Thursday, 16 February 2017

SMS vs. IVR – which channel is the survey response winner?

SMS vs. IVR – which channel is the survey response winner?

Research on Research

Assessing the most applicable research method for your survey, broadly comes down to a few key criteria. Notably, the volume of questions to be posed, the time to obtain insights, the mechanism of distribution and the type of required feedback – quantitative, qualitative or blended. Two such channels are Short Message Service (SMS) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR).


IVR surveys are often positioned immediately after a consumer engagement. For example, following a call centre conversation for a banking, utilities or telecoms query. IVR surveys can however be counter intuitive when used in a structured Customer Experience Engagement. This is largely due to them being impersonal, lengthy and often unprompted by the consumer. Whilst IVR offers the researcher the opportunity to pose more questions, these surveys often negate the wider consumer engagement need of personal and timely engagement. They are also often not in a channel of the consumer’s choice.

SMS response rates

Comparing the survey response rates of IVR vs. SMS, our own research studies conclude that SMS outstrips IVR by a factor of 2:1. Due to its short question base and intimate and immediate engagement with consumers, SMS yields a higher response rate. With 80% of survey responses received within 2 hours of transmission. Not only that, but they are delivered directly to consumers in their channel of choice – the mobile. Consumers immediately feel affinity with the surveying brand. Due to the SMS survey taking them little time to respond and being received in a fully branded and rendered format. Once more, they don’t feel as if their time is being hijacked, further compelling them to respond.

Blended survey responses

A further and key benefit of SMS over IVR is that respondents by a factor of 9:1 are more likely to share open ended text responses. Predictive texting supports a positive survey experience therefore massively increasing the respondent’s motivation to send a pertinent and at times lengthy open ended response.

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