Qualtrics: Use Qualtrics SMS

Qualtrics SMS is a feature that allows for Qualtrics surveys to be distributed through short message service (SMS) messaging. At this time, SMS credits are offered at no cost to UMN Qualtrics users. To request access to the feature, you must first complete the SMS Request Form. Once authorized one can request additional credits.

In this article:

Types of SMS Messaging Supported by Qualtrics

There are three different ways to use the Qualtrics SMS functionality. Please see the Qualtrics Support Page for additional information. 

  • Distribute links via SMS: This method requires that you already have the participants' phone numbers in a contact list. 
    • It involves sending an SMS message containing a survey link to the phone number. 
  • Two-way SMS: This method requires that you already have the participants' phone numbers in a contact list. 
    • It involves sending information back and forth via multiple SMS messages. 
      1. Qualtrics sends the participant a question in an SMS message with the response options.
      2. The participant replies with their answer and then receives the next question. 
    • This approach uses one SMS credit for each message, both sending and receiving. 
      • Two-way SMS only works with NSP, Single Answer Multiple Choice, and Text Entry question types. 
  • Access Code Distribution: This method allows you to use the SMS functionality without already having phone numbers. 
    • This involves choosing a word or phrase that people can text to a five-digit shortcode (chosen by Qualtrics) to receive a reply with the survey. 
    • This method can be used to send survey links or two-way SMS messages. 
    • Note: For this option, it is recommended that you set up a separate survey for the SMS distribution. The new survey should contain one text entry question, and the body of this question should contain the survey link. The text entry box will not be visible to recipients but is needed in order to allow for this type of SMS distribution.

Understanding Legal Requirements

Contacting individuals via automated SMS is subject to legal restrictions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. You may only initiate automated SMS contact with an individual who has given "prior express consent." 

  • This refers to the Qualtrics system sending someone an SMS message without that person having taken action to invoke the SMS interaction.
    • If a legal action were to ensue, the burden is on the sender to prove that the recipient gave prior express consent.
      • Therefore, you must obtain and document consent prior to initiating SMS contact through Qualtrics. Documentation through a survey question saved in Qualtrics is recommended. 
  • If the participant initiates the interaction by texting a code you provide to a particular phone number (both provided by Qualtrics), this action of "opting-in" qualifies as consent.
  • TCPA regulations also require that a recipient of automated text messages must be able to opt out of further messages at any time. 

Note: You may not, under any circumstances, use Qualtrics SMS to market or advertise any products or services.

More legal information can be found on the Qualtrics support page.

Opting Out of SMS

Individuals who receive text messages from the Qualtrics platform can opt-out at any time by replying "UNSUB". It is recommended that you include the following statement at the end of the each text message you send to participants

  • "Reply UNSUB to unsubscribe" 

Additionally, it is recommended that you provide this information when opting individuals into SMS. Feel free to modify the below sample text for your survey:

  • "I agree to receive text messages containing communications related to [__________]. I understand that standard text messaging rates apply and I may opt-out of further messages by replying UNSUB at any time."

Note: SMS opt-outs apply to all distributions from the entire contact list, not a specific project. 

  • You can see who has opted out of a contact list by clicking on a specific participant in the list or by exporting the contact list from Qualtrics. 
  • There is no way of telling if the participant opted out via SMS or email. 

Related Articles

Last modified