Survey Platform - SMS Surveys | Qualtrics

SMS Surveys

Introduction

Qualtrics SMS Surveys helps you reach your audience through mobile devices and collect on-the-go pocket feedback. This page outlines how to set up an SMS survey distribution and provides best practices for conducting SMS surveys.

Qtip: SMS Surveys is an add-on feature not included in the standard Qualtrics license. To learn more, contact your Qualtrics Administrator.

Survey Design

Surveys sent through SMS are built the same way you would build a traditional survey—using the Survey module.

Because SMS is a more limited communication medium, just two question types are supported: Multiple Choice (NPS© or Single Answer Multiple Choice) and Text Entry.

Question Formatting

On multiple choice questions, choices will be modified to each include a code. Participants text in this code to select that choice.

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Choices in the Survey module (left) display options participants can select. When sent via SMS (right), these choices include a number instead.

Survey Pages

SMS surveys are distributed one question at a time. If a participant answers a question, the next question will be sent. Page breaks are not needed when distributing a survey via SMS.

Qtip: Although longer surveys are possible, we recommend keeping SMS surveys simple with no more than two or three questions.

Survey Compatibility

When distributing the survey (done through the SMS tab in the Distributions module), an alert will appear if the survey is not compatible.

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Click the Incompatibility Report for details on how to make your survey compatible.

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Importing Phone Numbers

Phone numbers for an SMS survey distribution are uploaded the same way email addresses are uploaded for an email distribution—in a contact list.

Contact lists require an “Email” column since they are traditionally used for email distributions. This column should be included, but may be left empty if the contact list will be used for an SMS distribution.

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A column for phone numbers should also be included. This column may have any name, such as “Phone” or “Phone Number”. Phone numbers should be in 11-digit US format with no spaces, parentheses, or dashes.

Qtip: For an in-depth overview of how to upload a panel, see our Contact List Creation page.

Distributing an SMS Survey

There are two ways of distributing an SMS survey: through a list of phone numbers or through Inbound Access Codes.

With a list of phone numbers, you send an SMS message to a specific group of people who then respond to the message and continue through the SMS survey as normal.

With the Inbound Access Codes, you create a code to distribute to respondents however you would like (sent through an email, posted on a flyer, etc.). Respondents message their access code to a particular phone number and then are sent the survey questions via SMS.

To distribute to a list of phone numbers

  1. Navigate to the Distributions module and choose the SMS tab.image00
  2. Select Schedule SMS Distribution.

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  3. Select Recipient takes the survey via 2-way SMS.image07
  4. Name your distribution and choose the appropriate contact list.image06
  5. Choose which contact list field has the recipients’ phone numbers.image02
  6. If desired, choose when the distribution should send.image04
    Qtip: If no time is specified, the SMS will send immediately. Note that participants are given 48 hours to respond to an SMS survey invitation. After 48 hours, any answers provided will be saved to the data set as-is.
  7. If desired, click Preview SMS and enter a phone number to test the distribution (the first message will send to the number you enter and you can take the survey as a respondent would).image18
  8. Click Schedule SMS Distribution.image10
  9. Click Schedule SMS Distribution to confirm and send the messages (remember, you will be charged for each message sent and received).image08

To distribute via an Access Code

  1. Navigate to the Distributions module and choose the SMS tab.image00
  2. Type any combination of characters in the Inbound Access Codes text box and click Link Access Code (note that the @ sign is required at the beginning of all access codes).image14
  3. Distribute the Associated Short Code (Phone Number) and the Access Code to your respondents (mass email, web advertisement, movie theatre ads, etc.). Any respondent who texts the Access Code to the Associated Short Code (Phone Number) will receive the survey.image11
Qtip: Participants are given 48 hours to respond to an SMS survey invitation. After 48 hours, any answers provided will be saved to the data set as-is.

Distributing Survey Invitations via SMS

Instead of sending your survey question by question, you can send a Personal Link to your participants’ mobile devices using SMS.  This will allow your participants to access the survey via their mobile internet browser.

To send a survey invitation via SMS

  1. Navigate to the Distributions module and choose the SMS tab.image00
  2. Click Schedule Distribution.image09
  3. Select Recipiend receives a link to take the survey in their mobile browsers.image05
  4. Name your distribution and choose the appropriate contact list.image06
  5. Choose which contact list field has the recipients’ phone numbers.image02
  6. If desired, choose when the invite should send.image04
    Qtip: If no time is specified, the SMS will send immediately.
  7. Load an existing message or create a new message.image12
  8. Click Schedule Distribution.image10

Distribution History

All distributions that have been sent for the survey will display in the Distribution History section of the SMS tab.

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The Distribution History contains key details about each distribution, including the status, the number of recipients, and the number of text messages that have been sent back and forth between the recipients and the survey.

The Distribution History includes a column outlining the total cost of each distribution. One US cent is charged for every message sent and received through SMS Surveys. If a message exceeds 160 characters (the limit for an SMS message), this charge is increased.

Legal Requirements

Though SMS Surveys open up new communication possibilities, they also carry a set of legal requirements regarding who, when, and under what conditions you are allowed to message. Many laws and regulations that apply to the telecommunications industry as a whole also apply to SMS text messaging.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates any means “to communicate with or try to get into communication with a person by telephone.”

TCPA includes strict opt-in requirements for telephone marketing. Consent for SMS must meet the following conditions:

  • Be in writing
  • Come from the owner of the device
  • Identify the advertiser and all companies that will have access to the customer’s phone number
  • Make clear the type of text messages the consumer is signing up for (consenting to event updates is not the same as consenting to ads)
  • State that standard messaging fees may apply
  • Include how the subscriber can opt out of the survey session at any time (with Qualtrics Surveys, this is done by texting “STOP”).

We recommend addressing the final two requirements by including a phrase such as the following as part of the first survey question:

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To learn more, see the TCPA Rules Document. More information is also available in our SMS Terms of Service.