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Marketing

Published August 1st 2018

Tips For Action When You Spot Upward or Downward Trends in Customer Sentiment

The goal of sentiment analysis is to use the insights to provide a better experience for new, existing, or potential customers. How can you action those insights? Guest blogger Taral Patel explains.

Before the internet, understanding how new, existing or potential customers felt about your product, service or industry was an incredibly cumbersome process.

It typically involved sending out surveys manually or going into the streets and asking people. Nowadays, most of the grunt work is automated.

However, even with all the advances in areas like online review platforms, social media, and big data analytics, understanding how to actually use sentiment analysis to improve your bottom line is a complicated task.

In this post I’ll give you some tips on how to find positive and negative mentions of your brand, products, or industry and how to act when you find patterns in them.

Knowing the phrases to look for

To start with, let’s talk about how to find positive and negative comments.

In terms of sentiment analysis, to gain actionable insight, you need to know how people are using keywords or phrases in a way that indicates positive interest or dissatisfaction with your offering.

The keywords you’re searching for may have to be industry or product specific. Let’s say you work in the video games industry – describing something as “sick” means something very different to if you worked in the CPG industry, for example.

A solid grasp of the language that matters to your business can help turbo power your sentiment analysis because it’ll make categorization more simple to automate. If you’re using a social listening tool like Brandwatch to monitor online feedback you’ll be able to use built in automated sentiment, as well as your own customized rules, to get the most accurate picture of how your customers feel.

Remember, it’s all about getting an indication of how people feel – it’s not necessarily confirmation of an increase in sales, although it can be. Just because there are a lot of positive words around luxury cars or clothing brands doesn’t necessarily mean people are about to buy.

And, of course, there are plenty of other ways to monitor customer feedback too.

Finding patterns and acting on them

When you’re looking at sentiment towards your business, you’re essentially looking to pinpoint patterns and read between the lines. In order to find fruitful, up-to-date patterns in how your customers feel, you need to make it a routine to consistently seek out new feedback from them.

Finding recurring themes in customer sentiment will give you a better picture of the positive and negative aspects of your business or product. These can indicate the level of trust people have in your brand and how likely they are to give you a recommendation.

When you are looking for patterns, consider these questions:

  • What words are commonly used to describe experiences around your offering?
  • Is there an issue that multiple people mention in their feedback?
  • Which things delight people the most?
  • What is affecting the people who leave negative reviews?

The answers to these important questions can help guide your marketing strategy.

Beware that if all of the answers to the questions seem positive you aren’t fooled into thinking that no improvements are needed.

You can always improve, regardless of whether sentiment is positive or negative

Sometimes the action you should take from direct patterns in negative feedback is obvious. If your sentiment analysis reveals that multiple people are having trouble updating their software, this indicates that a fix is necessary. Simple. And if you notice a sudden spike in negative mentions or are alerted to a serious, perhaps safety-related, problem online you need to make sure that fix is quick and appropriate.

Meanwhile, a complacent attitude when the sentiment scales look positive is a bad idea. Instead of basking in the positivity, remember that improvements can always be made. Note where people are being positive about their experience, but also note where they are silent. This could be an opportunity where you can further delight your customers.

You can also take positive mentions and make user experiences even better. Let’s say you’re a pool supply company with a multitude of pool-related products, from pool cleaning chemicals to fun floaty toys.

You notice an uptick in people tweeting and posting about how great your floaty toys are – why not push them more prominently on your website so people can find those products easier after they see them recommended?

To get further use from positive mentions, you could, with permission, use user generated content in your social posts or on your website, showing how people love the product and how it’s used in real life.

Conclusion

Social media is one of the best places to get raw opinions where people don’t hold back – both in positive and negative lights. Knowing how people feel in an unfiltered environment can be a great way to tell which parts of your business are working very well, and of course, not so well.

Chances are, your customers are already telling you what you need to make improvements to your business. By gathering as much data as possible on customer sentiment, your brand can understand just what needs to be done to provide a better customer experience.

Be sure you know what to look for, how to find it, and what to do with it.

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