How to Use SMS to Collect Feedback and Send Review Requests
SMS has a 98% open rate, find out how to use SMS to collect feedback and reviews with a much higher success rate than email in this post.
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SMS marketing is an often overlooked method of gathering feedback and reviews, yet it’s one of the most successful. Not only is it a good option for gauging the sentiment around your business, but SMS is also a cheap method of encouraging customers to leave reviews.
Where other methods of requesting reviews fall short on time, budget, and simplicity, SMS is perfect for getting quick responses from your recent customers.
Within marketing, SMS is one of many tools at your disposal. Compared with other methods, such as email, it eclipses them on metrics of cost, open rates, and conversions.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be using SMS to collect feedback. Let’s take a closer look at how to write an SMS review request as well as the reasons to invest in this underrated mobile marketing tool.
Why SMS is effective for review requests
Customer reviews are essential, especially for small businesses looking to make a name for themselves. The benefits of customer reviews are plentiful and include the ability to:
- Gather feedback to improve products or services
- Use word-of-mouth advertising as a free tool that makes your brand appear more authentic
- Climb rankings as Google uses business reviews to highlight location-based searches
- Measure consumer satisfaction and brand sentiment using data
Using SMS to request reviews brings these benefits to your business faster and with less effort. Here are just a few key reasons why SMS is effective for requesting reviews:
In many ways, the constant connection to our phones is easy to criticize. However, SMS marketing takes advantage of the consumer’s constant interaction with their phone to produce some staggering open rates.
SMS marketing yields an extremely high open rate, especially when compared to other marketing tools. In fact, according to Campaign Motor, texts have a 98% open rate, which pales in comparison to the 22% open rate for emails.
It’s important to still remember that not everyone who opens the message will click through and leave a review, though. This would be the case in an ideal world, but SMS is more focused on placing your messaging where your customer is most likely to see it. It’s thanks to this that SMS records 36% conversion rates compared to email’s 6-7%.
Writing individual messages out manually would be an inefficient use of your time, which is where automation comes in. With the emergence of integration and task management platforms, such as HubSpot and Jira, automation has naturally become part of SMS marketing.
For example, HubSpot has an SMS integration that can be used to send bulk messages to multiple customers. It doesn’t have to be a standardized message to every recipient either. Templates can be set up to personalize names and offers being sent to each individual customer. This automation means that your SMS calls to action can be tailored to the customer.
Using SMS to Collect Feedback saves time in other areas outside of automation. Due to text messages typically being short, you have no choice other than to be efficient in delivering your message. This means less time writing out lengthy email templates to prompt customers to leave a review.
In addition, when looking at the open and conversion rates of email marketing, SMS yields the highest returns for the time invested. If your business switches from emailing review requests to using SMS tomorrow, it would already represent significant savings on time.
How to write review requests
Requesting a review from a customer requires some skill and crafting. This isn’t the same as using SMS marketing for lead generation, where you’re trying to acquire a new customer. When you’re requesting reviews, the recipient is already a paying customer who you’re attempting to turn into a brand ambassador. How should you write an SMS review request then?
Short and snappy
The medium is the message with SMS, owing to its short form. If you were sending the recipient an email, you’d have more room to maneuver. However, your recipient may be deterred from clicking through to your review page if the accompanying message is long-winded and difficult to understand at a glance.
Generic messages could turn your recent customer off as they come across as spammy and half-hearted. Adding the customer’s first name at the beginning of a message or providing a tailored offer are nice touches that go a long way. The goal is to make the customer feel seen and wanted enough to warrant a personalized message.
Call to action
As part of your review request, you should include a direct link to your reviews page. At the end of your message, prompt the recipient to click through to write their review. Without this link included, how many people do you think will manually search for your business to leave their review? A clear call to action is therefore key to reaching the higher conversion rates that SMS yields.
Examples of SMS review requests
Combining all of the above into effective SMS review requests may be difficult, especially if you haven’t used SMS marketing for your business before. Here are some examples that could be used as templates:
“Hi Bob, it was great to serve you in our store today! We hope you come back soon. Would you please consider leaving us an online review? [Insert link] Thank you!”
This example provides you with a basic idea of how an SMS review request should look. Starting with a friendly greeting that can be customized to the individual recipient, the message pushes the user toward the link very quickly. This makes for a short, snappy, and direct message that a customer will understand at a glance.
