages in real time over the internet. You can use it on various platforms like live chat on websites, social media apps like Facebook Messenger, or dedicated chat apps like Slack.

The best part? You don’t need a cell phone plan. All it needs is an internet connection. You can send text, pictures, videos, audio clips, and{:target=”_blank”} even documents. It’s an excellent tool for businesses. It enables instant customer communication, answering their questions or addressing their concerns immediately.

Chat messaging can also conduct group or team chats, making it a popular choice for business communications.

Chat Messaging

What Is Text Messaging?

Text messaging, or SMS (Short Message Service), is a classic form of communication. It’s been around since the dawn of mobile phones. It’s simple: you send short text messages directly to another person’s phone using your cellular network. No internet connection needed.

It’s incredibly effective too! Text messages have an astounding open rate of 98%. That’s almost every single SMS being read!

Businesses often use text marketing for a variety of purposes. Need to send a quick payment reminder or answer a customer’s query? Transactional text messages have got you covered. Want to announce a sale or share a discount code? Promotional text messages are perfect for that.

Text Messaging

One of the great things about text messaging is that it’s universal. Whether someone has a basic mobile phone or the latest smartphone, they can send and receive text messages. That’s a big part of why it’s such a popular communication tool.

What’s the Difference Between Chat Messaging and Text Messaging?

Chat messaging and text messaging both serve the purpose of communicating with your customers. The choice between the two depends on the specific needs of your business.

Difference Between Chat Messaging and Text Messaging

Features and Characteristics of Chat and Text Messages

Chat and text messages are valuable tools for talking to customers. But they have different features that make them unique. Let’s take a look at these features and see how they compare.

Real-Time Communication in Chat

Chat messaging is like an in-person conversation but online. When you send a chat message, the other person can immediately see it. This is called real-time communication. It’s great for quick back-and-forth chats.

For example, if a customer has a question about a product, they can use chat messaging to get an answer right away.

Asynchronous Communication in Text Messages

Text messaging is a bit different. It’s what we call asynchronous communication. This means that you don’t have to respond right away. You can send a message, and the other person can read it and reply when they have time.

This is helpful for businesses because it gives you time to think about your response. It’s also suitable for customers who cannot chat in real time.

Multimedia Support in Chat and Text

Both chat and text messages let you send more than just text. You can also send pictures, videos, and other types of files. This is called multimedia support.

In chat messaging, you can send these files quickly, and the other person can view them right in the chat. You can also send pictures and videos via MMS in text messaging, but it might use up more of your data. Chat messaging is a better choice if you need to send many multimedia files.

Purpose and Usage Scenarios of Chat and Text Messages

Chat and text messages are used in different situations. They each have their purpose and are better for certain things. Let’s look at how businesses and people use chat and text messages.

Business Communication: Chat Messages vs. Text Messages

You can use chat messages for quick, real-time conversations. For example, if a customer has a question while shopping online, they can use a chat widget to get an answer instantly.

On the other hand, text messages are great for sending essential details that the customer can read later. For example, a business can text customers to remind them about an appointment or upcoming sales or to confirm an order.

Personal Communication: Chat Messaging vs. Text Messaging

Both chat and text messages have their place regarding non-sales communication. Chat messages are ideal for real-time, informal interactions with clients or colleagues. You can use it for quick brainstorming sessions, immediate feedback, or casual check-ins.

Text messages are perfect for sharing information that doesn’t require an immediate response. You can use it to send reminders, updates or even ask for reviews.

Pros and Cons of Chat Messaging

Pros and Cons of Chat Messaging

Chat messages have several pros and cons. They can influence their effectiveness in different scenarios. Let’s look at them in more detail:

Pros of Chat Messaging

  • Real-Time Communication

Chat messages allow instant communication. This is great for quick conversations and immediate responses.

  • No Cellular Plan Needed

Chat messages are sent online, not through a cellular network. Customers can send and receive chat messages without a cell phone plan.

  • Automation and Integration

Chat messages can be automated and integrated with analytics platforms. This can provide valuable data and reports for your business.

  • Unified Inbox Management

Businesses can use CX platforms like DemandHub to manage messages from different chat platforms in a single inbox. This provides convenience and efficiency in handling customer communications.

  • Cross-Platform Availability

Chat messaging platforms are available across different devices and operating systems. This means whether your customers use Apple or Android devices, they can easily send messages to you.

  • Video Chat Support

Some chat messaging apps also support video chat. This adds another layer of personal touch and enhances customer satisfaction.

  • Multimedia and Content Creation

Chat messages can include multimedia like images, videos, audio, and gifs. Your marketing team can create content specifically for these messages.

  • Device Flexibility and Group Conversations

Customers can send chat messages from any device, including smartphones, tablets, or computers. Chat also allows for group conversations, benefiting team discussions or customer support.

  • Read Receipts and Typing Indicators

Chat messages often include read receipts. So you know when a customer has seen your message. Typing indicators can also show when a customer is responding. It can help your sales reps manage their time and responses more effectively.

  • Webchat for Website Visitors

Webchat is a simple and effective way to engage visitors and convert them into customers. It provides a convenient communication channel right on your website.

  • International Communication

You can send chat messages internationally without any additional costs. This allows your business to operate globally.

