Tempted to Try SMS Text Message Surveys? Don’t Bother.
I was getting ready to write this article with a prediction that soon you will be inundated with pitches for the latest “innovation” in survey technology, and what do you know, this arrived in my junk mail folder:
TIRED OF LOW CELL PHONE SURVEY RESPONSE RATES?
We offer SMS Text Message Surveys
TCPA Compliant Solution
Supplement Landline and Online Data
The landscape of telephone data collection is changing.
Telephone survey response rates are decreasing.
Take advantage of INCREASING CELL PHONE PREDOMINANCE!
Call or Email for details!
I had not heard of this innovation until I read a new article in Survey Practice by a group of academic researchers in Netherlands. While it often takes ten years for academic researchers to discover new methods of research used in industry, this group actually got ahead of the curve and tested the idea of text-based surveys.
Are text-message surveys (with questions and answers, back and forth, just like an SMS chat) any better than mobile-based online surveys? The answer is no, and if anything, SMS chat surveys might be worse:
- There are no differences in primacy effects (the tendency to pick the first answer option shown)
- There are no differences in people choosing the “don’t know” option
- There are no differences in survey dropout rates
- There are no differences in respondent satisfaction
- The SMS survey leads to fewer words in open-ends
- But the SMS survey took longer for respondents to complete
Of course this is all new stuff, and this is the first research-on-research that I’ve seen regarding SMS text message surveys. In addition, this research does not address whether the technology can increase cell phone response rates, as this new barrage of junk mail claims. But for now, it seems there is no reason to give SMS text message surveys a try. I’m glad our academic colleagues saved me from annoying customers with yet another intrusive (and unnecessary) path into their lives.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.