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Understanding how sentiment analysis affects your customer experience

Last Modified: 20/12/2017

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Social media presence is a key factor in improving customer experience, even if many companies are failing to support their social channels correctly. A vital part of maintaining and growing your social media presence is the use of sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis is defined by Oxford as “the process of computationally identifying and categorising opinions expressed in a piece of text, especially in order to determine whether the writer's attitude towards a particular topic, product, etc. is positive, negative, or neutral”. 

To sum up: using automated systems to identify how people feel about your company.

Understanding that sentiment analysis is all about people’s feelings towards your organisation and your brand is important, but how does it work?

How sentiment analysis works

Sentiment analysis tools work by combining Natural Language Processing APIs with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This allows the sentimental analysis tool to understand language, and to develop a better understanding of language over time. This allows it to trawl through social media and divide the comments it finds about your product or service according to how people feel about your brand.

Now that we understand the overall impact sentiment analysis can have, we need to take a look at why it is important in regards to customer experience.

Why sentiment analysis is important to customer experience

Sentiment analysis is critical to customer experience because it can help your organisation improve how people perceive your brand in a variety of ways. Here are some of the ways that it can help you do that:

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Gives you a better understanding of the market, brand health and customer satisfaction

There are other ways to gather information regarding the market, brand perception and customer satisfaction including surveys, customer contact forms, focus groups, personal interviews and social listening. You can also use sentiment analysis to gather more information directly from social media. This can help you better understand your target audience and how they feel about your brand so that you can deliver better customer experience.

Quicker response times

Noise refers to any information on social media that is not relevant to you, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. Sentiment analysis tools allow you to cut through the noise and identify positive and negative information that is relevant to your brand so that you can respond to it much quicker.

Allows you to clear any negative noise

Sentiment analysis tools can help you sort good feedback from the bad. By being able to identify negative comments and feedback, you can take steps to address them and turn them into neutral or positive engagements.

Identify looming crises

The first place many people turn to these days when they are unhappy with a product or service is social media. If a company is good at using sentiment analysis tools to track the perception of their brand in real-time, they can avoid a crisis by identifying a problem before it hits critical mass. Failure to do so could be disastrous, as many businesses have discovered. One company that should have paid more attention to how people viewed their brand was United Airlines.

United Airlines created one of the most negative backlashes against their brand in recent memory when they used excessive force to remove a customer from their flight. United Airlines had overbooked their flight and needed a seat for one of the crew. When no-one accepted their offer to voluntarily vacate their seat, they picked a customer and security used physical violence to remove him. When other customers on the plane started to share images on social media, the event went viral. United Airlines were clearly not paying attention to customer sentiment, because they went on to blame the customer, adding more fuel to the fire.

Allows you to monitor your competition

Sentiment analysis tools aren’t only useful for understanding your own organisation. It can also help you keep track of other competing businesses so that you can compare how your brand is being perceived relative to theirs.

The first way it allows you to do this is through the concept known as Share of Voice. This specifically looks at how much other brands are being talked about in comparison to yours on a specific channel.

However, it is important to note that having a large Share of Voice is not always good. One of your competitors might be undergoing a terrible crisis and people are talking about them negatively, even though their Share of Voice is high.

You can also use sentiment analysis to identify the different subjects being discussed in connection with your competitors brand. Understanding this can help you improve your customer experience by giving you a better understanding of how your product fits into the market. You can also use sentiment analysis to identify the different demographics taking part in the conversation on social media. This can help you identify who your competitors are targeting, how effectively they are reaching them, and whether you need to adopt a similar strategy to gain market share from them. 

Getting to grips with sentiment analysis now is vital. More people are joining social media and are connecting via digital networks, and if your organisation wants to survive they’re going to need to understand how their customers think and feel so they can deliver exceptional customer experience. 

Merchants is a customer experience provider who can assist you with getting to grips with sentiment analysis and customer experience management. If you are interested in finding out more about digital transformation and how it is affecting customer experience, be sure to contact Merchants today.

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