The power of SMS surveys

As 95.3% of consumers said they would respond to an SMS survey, delivering your brands survey via text message could prove very effective. See our best practice tips below.

7 January 2021

It’s fair to say that 2020 was a challenging year for many. Businesses had to remain agile and adapt to changes, in some cases overnight, in order to continue trading while adhering to government guidelines. Just one example is the introduction of one way systems in shops, restaurants, gyms and even construction sites, to enable staff and customers to maintain social distancing. 

Given that many companies spent a large portion of last year rapidly implementing new protocols, processes and services, as we head into 2021 and strategies are reviewed for the year ahead, it is a great time for businesses to evaluate these changes. 

As has always been the case when evaluating business changes, feedback can be invaluable – if we don’t know what we are doing well as a business, we can’t do more of it and if we don’t know where we’re doing wrong, we can’t correct it – Brian Halligan CEO, HubSpot. This is where harnessing the power of an SMS survey could prove particularly useful. 

What are the benefits of using an SMS survey?

Surveys are a great tool for collecting customer and staff feedback, as they can gather information at mass, in a relatively structured and simple way. And there are many situations where SMS is the most effective survey channel, as there are a lot of benefits to using text messages for delivery and response… 

SMS is convenient for recipients

Not only do 95% of adults in the UK own a mobile, but on average, individuals pick up their mobile 58 times a day. So businesses can send surveys directly to employees and customers alike, giving recipients the opportunity to respond to the survey in their own time, wherever suits them.

Furthermore, as 70% of smartphone users reported increased usage during the pandemic, utilising SMS which is delivered direct to users mobiles, is arguably a better choice now than ever before.  

SMS benefits from increased conversion rates

Businesses using SMS benefit from an average conversion rate of 32% – which is even more impressive considering the average for email is just 3%. So companies conducting an SMS survey, benefit from greater response levels, and thus more data to inform business decisions.

SMS boasts unrivalled reach and speed

As SMS boasts a 95% open rate and the average user response time to an SMS is just 90 seconds, businesses choosing SMS as their channel for survey delivery can be confident that not only will their questions be received by the majority of recipients, but responses are also likely to be received in a very timely manner.  

Ultimately the aim of any survey is to receive reliable, actionable customer feedback and as 95.3% of consumers said they would respond to a text survey, harnessing the power of SMS could prove very effective for businesses committed to collecting customer and staff feedback.

Also, we understand that SMS surveys may be new for some companies, so please see below our 6 best practice tips for creation and send.

Best practice tips for SMS surveys

1. Start with an introduction

Whether you wish to conduct the survey internally or externally, introducing your brand or business and including an explanation as to why you are running the survey, adds credibility to your message and improves the likelihood of response.

2. Keep your survey brief

A single SMS is 160 characters and while it is possible to send longer messages, we recommend that the entire survey consists of no more than 4 – 5 questions and each is kept concise. Afterall, you want recipients to remain engaged throughout and complete the entire survey. 

3. Make your required answer clear

To maximise the potential data of any survey, it makes sense to include different questions types. For example, asking recipients to rate something from 1 – 10 or reply with a simple Y or N. Whatever the type of response required, brands need to make sure this is clear to recipients.

4. Personalise your SMS survey

Personalising your SMS survey can be achieved in a number of ways with TextAnywhere. Your survey could include a customer’s name, or details of their recent purchase, or companies could even use branching logic, to take respondents on different survey routes depending on how they respond to individual questions. 

If for instance, one of your questions asks customers how successful they believe the implementation of your new online services have been on a scale of 1 – 10? 1 being poor and 10 being fantastic. All of those who respond with an answer between 1 – 6, can be sent a follow up question asking them to provide some detail for their previous answer. Whereas those who respond with a score between 7 – 10 can simply move onto the next question.

5. Test different send times

As send time can have a large impact on engagement rate, we recommend testing different send times with target audiences. The most effective send times will depend on things like audience demographics and the type of relationship a brand has with its customers. For example, if this relationship is more professional, it may be that the best time is during the morning, Monday – Friday. But for B2C businesses who may have a more informal relationship with customers, sending over the weekend may be more appropriate. Ultimately the only way to find out for sure, is to test different send times and monitor the response. 

6. Incentivise your survey

Where possible, it is always worth offering an incentive to recipients for their valuable time and feedback. Brands can offer a discount on future purchases or even entry into a prize draw. Afterall, the feedback provided could prove insightful and it’s likely to boost survey engagement.

Finally, if you’d like some inspiration for your own business survey, see our post – 15 SMS survey ideas that could improve your business, and if you would like any help creating or sending an SMS survey, please contact one of our experienced team at [email protected].

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