How to use SMS

Ultimate Guide to SMS Surveys: Everything You Need to Know

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Are you often curious about your customers’ purchase patterns?

Why are they not purchasing from you despite glorious reviews? 

A quick SMS survey will give you all the answers you need. 

In this guide, you will find best practices, challenges, and procedures for conducting a successful SMS survey. 

Read on to execute your next SMS survey like a pro.

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See: Choosing the Best Survey Method for Your Business: SMS Surveys or Email Surveys?

What are SMS surveys?

What are SMS Surveys | A mobile screen displaying various types of survey SMSes

SMS survey is a survey you execute using SMS.

Here’s how it works. 

You text your survey questions to your audience, and they respond via the same channel. 

Instead of adding the question directly to the SMS, you can sometimes add a link to an online survey.

SMS surveys help you collect critical customer feedback for your business. It is also the simplest method to execute a survey.

How can SMS surveys help you?

Benefits of SMS surveys for your business

SMS surveys benefit your business in more than one way. Here are some of the benefits of SMS surveys:

  • SMS survey is cost-effective: Unlike phone calls and emails, using bulk SMS to send surveys gives you a financial edge.
  • SMS surveys are easy to set up: They’re short and straightforward. Also, you don’t need to design any email or landing page.
  • SMS survey increases customer engagement: Customers want to know that you appreciate their opinion. SMS surveys make this fast and easy.
  • SMS surveys help reach your target audience: You can reach any class of people because your customers do not need the internet to respond.
  • SMS survey helps collect accurate data: SMS surveys are non-intrusive. This makes your customers more inclined to respond.

So how do you plan and execute an SMS survey that gives you useful data?

Let’s explore how you can do this.

How to plan effective SMS surveys

How to plan effective SMS Surveys | Group of people planning for SMS surveys in the office

Much to your luck, planning an effective SMS survey is not rocket science. 

But a little work will help your customers respond as needed.

Step 1: Determine survey objectives 

SMS surveys tend to be short. Therefore, your objective should be razor-sharp and hyperspecific.

What would you like to achieve from the SMS survey? 

For example, are you looking to learn about your business or customers? Do you need increased brand awareness or better social media following? 

Set your goals and objectives at the very beginning.

Also, ensure you’re ultra-specific. Yes, we first said hyperspecific, but you must go beyond that to get good results.

Step 2: Identify the target audience

Your entire list may not be eligible to respond to a survey about the products they purchased in the past month. 

Segment your audience based on the objectives you want to achieve.

Step 3: Choose the right questions 

Your questions should be short. Every character on an SMS screen counts. Avoid vague sentences and structures. 

You must also use easily understandable language. To ensure this, you can aim for a readability score of 6 or below.

Check out our list of 15 SMS survey templates.

Step 4: Use appropriate response options 

This includes the CTAs you add. You can ask your customer to enter a response on a Likert scale. A good example is an NPS SMS survey.

Alternatively, you can provide them with multiple-choice questions. Make sure you decide on a specific option.

Step 5: Time your surveys 

Send the survey at a time of the day they’d be more ready to respond. Also, ensure it’ll be fast and easy for them to respond.

Checkout out our article on the best time to send promotional SMS.

Consider this scenario. 

If you have three open-ended questions in your survey that require 2 minutes to type an answer, your customer will take 6 mins to complete writing and an additional 1-2 mins to read it. That’s if they chose to sacrifice that much time for a survey.

But your customers will be more willing if your survey has three multiple-choice questions.

With the basics covered, ensure you give your customers the option to opt out of the survey. This tells them you care enough about them that they can leave the survey if they decide.

Once you plan your SMS survey, next comes its implementation. 

Also Read: 10 Top SMS Survey Tools to Try Right Now

How to execute an SMS survey with SMSCountry (an SMS survey tool)

Once you have the objective clear and your target audience sorted, all that is left is to create the survey on your software and automate it.

We’ll show you how to do it on SMSCountry, a business text messaging platform. 

Step 1: Get your virtual mobile number (VMN)

SMSCountry offers 2-way SMS back-and-forth communication. The option is ideal for collecting responses to surveys. 

Contact the support team at SMSCountry to get your virtual mobile number (VMN) approved and set up. You will also need to inform the team about the keyword you’d use to track the reports of your SMS survey.

