Empathica Introduces SMS-Text Survey to Provide Immediate Customer Feedback to Retailers

The new product enables customers to text answers to survey questions via their mobile phones, giving retailers critical insight into the point-of-sale experience.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – November 12, 2009Empathica Inc., a leading provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to the world’s most respected brands, today announced SMS-Text Survey, a new product that allows customers to provide instant feedback to retailers via text messaging.

Part of Empathica’s driveExperience offering, SMS-Text Survey prompts customers to answer questions about their experiences or send their e-mail addresses to companies through SMS-text messages while they are at the location. For example, a restaurant can display a question as simple as “were you satisfied with the menu variety” via store signage, tabletop tents, invitation cards or receipts. The tool compiles customer responses into quantifiable results that give retailers valuable insight into customer likes, dislikes and emerging trends.

As the rise of mobile technologies and text messaging is becoming more prominent — with 110 billion texts sent per month in the U.S. on average — the SMS-Text Survey tool comes at a critical time.

“SMS-Text Survey gives retailers the ability to quickly and easily engage in a virtual conversation with thousands of their customers,” said Andrew Datars, VP of Product Management with Empathica. “By using the tool, they can receive timely, location-specific feedback that empowers them to reach customers more effectively.”

Once a customer texts in a response, the tool sends an e-mail thank-you, an “on your next visit” offer or instant coupon, and a Web-based survey invitation directly to their inbox. If the experience was negative, the customer receives an apology e-mail or “on your next visit” offer.

“Other forms of data collection don’t allow for this level of customization and immediacy,” said Datars. “It is key for retailers to be able to maximize the amount and quality of feedback while it’s still fresh in the customer’s mind.”

SMS-Text Survey In Action
Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., which manages a chain of casual dining establishments, has already experienced positive results using SMS-Text Survey at its Old Chicago restaurants.

Customers in 99 Old Chicago locations around the country were asked to text in their survey answer and e-mail address for a chance to win a prize. As a result, over 12,500 customers responded with their e-mail address within 20 days.

Afterwards, those customers were sent an e-mail invitation to participate in a standard Web customer experience survey, of which more than 2,000 were completed.

“Empathica’s SMS-Text Survey program provided us with not only a way to increase our online guest experience survey completions, but also with an instant feedback network that gave us insight into our guests’ opinions,” said Gretchen Paules, Vice President of Marketing for Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. “The tool also delivered a solid, cost-effective acquisition platform for our e-mail programs; over 16,000 customers texted their e-mail address to us in one month.”

Giveaway promotions based on text responses are also another use of the tool, said Datars. For example, an “instant win” coupon can be mailed directly to the inbox of one in 10 SMS-Text Survey respondents. Empathica has specific measures in place that will prevent fraud associated with multiple text entries for promotions run in conjunction with SMS-Text Survey.

“With a more mobile society today, engaging customers via their cell phone is a logical step for retailers,” said Datars. “Not only does it serve as an outstanding marketing tool, but also helps companies enhance their customer experiences.”

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