“Hi Bob, how was your experience in our store today? Please consider giving us a rating between 1 and 5 (with 5 being the best) to let us know about your experience.”
“We value your feedback! Please consider reviewing us online [Insert link]. Thank you!”
This second example opens with a personalized greeting that addresses the customer by name and ends with a clear call to action in the form of a link. It also includes an automated response that only prompts the customer to leave a review once they’ve replied.
This can be helpful to factor into your SMS messaging as it ensures that only customers who have actively interacted over text message receive the link to your review page.
How to send review requests
Once you’ve drafted your templates to send out to customers, you’ll then need to decide on your method of delivering them. Of course, you’re welcome to try sending each message out manually. This may be feasible if you’ve a small customer base or you’re a new business, but more success will mean scaling up your management of SMS.
Choose the right SMS marketing software
Choosing suitable software for managing your SMS communication is the first step. There’s software like 3CX available that can serve as a business phone system, but it may start costing more than it’s worth if you start adding SMS features.
Therefore, it will depend on your business’s requirements when choosing appropriate software. For example, Dialpad starts on a $15 per month subscription, which may be ideal for a small business looking to start using SMS marketing to generate customer reviews.
Alternatively, businesses that rely on a high volume of phone calls would need to consider scaled-up subscriptions.
Ask for the customer’s permission
Photo by Mike Jones: Pexels
To avoid being perceived as spammy or irritable to your customer, ask their permission to communicate via SMS. One customer may only wish to have vouchers or promotional offers sent to them via SMS, while others may prefer no marketing messages at all.
It’s important to respect your customers’ preferences; otherwise, your business runs the risk of being too invasive. Sending multiple review requests to someone who has opted out of SMS communications could result in a review, but it might not be positive.
The goal of maintaining communication with your customers is to extend their customer lifecycle. Therefore, it’s worth leaving those who have opted out alone as it leaves potential for an organic review later down the line that reflects positive consumer sentiment.
Use user-friendly review pages
If you’ve written a successful SMS review request and your customer has clicked through, the process of leaving their review should be seamless. Just as the initial message should be short and sweet, so should your review page.
You may wish to provide some prompts to the user to generate specific reviews:
- How did you find the buying process?
- Is the product or service worth the cost?
- Why did you choose this product or service over others?
- Would you do business with us again?
Be wary of overloading the user with a long list of questions, but one or two prompts can steer the review toward an area of interest. Perhaps you want to gauge whether your product is correctly priced, or you want potential leads to know about the excellent buying experience of your customers.
A quick, painless landing page will give the user a focus for their review while not taking up too much of their time.
Important considerations for SMS review requests
Although SMS marketing has the potential to be successful for your business, there are a few things to consider before deciding on your method of requesting reviews.
While SMS marketing is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, you must still account for the cost. If you’re using VoIP phone systems with an SMS extension, you’ll have a monthly subscription to pay or credits to keep topped up.
On monthly subscriptions, you’ll have a set amount of messages and keywords each month. If you exceed your allowance, you’ll need to consider scaling your subscription up or stopping your SMS review requests.
SMS is, unfortunately, limited to 160 characters per message. This is a short window to grab your user’s attention and deliver your call to action. However, if you have followed the guidelines above, you shouldn’t need more characters to create an effective review request.
The medium itself has limitations as you’re restricted to the written word. Without the use of images, graphics, videos, or sound, your message has to communicate everything that the customer needs in writing.
When asking for feedback, it might not always be positive. If you don’t know how to handle negative customer feedback, it’s always worth preparing yourself for it. If you’re aware that a specific customer has had a bad experience, it may be better to avoid sending them a review request as they might not feel compelled to leave a negative review if left alone.
Modern businesses are continuously moving toward mainframe modernization and integration of different marketing technologies. SMS marketing is simply another string to your bow for reaching customers and encouraging them to leave reviews, yet it’s perhaps the most effective.
Aside from achieving the best open rates of any communication method, customer surveys improve conversion beyond a simple review on Google. Acquiring positive reviews will give your business more authority, so why not reach as many happy customers as possible — Use SMS to Collect Feedback and and invite them to review your business with SMS?