Step 2: Sender ID and login

Sender ID and login | SMSCountry signup page

The next step is to get your sender ID. To run your SMS survey in India, register with a DLT operator and get your sender ID and content template approved. 

However, if you are surveying internationally, most countries do not require a pre-registered sender ID. Still, before sending your SMS survey to customers in foreign countries, review the SMS regulations for the country.

As you get all the basics sorted, the next step is to log in to your registered account.

Step 3: Text SMS

Text SMS | SMSCountry compose text sms dashboard screen

After you’re logged into your SMSCountry account, select “Text SMS” from your dashboard. 

Next, select “Compose SMS.” A screen with blank fields should now be visible to you.

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Step 4: Composing the SMS

Composing the SMS | SMSCountry compose sms dashboard screen

Fill in the required fields on the form. You can pick a pre-approved message template to re-use by selecting “Pick Template.”

Make sure to add the VMN at the end of the message. This will route the message through the right channel.

You can send the survey immediately or schedule it for later.

Step 5: Collecting and analysing data

Collecting and analysing data | check reports by selecting the keyword inbox on SMSCountry dashboard

From the same dashboard, select “Reports”. 

Next, select “Keyword Inbox.” 

Add your filter, and a set of reports will be displayed. 

You can download the Excel reports and apply all Excel analytical functions to the data collected.

There you have it.

Running your SMS survey is very easy with SMSCountry

If you don’t already use SMSCountry, contact our team to book a demo to walk your through how SMSCountry makes using SMS super easy and productive. 

Best practices for SMS surveys 

Group of people discussing on Best practices for SMS surveys 


Before you send out your next text survey, knowing and following these best practices will put you in a position to get the best results.

1. Keep surveys short and sweet

Longer surveys will bore your customers. This will lead to lower response rates. To avoid this, keep your survey questions concise. 

Also, include fewer questions and hint how long it may take to complete the survey so you can keep the customer’s interest intact.

Check out our list of 15 sweet SMS survey templates that you can copy and use. 

2. Offer incentives

Rewards can trigger the brain to respond more to the survey. After all, you only ask for a few minutes in exchange for something meaningful. 

Figure out if you want to offer financial or non-financial incentives. Financial incentives may include coupons and giveaways your customers can redeem or use. 

Examples of non-financial incentives include samples and subscriptions or memberships in the loyalty program. 

Offering either will help to increase the response rate of your surveys. 

3. Protect participants’ privacy 

Protect the participant’s privacy by explaining to them how you will use or record their responses. You can do this by working the message into the intro of your survey. This will also add credibility to your survey.

Alternatively, you can add the option to opt out of the survey at the end. This tells your customers that you value their privacy.

Protect participants' privacy 

4. Make the survey user-friendly

Surveys with ambiguous and long-winding questions will bore your customers. Plus, they will be less inclined to respond to future surveys from you. 

Design your surveys as though you were writing for 6th or 7th graders. The clear and straightforward language will get you more results.

Plus, if you intend to send your customers away from the SMS to an online page make sure it is mobile-friendly.

5. Avoid common mistakes

Anything you do that is not in line with the best practices will automatically become a mistake. 

This includes forgetting to set an objective, sending too many SMS, or informing the customer of data policies. 

You should also watch out for the following:

  • Texting at odd hours: Ensure you send your surveys between 9 am-5 pm. Living in the same city as your customers, this might be easy. If you don’t, then employ software to automate the process.
  • Launching into the survey without a reminder: If significant time has elapsed since you took consent, remind your customers what they signed up for. It will jog their memory and prepare them to expect the survey.
  • Becoming super-formal: Brands have an image, so let it shine through your SMS survey. But don’t overdo it. Craft a message that uses transitional words. Keep your message formal but add personality.  
  • Forgetting to shorten the URL: Use link-shortening tools like Bitly to shorten your URLs so they don’t take up the space in your SMS. This will save space in your SMS.   

With best practices covered, you might face challenges while running your SMS surveys. 

Don’t worry. We got you covered.

Common challenges in SMS surveys and how to solve them 

Once you follow the best practices and avoid common pitfalls, you cover all the bases.

But challenges may pop up without prior intimation. Here are some of them.

