The last 12 months have been really exciting when it comes to use of text messaging/sms as a tool for customer feedback. At ResponseTek we have always held the opinion that the closer you are in time and channel to the customer experience the better the information you will collect. This has been easy in the web and call center channels but in the retail channel it has been a big problem. However there is good news, there is a quiet revolution happening in retail feedback management that is being led by the European Telco's and they are quickly being followed by other retailers. The revolution focuses on the use of SMS to capture the voice of the customer at the point of purchase.
Text messaging is a great technology for certain types of retailers to collect large amounts of timely information that can be used by the front lines almost every day. In Europe the use of text messaging as a feedback tool is rapidly accelerating as companies move away from more problematic or expensive programs such as outbound calling or receipt back messaging/surveys. It is also very effective, we have seen clients that can expect a 20-30% response rate from text message feedback programs if designed intelligently. The feedback can also be quite rich, with both quantitative and qualitative information being collected across up to 6-10 questions. Where text messaging feedback was an experiment for lots of companies in Europe 12 months ago now it has become their core retail satisfaction monitoring method.
One thing I do still find surprising is that although North America is the icon for the iphone/smartphone generation there is very little (if any) adoption of this exciting technology this side of the pond. Even though this approach is an obvious fit for companies like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc. they don't seem to be connecting the dots yet and continue to spend big on more expensive yet less timely research approaches.
Regardless of the differences in North America and Europe relating to text message feedback programs, what we have seen within clients is proof of a technology and approach that is here to stay and one that can dramatically change the way a company connects with it's customers and employees.