The power of text for gathering customer feedback

OpenMarket – August 3, 2017

The Empathetic Moments blog series

When you need to get in touch with your customers to be there, be useful and be responsive – in time pressured situations – text messaging is a much better channel than things like email and voice calls.

In this blog series, we’ll look at seven different Empathetic Moments – times when brands can win customer loyalty by sending communications that really matter at exactly the right time.

Communication is a two-way thing. Sometimes you want to tell your customers things – ‘Your parcel has arrived!’, ‘It’s 50% off your favorite brand this weekend!’, ‘Here’s your receipt!’.

But there are lots of other times where you want to hear from them. Customer expectations have skyrocketed, so listening to customers is more important than it’s ever been – whether it’s for developing your products and services, improving your customer experience or heading off a customer complaint before it hits social media for all the world to see.

And if you want their feedback, it’s vital you make it easy for them. You want a customer response right at the moment they’re thinking about you and your product or service. That’s when their memory will be freshest, so it’s more likely you’ll get weighty, actionable insight – the good stuff.

And if they’re getting in touch with negative feedback, speed is of the essence – you want to start making up for it now, not once they’ve posted a rant about your company on Twitter.

Why text works

Text is an incredibly powerful communication channel for getting customer feedback. Put simply, texts get read. They have an open rate of 98%, and 90% of those messages are read within three minutes. So, if you’re looking to get feedback right in the moment it matters, no other channel comes close.

The key is convenience. People nearly always have their mobile device close at hand, so they can check and reply to messages quickly. They don’t need to open an app or take an intrusive call to give you the information you need.

And, unlike an email feedback request where the customer might see a list of questions and decide they don’t have time for that right now, you can automate a flow of short format questions that only need one word responses: ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, or a simple 1-5 rating system. It’s much more likely you’ll hold attention.

Customer feedback: texting in action

Let’s say you run hotels and you’re looking for feedback on each guest’s visit so you can see what you’re doing well – and where you need to improve.

There are a whole bunch of bad options for doing this. You can give them a paper form to fill in when they’re checking out. But that’s a stressful time anyway. No one needs the extra hassle.

On the other hand, you could send an email. But with email open rates at 20% (on a good day), you’re missing the vast majority of your customers. And even if they do read it, it might not be till days or even weeks later when they don’t really remember and communicating with you isn’t a priority.

But text is far more likely to cut through. If you send a text asking them for feedback just after checkout, while they’re twiddling their thumbs in a taxi or waiting around at the airport, you’re making it easy for your customer to give you in-the-moment feedback when the experience is fresh in their mind.

That’s exactly what Club Mahindra – the proud owner of 45 luxury resorts in India – did. You can read the full case study of how they increased their customer feedback response rate by 140% here.

Better communication = more empathy

Text is a great channel for anytime you need to find out what your customers really think – so you can help them and so you can keep getting better at what you do. But businesses don’t just need to hear from customers. Getting feedback from employees is just as important to keep your company improving.

And with all the reasons text is great for customer feedback, it works for employee feedback too. Whether it’s company surveys, announcements or even votes or polls, a text message is a quicker, more responsive way to get the information you need than clogging up work emails or adding another meeting to everyone’s busy schedules.

Really, it’s all about empathy. Finding out what people think – and then doing something about it. Only text can deliver such in-the-moment, responsive feedback messages in a fully automated system that can personalize at global scale. That’s why text is the best channel for customer and employee feedback.

To find out how text can help you seize more Empathetic Moments, download the Empathetic Moments workbook.  

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