1. Low response rates

You worked hard on designing the perfect SMS survey, but your sms survey response rate is low. 

This could happen because something about the SMS survey is not inspiring a response. 

Check for the following to fix the situation:

  • The SMS is not personalised: Customers pay attention to SMS that addresses them by their names. If you have sent out a survey without one, consider sending one with the recipients’ names.
  • The survey is not valuable to the customer: Responding to a survey is a selfless task that your customers may need some incentive to do. Consider offering some reward for the time they spend. 
  • The customer does not receive the SMS: Double-check the time of sending and resend the message appropriately to garner a response. But if your customer has decided to opt out, remove them from your SMS list.

2. Inconsistent data quality

It may emerge if you have open-ended questions. Your customers will have different responses. Some may answer in single letters, while others may type entire sentences.

To correct this problem, create surveys that have multiple-choice questions. Survey questions with fast responses are available to the customers. This way, you eliminate many data issues.

3. Technical glitches 

Technical glitches can occur when mobile networks lack coverage, the transmission between networks is off, or your SMS platform has problems.

To correct this problem, contact your mobile network operator and discuss the problem. If there is no immediate resolution for network congestion, your operator should be able to give you a tentative time to start sending messages.

On the other hand, if your messaging app is not working properly, check the user manual that comes with your application. If this doesn’t work, contact your app support for a quick resolution.

For a glitch-free SMS survey campaign, use SMSCountry.

Let’s look at some examples of SMS surveys.

4 uses cases and examples of SMS surveys

You can take advantage of SMS surveys in several ways. Below are some use cases with relevant text message survey examples.

1. SMS voting

Gathering votes and tallying them via SMS is convenient, especially if you are dealing with many people. 

For instance, if you want to run a poll at a contest, you would send the following:

SMS voting | A mobile screen displaying  SMS Voting template

2. SMS surveys for churn

Usually, an SMS is sent to customers who have purchased. But if you want to know why your customer has yet to do so in a while, an SMS survey might help.

For example, if you are a clothing outlet and some of your customers have stopped purchasing over a long period of time, consider sending the following:

SMS surveys for churn | A mobile screen displaying  SMS surveys for churn template

You can add a link to an online survey page or let your customer reply through SMS.

3. Survey for customer satisfaction

This helps your business understand where you stand with your customers. You can launch this survey at any time. Businesses employ this survey to find areas of improvement and compare locations. 

In other words, it is your customer’s happiness index. And should get completed quickly through a text-based survey.

Survey for customer satisfaction | A mobile screen displaying survey for customer satisfaction template

Add the link to the page where you have your questionnaire.

4. Survey for feedback

Feedback surveys can take many forms. 

As a business, you could look for feedback after a purchase or after your customer connects with customer service. 

 Survey for feedback | A mobile screen displaying survey for feedback template

If you arranged an event or webinar, you would look for participant feedback once you get done. Consider sending the following:

Consider adding a link at the end leading to a webpage.

5. Survey for logistics

If you are a logistics business, you will seek delivery feedback. Consider sending the following:

Survey for logistics | A mobile screen displaying survey for logistics template

A feedback survey will give you the necessary insight into all the above cases.

Gear up to conduct the best surveys with SMSCountry

That’s all we have for this blog.

This guide provides you with all the essential guidelines for your next campaign.

Use this guide as a plan, or create your checklist to keep track of things.

Like any powerful tool, SMS surveys need suitable SMS service providers to automate the process.

Looking for the ideal SMS service provider for your business? Look no further.

SMSCountry is your best bet.  

Sign-up for free now or schedule a demo to test the features of SMSCountry. 

Our team will love to help you with your surveys.

Join 3,200+ businesses like yours, already generating massive ROI from SMS with SMSCountry.

Talk to an Expert ↗

Reach out to book a demo, ask SMS-related questions or get help from our team 24/7

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Get to know more about SMSCountry. We offer complete SMS solutions for your communication needs.

Uroosa Kanwal

I thought my destiny was somewhere in the numbers! As I sat in front of the screen frantically coding in Oracle and Linux for my finals💻. Later, I gravitated towards financial roles and always imagined myself secluded in a room behind rolls of parchment ticking off numbers and taking inventory📜. That was back in 2012. Now I use all of these experiences to help you understand software tools, and the world of customer communication.

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