Cons of Chat Messaging

  • Internet Access Required

Not all customers have access to a reliable internet connection, especially on their phones. This can limit the use of chat messages.

  • Preference for Texting

Despite the advantages of chat messages, 89% of customers prefer texting with businesses over any other mode of communication.

  • Platform Requirement

Depending on the chat type, customers may need to download or use a specific chat program, like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

  • Limited Bulk Messaging

Businesses typically can’t send chat messages in bulk. This can limit their use for more extensive marketing campaigns.

Pros and Cons of Text Messaging

Pros and Cons of Text Messaging

Pros of Text Messaging

  • No Internet Connection Required

Text messages are sent over the cellular network. Customers don’t need an internet connection to send or receive them.

  • Automation and SMS Marketing

Text messages can be automated, making them essential for SMS marketing. Businesses can also use software to manage text messages from a computer. It can streamline the communication process.

  • Customer Preference

Many customers prefer text messaging as their primary method of communication. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers want businesses to communicate with them via text messages.

  • Single Number For Calls and Texts

Businesses can use the same number for both calls and texts, making it easier for customers to identify and trust the message.

  • Quality Leads Collection

Text messaging provides businesses with customers’ phone numbers. Businesses can later use them for further communication and marketing efforts.

  • No Additional Software Required

Customers already have the native phone application for texting. No need to download any additional software.

  • Bulk Messaging

You can send text messages in bulk. It is useful for more extensive marketing campaigns.

Cons of Text Messaging

  • Character Limit

Traditional text messages (SMS) have a limit of 160 characters. It can restrict the information you want to convey in a single message.

  • Regulations

Text messaging is regulated by the TCPA, which requires businesses to obtain opt-ins for promotional messages.

  • Limited to Phones

Customers usually send text messages from their phones, though some alternative methods, such as text-based webchat, are available.

  • 1:1 Conversations

Text messaging typically only allows for 1:1 conversations, unlike chat messaging, which can support group conversations.

Choosing the Right Communication Method

Selecting the suitable communication method for your business is essential. Ideally, a blend of text and chat messaging can cater to a broader range of customer preferences.

Chat messaging has many features, including multimedia support and real-time interaction. But text messaging is still a favorite for many. Especially for direct business marketing and conversations.

However, the key is to offer flexibility. Let your customers choose their preferred method of communication. This is where platforms like DemandHub come into play.

DemandHub allows you to transition from webchat conversations to text messages seamlessly. It ensures that your communication is effective, efficient, and tailored to your customers’ needs. Adopting a versatile approach can enhance customer satisfaction and foster stronger relationships.

Experience the power of flexible communication with DemandHub. Transform your customer interactions. Remember, the right communication tool can make all the difference. Let DemandHub show you how. Book your free demo now!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Difference Between Chat and Text Messages

What Is the Main Difference Between Chat and Text Messages?

The main difference between chat and text messages lies in the delivery method. Chat messages are sent over the internet through various platforms. And text messages are sent over a cellular network through a mobile phone’s built-in messaging application.

Can You Chat and Text Using the Same App?

Yes, some apps like Facebook Messenger and iMessage allow you to chat and text within the same application. However, the availability of this feature depends on the specific app and the device you’re using.

Which Is Better For Real-Time Communication: Chat or Text Messages?

Chat messaging is generally better for real-time communication. It allows for the instant exchange of messages over the Internet. However, text messaging can also be used for real-time communication, although it might be slower.

Are There Any Limitations to Texting Compared to Chat?

Yes, texting has a few limitations compared to chat. For instance, traditional text messages have a character limit and require a cellular network to send and receive messages. Also, while you can send multimedia content via MMS, it might use more of your data than chat.

How Do Chat Platforms Differ From Sms Messaging?

Chat platforms are internet-based. They support multimedia content and group chats. They also offer features like read receipts and typing indicators. SMS messaging is cellular-based. It primarily sends text messages, but you can also send multimedia content via MMS.

Can You Send Multimedia Content Via Chat and Text Messages?

Yes, both chat and text messages support the sending of multimedia content. However, chat messages generally offer more flexibility and ease in sending multimedia content than text messages

Is Chat or Text Messaging More Secure?

Both chat and text messaging have security measures in place. But the level of security can vary depending on the specific platform or service used. Some chat platforms offer end-to-end encryption, providing high security. Text messages are secure but vulnerable if the phone is lost or stolen. It’s always important to use trusted platforms and keep your devices safe.

How Do Businesses Use Chat and Text Messages For Communication?

Businesses use both chat and text messages for communication with customers. Chat is often used for real-time customer service. And text messages are commonly used for sending reminders, confirmations, and marketing messages. The choice between chat and text often depends on the nature of the communication and the customer’s preferences.

Can You Convert Chat Messages to Text Messages and Vice Versa?

Some platforms can transfer chat messages to text messages and vice versa. For example, customers can continue to chat on a website via text messages like DemandHub Webchat.

What Role Do Emojis and Emoticons Play in Chat and Text Conversations?

Emojis and emoticons play a significant role in chat and text conversations. They help convey tone and emotion, which can be hard to communicate through text alone. They can make chats more engaging and personal. It can help businesses connect with customers in a more informal and friendly way.

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