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Customer satisfaction surveys: Best practices for sending CSAT, CES, and NPS via SMS

Nina Godlewski
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Keeping your customers happy is one of the main goals for business owners because in the end, it means more business and more profits. While you may hear feedback from customers on a weekly or even daily basis, customer satisfaction surveys are the best way to get quantifiable data around your business. Whether you use a CSAT, NPS, or maybe even a custom survey, you’ll get the information you need to better your business.

Why are customer satisfaction surveys important?

Ultimately, a survey could be important because it helps you make a business decision, like whether to start a customer referral program. They can also serve as a measure of business growth or success that isn’t specifically tied to revenue. Plus, they help you understand how your customers see your business, and they offer specifics for you to work off of.

Or a survey can simply lend you new information about your customers. You might learn that your customer satisfaction team needs some improvements, or learn of a bug on your website during customer checkout. No matter what it is, customer satisfaction surveys have the power to help you learn some significant new information. The key though is listening to what your customers have to say, and then taking action.

Why send the surveys via SMS?

Business text messaging has some of the highest response rates of any communication channel. The response rate for SMS is about 45 percent, which is much higher than the average with most other channels.

Message reply icon with 45 percent
The response rate for SMS is about 45 percent.

That makes SMS one of the best channels to send your customer satisfaction surveys. Your customers are simply most likely to answer a survey sent via text.

Best practices for sending customer satisfaction surveys via text

Before you get to texting your customers try and define your goal in sending the surveys in the first place. This goal will act as your guide to help you determine the best practices for sending your surveys. It’ll also help you determine which survey to actually use.

Your goal might be to simply get a response. Or you might have a larger goal, like to determine whether or not your customer service team is resolving customer problems. If you’re looking to grow, your goal might be to decide whether to start a customer referral program. Each goal would require a different survey and comes with different best practices than the others do.

Here we’ll cover the best practices when implementing a customer satisfaction survey via SMS.

Consider the timing

You should always consider the timing of any business text you send, and customer satisfaction surveys are no exception. The timing of your survey will be what determines whether it’s relevant enough for your customer to fill it out. Your surveys do you no good if nobody answers them, so give some major consideration to your timing.

There are two common scenarios for when you might be sending customer satisfaction surveys:

  1. After an interaction or purchase: Companies will frequently send surveys immediately following interactions or purchases. This is when the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind.
  2. As a check-in after some time: If you offer a service or product that’s used over time, waiting a bit to send a survey might be better for you. Once enough time has passed that the customer has had a chance to use the product or reflect on the experience. This is most common among companies that offer something used over time like software or an app, or even services that require multiple interactions or visits. You can also send surveys on a periodic basis to conduct research on a monthly or yearly recurrence.

Introduce yourself

When you send a survey you want to be sure your customer will know who’s messaging them in the first place. So when you write the text to accompany the survey, remember to mention who you are.

Text message example of introducing yourself before sending a survey
Always mention who you are when sending a customer survey.

Your customers might not have your contact information saved to their phone. A quick “Hi this is [insert company name]” can go a long way. Customers prefer to have their experiences personalized, 80 percent of customers say they’re more likely to spend money with companies that personalize their experience.

Use the right survey

You’ll also need to choose which survey you plan to text to your customers. As we mentioned this is going to depend on your goal. In general, if you’re looking to determine whether a customer is happy with an interaction they had with your business there are a few options for you. In this scenario, a CSAT, NPS, or CES survey might be best. Both of those options will give you a look into the experience your customer had with your business.

Be prepared for good and bad

If you’re asking your customers for feedback you have to accept the fact that it might not all be positive. Some of the best feedback comes from happy customers and those wins should be noted. Keep in mind that happy and unhappy customers alike might not take the time to respond to surveys.

The unhappy customers are those you want to find with your surveys. Half of all customers say they’d switch to a competitor after one bad experience, so finding those customers and resolving their experiences can help prevent that loss. It can also help you change operations to prevent similar situations from happening in the future. That negative feedback might be hard to take, but it can better your business when used in the right way. So the best thing to do is make sure you’re ready for negative feedback when it comes and know how you’ll respond.

What next? What steps to take after you conduct your surveys

Once you’ve conducted your surveys you’re going to want to put the information you’ve received to work. That means following up with the bad and maybe taking the good to the next step. You should also consider how else you’re going to connect with your customers via text outside of sending surveys.

Following up with the bad feedback

There are a few things you should do when you receive bad feedback through a survey from your customer.

First, take a look at the feedback and determine whether you have all of the information you need to solve the problem. If not, reach out to the customer regarding the latest survey and connect with them.

Secondly, when you do reach out to your customer, own the mistake and apologize. Third, offer a solution, or potentially a discount or offer for their next purchase. That way you might be able to salvage a customer relationship you might otherwise lose. Be sure to thank your customer for using the survey to bring the issue to your attention.

Fourth, make sure you take their feedback to heart, and use it to improve operations within your business. That way you can hopefully better the process for other customers, and avoid a repeat mistake.

Following up with good feedback

If you get good feedback from a customer, congratulations! The first thing for you to do is figure out what you or your business did well to garner that positive feedback. Next, share that feedback with your team to reinforce what went right with that customer’s experience. File that information away and keep up the good work.

Third, reach out to these customers as well to thank them for taking the time for their feedback. You might also consider asking them to leave you a public review about their positive experience to help garner more business. If you have the ability, offer them a small discount to use for their next purchase.

Text message example of following up after a survey with a coupon
Thank your customers who give you feedback with surveys, and consider offering a small coupon.

Fourth, consider using this as a way to create an open line of communication with that customer in the future. They can help provide more consistent feedback if they’re a repeat customer. The positive feedback might also be a good chance for you to suggest further purchases or services for your customers. This could end up earning you more business in the long run.

Connecting with customers

Lastly, make sure you’re connecting with your customers outside of surveys. You should connect with them on other occasions too, like during sales, or simply on a periodic basis. Texting your customers to offer them a discount for a special occasion or simply as a sign of appreciation can go a long way. All of this can help make your customers feel like your company sees them as a whole person rather than a customer who can simply give feedback on surveys.

Text message example of checking in with customers
Checking in with customers regularly can create a more consistent line of two-way communication.

Best practices: The bottom line

When it comes down to it you want to make sure the surveys you’re sharing with your customers can help you keep customers happy. The result might be that you find a flaw in your business that can be resolved, or you learn about a new process you should put in place.

Overall conducting regular surveys can help better your business, and following the best practices listed above can help you conduct those surveys in the best way possible.

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