Getting Social With SMS

Your 160 characters can say so much to your customers, and vice versa

Human beings are social creatures, and the mobile communications age has opened up more opportunities than ever for people to chat with each other. However, it seems that some forms of communication are dominating the hearts and minds of the people. For instance, recent polls show that roughly half of smartphone users out there prefer texting people to calling them.

This fact should be seen by businesses as an opportunity to build good customer relations via SMS. Here’s why making it easy for customers to send feedback via text is a darn good idea, as well as how businesses can implement it.

SMS Summed Up

SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service, and also referred to as “text messaging”. By using SMS, you can send messages of up to 160 characters, and if the message is somehow longer, it will automatically be split up into several parts. Just about every smart phone supports this format.

Unfortunately, not only is it 160 characters as opposed to 160 words, the actual working character count is 140, which is how Tweets are sent, with those first 20 characters saved for including the sender’s name.

SMS Feedback Is A Valuable Tool

In order for a business to keep growing, it needs to not only get new customers, it must retain the older ones. Businesses need to adapt to the changing climate, or perish. Text messaging is a great way of ascertaining which way the wind is blowing because it presents a convenient, fast way for customers to give you their feedback in real-time.

By giving customers the means of providing maximum engagement with minimal effort, your business can get a good idea of what’s working and what’s not, and making changes accordingly. Besides, sending texts is eco-friendly, replacing those useless comment cards that more often than not end up either as trash or doubling as ninja throwing stars.

Ways To Use SMS To Get Customer Feedback

Here are four ways that you can use text messaging to solicit feedback from your customers. If you find this useful, why not read “SMS Surveys To Satisfy Customers” for more information?

Product Preference. This is a simple one, but in the long run, it can spare you the grief (and expense!) of stocking up on something that people don’t want. This can be a simple text question like “Which of the two running shoe brands would you be most likely to buy?”, and provide them with two or three answers. After all, you don’t want to make it too elaborate!

Support Follow-Up. This one’s good to use on customers who use your services, and you want to know how much they liked your company’s efforts. A simple query for feedback using a scale from 1 to 5 can give you a good idea of how effective your customer service is.

Contests, Prizes, And Giveaways

Who doesn’t like these things? Offer free passes, exclusive deep discounts, or brand merchandising if the customer responds with the correct answer to a question of the day, or something like that.

Outright Asking For Product Feedback

This one’s a bit more of a risk, since it requires a little more involvement on the part of the customer, and they may not want to bother. Ask the customer to click on a provided link to a new product or service, and ask that they send you their impressions of it. Who knows, maybe you sweeten the pot a little by offering a discount to the item in question if the customer responds.

There are more methods out there, but the above constitute a good start. Once you get SMS down pat, check out the article “Creating Cross Channel Synergy With Social Media, Text And Email” to incorporate it into other forms of customer outreach.