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Why Use Real Time Text Messaging for Customer Feedback?

Apr 1, 2021 | Blog, Text Message

Why Do You Need Customer Feedback? (and why Real Time Text Messaging for Customer feedback?)

Customer feedback is perhaps the most essential information for any business. Knowing what your customers think about your brand can help improve all elements of your business. As Steven Covey said in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

It takes humility to seek feedback. it takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.

You can boost your customer service, optimize internal processes, and enhance the product or service that you provide. More fundamentally, customer feedback helps you retain current customers and improve your business to attract new ones. However, receiving feedback from customers can be difficult. Most companies only hear from 4% of their unhappy customers.

Yet despite this low number, 98% of customers share their bad experiences with their friends and family. Why aren’t you hearing from more of your dissatisfied customers? It could be the result of the methods of feedback you provide.

What Are the Traditional Methods of Obtaining Feedback?

For years, customer satisfaction measurement tools, such as comment cards and online surveys, have been utilized by marketing teams to assess the customer experience and later readjust operations accordingly. These older, traditional methods like telephone surveys, online survey links, point of sale / receipt surveys and paper comment cards have not yielded significant results. This lack of response is because of the way these methods operate and the clumsy way they are generally practiced.

  • Telephone surveys have low response rates because they take time and effort. Also, you receive responses long after the customer’s visit, significantly minimizing the quality of the information and your ability to respond quickly. These phone calls tend to contain way to much unstructured text – very hard to analyze.
  • Online survey links are printed on receipts but are frequently unnoticed. Receipts are usually thrown away just after the customer leaves, which makes participation rates so low it’s challenging to get the response rate needed to make statistically sound conclusions. Online reviews from this source tend to be skewed to the very positive or very negative. By the time the customer gets home and logs into your survey tool, you’ve also lost the chance to address their concerns immediately. We think POS surveys are ineffective.
  • If you’re lucky, paper comment cards will have a response rate in the single digits. There are at least a dozen major issues with comment cards.
  • Messaging apps are OK for customer service messages or customer engagement but not every phone owner has these, nor do they provide valuable feedback

Despite these issues we know that clear feedback is the cornerstone of business improvement. So the question is now how to get the feedback. Let’s talk about SMS.

What is an SMS Message?

SMS is short for “Short Message Service”. Most people use ‘SMS’ or ‘text message’ to describe this. Invented in the 1980s, the SMS is one of the oldest texting functionalities and the most popular. Because SMS messages are sent over a cellular network, they require a cell phone plan in order to be utilized.

SMS messages can only be 160 characters per message. If a message exceeds this limit, it is broken up into multiple parts of 160 characters each. Most carriers will automatically group these messages to guarantee they arrive in the order they are sent. Text is versatile for the business and an adequate tool for appointment reminders, price discounts, product info, a new product awareness campaign, delivery notifications, or even a special offer to a loyal customer.

What are the Benefits of Feedback via Text Messaging?

Text messaging is a more efficient way for businesses to get customer feedback for many reasons. Let’s look at these:

This convenience to the user means that open rates for SMS messages exceeds 99%! And finally, SMS text messaging is almost always included in the users annual plan – so there is no cost to the user.

For a business – this means that enabling surveys through text messaging can help increase your survey’s feedback response rates.

What Does an SMS Survey Look Like?

An SMS survey is a survey that is delivered using the short messaging service (SMS) capability available on all cell phones. Survey questions need to be more basic to be consistent with a quick user response. These would include:

  • Numeric rating (Likert scale) eg. Please rate the customer service experience from 1 through to 5
  • Net Promoter Question (NPS) – a more complex Likert rating using a scale of 0-10.
  • Single choice questions (sometimes referred to as dichotomous questions) eg. Yes / No
  • Open ended feedback eg. Please provide menu suggestions.

A request for feedback sent out by SMS is possible, but must conform to all CAN-SPAM requirements and other privacy laws (mass texting is therefore not a good idea). A safer strategy would be for the business to request feedback via SMS or other methods at the point at which the experience is happening. Often this is achieved via signage. You will notice that SMS is one of four input methods.


Restaurant Table Talker Feedback Signs


When a user elects to deliver quick feedback, they will send in a text as shown above – then the survey process commences with a welcome customer message followed by the questions. The major questions types are shown below.

SMS Survey Question Examples


What Occasions Are Best for SMS Feedback?

On the spot or point of experience feedback is a great place for feedback via SMS. Remember that It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. This means that any feedback delivered out of home, at a business location allows the business to take action – even while the customer is still there.

Remember this is not a casual conversation or comprehensive review so lengthy messages should be avoided. Rather this is quick, actionable feedback. No lengthy messages

How to Get More Feedback Through Text Messaging

Follow these guidelines and manage customer expectations during the location visit to get more responses:

  • Make the feedback request simple, but let the customer decide if they want to participate – do not assume they will.
  • Ask for a simple review of their experience.
  • Do not push any survey requests via SMS, rather let on location signage encourage it.
  • Have the privacy policy on the signage.
  • Make the location keywords highly visible.
  • Have SMS as ONE choice among others. Let the customer decide which feedback method is most convenient.
  • Keep the feedback to less than 2 minutes duration. More time than this will decrease the completion rate.
  • Let low scores deliver a real time alert to the marketing team or business owner – so they can act.
  • Make the response time short and take action on the feedback received.

Should a Business use Texting for Customer Surveys?

Success is not delivering a feature, it is learning how to solve the customer’s problem (Eric Ries, Author of the Lean StartUp)

Not all customers will give you feedback. You can increase their chances of providing it by removing potential obstacles that may prevent them from giving feedback. Utilizing familiar channels like text messaging extends your reach and can increase the amount of feedback you receive. Moreover allows the business to take immediate action.

So the answer is clear – YES. For happier customers a business MUST use SMS as one of the input options for feedback.


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