If you hadn’t heard of the concept of getting customer feedback via SMS then you’re not alone. Neither had we until we heard about Message The Manager. Our first thought was that it’s unusual, quickly followed by the realisation that this could be a very helpful tool for many B2C businesses.
We’re always told to listen to our customers but unfortunately, in this social media age, the first time that many businesses hear about complaints is when they scan the likes of Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor and see what their customers are saying about them.
If the comments are complementary then that’s great but if they aren’t then it becomes a case of fire fighting, responding to the customer in a public attempt to placate them and resolve whatever issue they had. It’s vital that businesses do this but it would be fantastic if these unhappy customers could be intercepted before posting their complaint online.
This is where Message The Manager and their SMS feedback tool could come in.
Imagine that you run a restaurant and have an SMS feedback number. One of your customers has dined in your restaurant and been disappointed by the slow service and general hurried apology from your waiter. At the end of the meal they’re given a little card asking for their feedback via text. On the way home they text their complaint to the number. Within 10 minutes you’ve sent a text back, apologising, and offering 20% off their next meal where you promise that the service will be faster.
Suddenly you’ve gone from having an unhappy diner who was going to post a negative review on TripAdvisor once they arrived home to a diner who’s impressed by the quick response and is happy to give your restaurant another go. People expect superb customer service these days – an SMS tool could be the next step to give you an edge over the competition.
Now of course it’s not just complaints that customers will use the number for. There are a number of potential benefits – resolving complaints in our view is likely to be the main reason to use this tool – but potentially customer suggestions about ways in which you can improve could be very helpful. It is said that being able to tap into the thoughts of your customers is invaluable to any business and with texting so quick and easy this could be a good way of doing that.
Both Sainsbury’s and the Post Office have dedicated customer feedback websites but let’s be honest, how many of us really want to go online and fill in a load of pre-chosen questions. Sending a quick text however, that might be something that more people do.
It’s an interesting concept and one which could benefit restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and larger hotels. Whether it catches on in a big way only time will tell. If you’ve used the service for your business feel free to post your experience in the comments below.