The Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Survey Channels

When it comes to communication between a customer and a business, email, SMS and IVR are three of the most important channels. 

In this blog, we will explore the pros and cons of surveying customers via these three channels and discuss some quick tips that can help you boost survey response rates. 

Email Surveys 


  • Email surveys are very cost-efficient and require very few resources.
  • Businesses have the option to create smaller surveys to get immediate responses or longer surveys which can be redirected to landing pages where respondents can provide more detailed answers.
  • Email surveys are accessible from multiple devices – smartphones, PCs and Tablets. 
  • Large quantities of data can be collected in an efficient manner. 
  • Email surveys can be automatically distributed to customers following an interaction, freeing up agents’ time as they do not have to send the survey manually.


  • The customer’s email address is required in order to send the survey. 
  • Internet access is required to complete the survey. 
  • Spam filters may prevent customers from receiving the survey. 

SMS Surveys 


  • SMS surveys yield higher response rates compared to most other methods.
    • The average open rate for SMS is 98%
  • On average, text messages with a URL have almost a 40% click-through rate. 
  • Quicker response rate
    • 95% of SMS messages are opened and responded to within three minutes. 
  • The majority of customers prefer text messages over direct phone calls. 


  • Respondents must have a smartphone if they wish to receive the survey, meaning that specific demographics – in particular older people or lower-income households – may not be able to take part in the survey. 
  • Customers may be hesitant to click on any links in the SMS due to an increase in hacking or ‘phishing’ in recent years. (SMS-based scams rose by almost 700% in the first 6 months of 2021 alone!)
  • The User experience may not be as smooth for SMS surveys due to the smaller screen when compared to the screen of a PC or tablet. 

IVR Surveys 


  • Post-call IVR surveys are generally very easy to get up and running. 
  • Useful for tracking agent-level performance on metrics such as CSAT and NPS.
  • No data is required in order for the customer to receive the survey as callers are forwarded to the survey immediately after the interaction has ended. 


  • Lower response rates when compared to Email or SMS as customers may not want to wait around on the call to complete the survey following the interaction. 
  • Agents may be hesitant to push irate or dissatisfied callers to the survey which can affect the overall accuracy of the feedback collected. 
  • Lower volumes of qualitative feedback as respondents will not be using a keyboard when responding. 
  • Only records the telephone touchpoint meaning that the business can not measure the customer experience in terms of their website, deliveries and so on. 

How to boost response rates: 

These 5 quick tips will help you boost response rates regardless of the channel used: 

  • Survey customers immediately after the interaction has occurred. 
  • Send reminders to customers 3-5 days after the initial survey has been sent. 
  • Keep survey questions short and sweet. 
  • Communicate the value of the survey. 
  • Ask direct questions – ensure customers understand what information is required from them. 

When it comes to gathering feedback from your customers, there are pros and cons to each survey channel. Despite the downsides, it is clear that the positives outweigh the negatives for Email, SMS and IVR. Where possible, offer surveys to your customers via the channel they have contacted you on in order to maximise response rates and gain as much valuable insight as possible.