You should always be attentive to the needs of your customers and obtain regular feedback. Improving in areas such as communication, customer service etc. is not an end in itself. Ultimately, these improvements can only be considered improvements if your customer perceives them as such, even if optimizations have otherwise been implemented perfectly. Collecting feedback has been made much easier through digital communication channels and easy-to-use survey tools. Nevertheless, customer surveys can still be a difficulty for many companies.

An often overlooked method of conducting surveys is the SMS

That’s right, the good old Short Message Service. Even though many consider SMS to be outdated and even if the total number of text messages sent in Germany has been falling continuously in recent years, there were still almost 9 billion text messages sent in 2018 (Statista, 2020). Even if SMS is slightly retro, the channel still shines with excellent opening and response rates. For example, the average opening rate of SMS is 95 percent and this is within the first three minutes after they are received. In addition, almost every mobile/smartphone is able to receive SMS, even if, for example, the mobile data is deactivated at that time.  

First things first – even with SMS there are certain privacy guidelines one must obey

Of course, commercial SMS dispatch is also not exempt from data protection regulations. Just like in e-mail marketing, opt-ins are necessary to be able to contact your customers via this channel. Luckily, in order to get the appropriate opt-ins, you can essentially use the same measures as in email marketing. However, customers are often less willing to provide their mobile phone number than their e-mail address, as this is a much more sensitive piece of information. In addition, many people cannot recite their number ad hoc and have to look again in their smartphone to give it. Social media promotions are a good way to get the phone numbers, for example, where you encourage your followers to enter their mobile phone number for a competition or discount promotion. Without much effort you can turn your followers into SMS contacts.

Please keep in mind: Similar to your newsletter, you should always prominently advertise the possibility of being contacted via SMS on your website.

Use SMS for the customer satisfaction survey

Let’s get back to the real issue, the customer surveys. As already mentioned, a particularly large number of customers open messages that they receive via SMS. Even links contained in them are often clicked on. You should use this possibility and this moment for satisfaction surveys. Ask your customers in the SMS, for example, whether they liked a newly purchased product. The satisfaction survey conveys a feeling of appreciation and the results can be used for market research purposes and to individualize communication with the customer.

An example from the gastronomy sector: The POS system is integrated with the marketing automation solution and only a few minutes after payment the customer can be sent an SMS with the request to rate the store, the service or the ordered dishes. Another context for the satisfaction survey can be the direct reference to mobile usage, for example when buying an app. The use of certain app functions could serve as a trigger for sending an SMS with a survey on the currently used areas.

Different approaches to conducting surveys

There are different ways to conduct the satisfaction surveys via SMS. One of them is to conduct the survey entirely via the SMS channel. For example, if you specify different response options in the SMS, your customer can simply reply to SMS with 1, 2 or 3, thus communicating their opinion. However, if you want a more comprehensive feedback, it is a good idea to mix the channels and use loading pages, among other things. This way you can include links in the SMS that point to a professional survey tool on a website, where you can get more precise feedback from your customers.

Stay professional

Even if the implementation of SMS measures is relatively simple, there are a few things to keep in mind here. Stay professional, for example. The tonality of an SMS should not differ too much from that in your e-mails. Consistent communication is always important for a uniform brand image. In addition, the SMS should always mention the name of your company and not just the telephone number as the sender. Especially with multi-channel campaigns, it is important to be able to identify who the message originates from so as not to lose track. In addition, the time of dispatch should also be chosen wisely. In many cases, it is advisable to send the message shortly after the purchase or use of a service, as the product is then even more present with the customer, who can give more precise feedback and is generally more willing to give feedback.

Lastly, you should keep it short. Experience shows that time is a precious commodity and many users abandon surveys if they take too long. Even if there is a lot of useful information for them to ask for, they focus on what is most necessary. However, questions that should be included are:

  • How good was the experience?
  • Would the customer recommend the company to others?
  • Would the customer recommend the product?
  • Reference to the submission of a rating at Google Reviews

There is a lot that can be automated

Even if the possibilities of automating SMS marketing do not quite match those of e-mail marketing, there are still many options. With modern solutions, sendings can be linked to various triggers, so that the dispatch is activated e.g. by a certain customer behaviour (purchase, restaurant visit, etc.) or at a pre-defined time (e.g. the customer’s birthday). Integration with e-mail marketing and other digital dialogue channels is also possible. For example, a customer who does not open an e-mail can be sent an SMS instead after a certain time. 

The bottom line

Every feedback counts and has the potential to move your company forward. Therefore, check all possibilities of how you can obtain this valuable information. SMS are an interesting alternative that can score points with high attention from the recipients. Especially the automation of sending makes it easy for large and small companies alike to communicate with customers via this channel, even if there are a few things to be considered.