Tag Archive for customer feedback survey

Will Text Messaging Surveys Replace Traditional Surveys?

message surveys
Probably not in the near future, but they can be a beneficial supplement to your current survey strategy.


Admit it, you are one of the 72% of smartphone owners who report checking their phone at least once an hour. With 9 in 10 adults owning a cellphone,  text messaging (SMS) has become the communication norm for most of the U.S. population. Text messaging appears to be a useful way to contact survey respondents, particularly those who tend to have lower response rates with traditional survey methods, such as young adults.

But according to Gallup’s research, text messaging is not yet ready to replace traditional surveys. This mode of contact has legal limitations, yields lower response rates than telephone surveys and restricts question length. So don’t use it as your only means of contacting your audience, but do use it as a supplements.

How Text Message Surveys Work

Text message surveys can be administered in two different ways:

The first option is to text questions and answers back and forth, which works well because anyone with a cellphone can respond. But there are significant limitations. Questions are limited to 160 characters, including the question wording and response options. Messages that are longer than 160 characters are broken into segments. While some devices rebuild the messages so that they appear as one cohesive message, messages may not be received in the correct order.

The number of questions must also be kept to a minimum. Questions and responses are sent one at a time, and research finds that respondents tend to lose interest more quickly than with other modes of data collection.

The second option is to text respondents a link to a web survey they can complete from the browser on their phone. Although this option gives researchers greater flexibility with question wording, about 25% of the population does not own a smartphone and will be unable to launch a web survey, and those who do have a smartphone may have to use or pay for data to complete the survey.






Experiments Reveal the Pros and Cons of Text Message Surveys

Gallup conducted two experiments to test the effectiveness of text message surveys.

In the first experiment, they wanted to see how an SMS survey compares with a telephone survey in terms of response rates and substantive responses. There were 3 treatment groups: a traditional telephone survey administered by a live interviewer, a text message survey or a text message with a link to a web survey. Two questionnaire lengths were also tested: 5 questions and 12 questions.

Results – Response rates for the SMS-to-web surveys (12% for 5 questions and 11% for 12) and SMS-only surveys (12% for 5 questions and 13% for 12) were significantly lower than response rates for phone surveys (38% and 41%).

In the second experiment, Gallup tested sending survey invites and reminders to Gallup Panel members via email and text message. Respondents were randomly assigned to 1of 3 treatment groups: email and text invites and reminders, email invites and reminders only, and text invites and reminders only. All emails and text messages directed respondents to a web survey.

Results – Response rates were highest when using a combination of email and text reminders. This finding is consistent with other research, which has found that employing a variety of contact methods can increase the likelihood of participation.

It appears that surveys deployed over email are among the best and easiest to supplement with text messaging. At the most basic level, texts can be used as a reminder/delivery system for web surveys. A study by Mavletova & Couper (Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (2014) 2, 498-518) indicates that surveys sent via email got a much higher response rate when they were accompanied by a text reminder. Even more effective is to use text to deliver the web survey directly. Because 53% of emails are opened on phones, making sure your survey is mobile compatible. By serving the link directly through text, you can remove the need for them to take any intermediary action between receiving the reminder text and beginning the survey.


Currently, the major obstacle for conducting a survey via text message is obtaining the consent to send a message. This legal barrier greatly limits the scope for conducting text surveys.

It is important to note that FCC regulations make it illegal for companies to send text messages without expressed consent. This means Gallup or its clients must have explicit consent from respondents before sending them a text message survey. Simply having permission to contact the respondent via cellphone is not enough. Individuals must give consent to be contacted via text message, which is a major obstacle for most survey projects.



How to Craft the Perfect Customer Satisfaction Survey

customer feedback survey





Let’s start with the most basic question…What exactly is a Customer Satisfaction Survey?

While they can come in many different forms, customer satisfaction surveys are used to gauge how your customers feel about your company or reveal details about an experience with your company. This knowledge is crucial and knowing how your customers feel about your product, services, and team is imperative to understanding how to grow as a company and improve customer experiences.

Why Conduct Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

If you don’t allow your customers a place to complain, you risk them doing so to all their friends, family, or anyone who will listen. And this negative feedback can break a business. It’s been said that angry customers will tell 9 of their friends about their bad experience. Regardless of the specific number, you know that you’re much more likely to talk about a frustrating experience than a mildly positive one.

How do you Create a Successful Customer Satisfaction Survey?

There are several different styles of questions that can be asked on a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The first type is a simple Yes/No distinction:

  1. Was your experience satisfying?
  2. Did our product meet expectations?
  3. Did this article provide the answer you were seeking?
  4. Did you find what you were looking for?

