At Group FiO, we often discuss the value you can extract from customer data, and how you can best leverage that data to provide a superior customer service. But how do you use that data to improve the customer experience (CX) in immediate, tangible ways? One of the answer lies in customer sentiment analysis.
When you think about the brands you’re most loyal to, it’s often for a number of reasons; you love their products, they have the best services and they help you in a time of need are typically at the top of the list. And if you dig deeper into these reasons, you’ll notice that your emotional connection is at the core of almost all of these reasons. It’s no secret that emotional connections are important when it comes to spending money or maintaining loyalties, nor is it a mystery that in today’s aggressively competitive eCommerce landscape, building a strong emotional connection with your customer base is the key to repeat purchases and real customer lifetime value (CLV).
That being said, human emotions are incredibly complex, and can be incredibly difficult to quantify into a usable metric that can help you predict future sales and CX outcomes.
Many organizations today are already attempting to capture and understand customer emotions. Most organizations that are attempting to parse emotional response into a meaningful metric use tool like post-conversation surveys. You know the ones; after ending a conversation with a customer service agent, you receive a survey request about your experience. The intent of these surveys is to uncover how you felt about the experience and help the brand understand what could be improved for the future or your likelihood of purchasing again. While these surveys are well-intentioned, they typically only occur when a customer is dissatisfied with their CX and want to ensure their voice is heard (and hope that the situation will be rectified.) It’s rare that a consumer participates in them when they’ve experienced a mediocre brand moment.
What if instead of only being able to understand and analyze customer emotions after the fact, you could grade emotion while the interaction was happening? Imagine the ways brands could improve experiences in the moment. This is the logic behind the advent of emotional analytic tools, and why so many experts see it as a major turning point in the CX race.
Here are three key reasons why:
1. Discover motivational indicators
Not only are human emotions complicated and nuanced, they’re also fickle. How a customer feels about your business can differ on any given daydepending on their most recent interactions with your brand or their moods. By understanding customer emotions in real time, rather than through post-interaction surveys alone, brands can pinpoint these changes based on the intensity of the emotions people feel and connect the dots to understand what emotions drive certain behaviors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a key technology to do this, because it enables brands to understand and interpret a wider range of emotions. For example, “frustrated” and “rage” are two very different emotions but can often be quantified as being the same in a limited, objective survey. But a frustrated customer is experiencing something much different than a rage-filled customer, and the best way to resolve the issues of these two customers will be very different. While a frustrated customer might just need some superior customer service to help them troubleshoot a problem they’re experiencing with your product, a customer who is rage-filled because of a late order will likely need to vent to a higher-level person in your organization and receive some type of discount or incentive in order to not churn from your brand. The right AI tools can help you understand when customers are feeling specific emptions and help offer actions that can improve the resolution of those interactions correctly.
2. Provide context-aware analysis
It’s nearly impossible to identify customer emotions without proper context. Happiness, just like anger, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Additionally, speech patterns can tell us a lot about what is the meaning and intent behind what someone is saying. For example, if a customer says “that’s just terrific,” it could be quickly categorized as a positive interaction. But without proper context, it’s an assumption at best.
By measuring the intensity of the word “great,” alongside factors like tone of voice, speech tempo, volume and more, brands can tell if that word is being said with increased volume and within the context of other angry words. Doing so can make it easier to understand that this customer is probably being sarcastic (and therefore upset), as opposed to happy, and can prevent this customer feedback from slipping through non-contextual cracks.
Understanding emotion makes it possible to capture the true voice of your customer and take steps to improve the customer journey to drive loyalty. For some brands, this can translate into context-aware alerts that can improve interactions in real time and, ultimately, outcomes.
3. Produce enterprise-wide insights
The value of understanding emotion reaches beyond CX value, too. Insights into how customers are feeling about your competitors or even a new product launch have the potential to deliver value to departments across an entire organization.
For example, what if a large portion of your customers increasingly frustrated with a new product update? Product management teams can use those trends to better plan their roadmaps or prioritize how and when product updates are released. Is a competitor being mentioned more frequently in conversations that are understood as “happy”? Marketing can adjust corporate and competitive messaging accordingly.
Gaining these enterprise-wide insights gives your brand the ability to make adjustments rooted in direct customer feedback, which in turn can provide your organization with an opportunity to gather zero party data from the customer. Understanding and measuring customer emotions provide the insight that improves every corner of your business.
4. Resolve Cases Faster and Reduce Backlog
Think of how many times you’ve called customer service in your own lifetime, and while you’re being taken through prompt after automated prompt to further categorize your issue and get it to the right customer service agent, your frustration mounts. Customer sentiment analysis can avoid creating or deepening a customer’s level of anger because it avoids it from the start. It immediately captures and gauges not just what a customer is calling about but also where their emotional level is at when they call without exacerbating the situation.
It also provides an agile, practical way to tackle the dreaded case backlog. By better capturing the topic and nuances of each support ticket, customer sentiment scores help streamline the case assignment process. Tickets can be routed more effectively to the right agent or agents, which ultimately leads to faster resolutions.
When it comes to support, customers care about speed and efficiency. In a 2020 Zendesk survey, 72.5% of consumers said that a speedy resolution matters the most when they have an issue to resolve with a company.
Using an advanced analytics tool like Group FiO’s intelligent CDP can reduce resolution time because it utilizes data about the client’s purchase and call center history to better serve the client’s needs and deliver a personalized experience that boosts their time-to-value experience with your brand.
5. Increase Customer Loyalty, Retention, and Advocacy
The measuring sentiment is also crucial to engaging customers and increasing their loyalty and advocacy. When businesses have a greater understanding of customers’ emotional signals, like what makes them happy, excited, dissatisfied, or indifferent based on past brand interactions, they can leverage that data into smarter business decisions—or course-correct unfavorable ones—to increase customer loyalty.
To understand the value of customer loyalty, look no further than Apple, which has channeled a number of factors—including unrivaled customer satisfaction and emotional connection, into one of the highest valued brands in the world.
When a company focuses on an actionable metrics like customer sentiment scores and past purchase history to actively improve the customer experience, this can yield not just improved CSAT and NPS ratings, but also turn customers into loyal brand advocates. Think of all the times you have recommended a product or service to a friend. Of course the efficacy of the product or service was a big part of that recommendation, but when we purchase a product, we typically expect it to be able to perform the function it says it will. What often puts a brand “over-the-top” is having a positive interaction with customer service. If you believe your needs were met and you were listened to by the brand you will certainly be much more likely to recommend it to a pal then if the product simply performed its’ intended task.
We all know how powerful emotions can be — but organizations that aren’t capturing, analyzing and understanding customer emotions in real time are going to fall behind. Emotion is ultimately what connects customers to your brand — or on the flip side, turns them away.
If your brand has yet to explore the value of incorporating emotional analytic tools into your CX, it’s’ well past time to start, and Group FiO is here to help! Sign up today for a FREE trial of our Insight Marketing Platform to fully experience how a comprehensive data analytic approach can help you master a superior CX.