The benefit of this is its simplicity. Most customers will only spend a few minutes filling out a survey so you want to gather as much information as you can before they lose interest and abandon ship.

Scale Questions

While Yes/No questions are easiest and quickest to answer, they do not provide the meaty responses that tell you how customers really feel. Almost all popular satisfaction surveys are based on scale questions.

Ask a question like “How satisfied are you with your experience?” and provide a scale. The survey scale could be comprised of numbers or you could use labels, such as “strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree.”



There are many pros to using scale questions.

  • It’s pretty standard and your customers will completely understand what to do when presented with the question.
  • You can very easily segment your data to make decisions based on individual survey responses.
Open-Ended Questions

While scale questions are important, they still don’t allow for qualitative insights. In other words, they don’t get at the “why” of an experience, only the “what.”

Open ended questions allow customers to speak freely about a product or experience and allow you to gain more feedback regarding what needs improving or what is working well.

Some examples include:

  • What do you like most about our new product?
  • What changes would most improve our new product?
  • What other products would you like to see in our store?
  • Would you recommend our products to a friend/family           member?
  • Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Following Up on Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Now that you’ve got insights on your customer satisfaction levels, what do you do with the data?

Follow up with survey respondents. The most important and oftentimes most-ignored step in a successful customer satisfaction survey campaign is contacting the valuable customers that complete your satisfaction survey. Making sure your team acknowledges and thanks anyone that completed the survey is critical to ensuring that customers will continue to provide you feedback — because it’s about building trust and showing them value.

You can’t always change your methods or practices to please all customer feedback, but you can address every piece of feedback that comes through in some way. Providing a response, even if what the customer is requesting is not something you will do, is always better than no response at all.

One of the biggest mistakes is putting all that effort into data collection and analysis, and then not acting on it. We collect data to make informed decisions in order to grow our business.

Ready to get the ball rolling? Start with a simple survey and ask customers how their experience was.


No Survey For You!


I’m a fan of customer feedback surveys – when done correctly, companies can gain some very valuable feedback. Does your company have consistently glowing feedback, with little to no negativity? Before you pat yourself on the back, make sure the way customers are being invited to take the survey are truly collecting information that is not skewed in any way.


Below are a few real life examples that have surprised me to see, causing me to wonder what the data collection looks like on the back end.


1. “No survey for you!” – I was recently waiting in line to complete a transaction. I overheard the employee ask a guest several people ahead of me how they would rate his service. She replied, “good” and he asked for a number between one and ten, with ten being the highest. Awkward, right?


She says “I guess a ten. It was good” and I watched him print the receipt, circling the QR code at the bottom of the survey. He then encouraged her to take the survey and share her rating there.


Being in the industry I am, I was thankful that I had customers ahead of me to watch what happens next. The next three customers were asked the same question, and the process repeated – receipt, QR code circled, mentioned the survey.


The woman in front of me was having a bad day, and was not happy with the wait. When it came time to answer the question, she shared her displeasure with the wait and that there was not more help. He asked her to clarify with a number and she said, “Maybe a 4 or 5.”


Can you guess what happened next?


The employee printed the receipt, handed it to her, and wished her a good day. No circling on the receipt, no mention of the survey. I’m sure the QR code was there, but it wasn’t highlighted or mentioned in any way, maybe in hopes that this customer wouldn’t take it.


2. “I really need a raise” – another example is similar to the one above. While making a purchase at a retail store, the cashier ends the transaction by asking if I had a good experience. She then asks me to complete a survey and rate her high because the company is looking at the results and will be basing raises for the new year on the results. She writes her name on the receipt and asks me to give her a good review because “she really could use the extra money.”


3. “Please don’t tell me how I feel, or stretch the truth” – One cashier ended the transaction by circling the URL at the bottom of the receipt, explaining that if I give the company a 9 or 10 rating, I will entered into a monetary drawing.


Having shopped at this store for a long time, I know they’ve had the monetary drawing for a while now; adding the “rate us high and you’ll be entered” send a couple of wrong messages. One, they only want the high ratings, and two, the only way you could be entered is to give a high rating. So what if I give them a 5? Do they throw out my response? Or do they keep it but I don’t get a chance to win?


The best way to get the most accurate feedback is to make sure employees are encouraging customers to take the survey during each and every transaction. It’s good, in theory, to tie incentives to the results, but be careful of how that translates with your staff. As an additional measure, incorporate this type of information into your performance reviews or mystery shopping program – incorporate a question that asks if the employee mentioned the feedback survey, and if so, if it was handled objectively.


Feedback is great when collected correctly; make sure your invitations come with no strings attached!