Text Analytics  In Pursuit of the Holy Grail of Customer Experience

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The movement from customer satisfaction to customer experience!

10 years ago, customer satisfaction was thought of as the be all and end all for business success. Businesses rarely went further than ensuring that their customers were happy and satisfied. Customer satisfaction scores, which we now know to be fairly meaningless, was the only type of feedback that was sought after.

Fast forward to today, and we rarely hear any mention of the term customer satisfaction. Rather, businesses are primarily focused on the overall customer experience. In fact, many large technology businesses have set up entire divisions purely focused on the strategy behind the experience of the customer.

So, what is the difference between customer satisfaction and the customer experience?

Customer satisfaction focuses on the outcome of the interaction between a customer and the business. In the customers eyes however, this is no longer enough. In todays modern world, the focus has expanded to include not just the outcome of the interaction, but also the experience that the customer has received throughout the interaction. This has been heightened by the increase in competition and the fickle nature of customers. Businesses now have to stretch customer satisfaction throughout the entire interaction.

Longer and multiple interactions lead to more feedback from the customer

Customer experience considers ongoing feedback throughout the entire interaction, over multiple channels and multiple occasions. This feedback is collected through various means. One of the most authentic and proven ways to collect true customer feedback is through open text forms. This creates the opportunity for customers to provide open-ended comments about their experience with a business.

Text comments – analogue or digital?

Text comments provided by the customer are invaluable as they reflect their overall experience. Text as an input however, resides in the analogue realm. In order to make sense and act upon it, it must be transformed into the digital realm. Below are a few reasons why text, as an input, is considered less usable:

  • Text can use an infinite number of words to convey meaning (similar words can be used to convey different expressions and vice versa)
  • As the amount of text increases, so too does the difficulty in arriving at a summary of what the customer is trying to say. It is easy to make sense of 5 sentences. But what happens when there are 20 sentences?
  • Reading and meaningfully acting on the feedback is vital to improve the overall customer experience. However, how does a business create the time to classify the varied text feedback it receives from its thousands of customers?

This creates the need to assign some sort of numerical significance to text feedback. Without digitising it, businesses are unable to obtain any true actionable meaning.

And this is where text analytics comes in!

What is text analytics?

Text analytics is the process of deriving meaning from text. It finds patterns and commonalities within the text, creating opportunities for businesses to learn and act on. And while this process can be done manually, it requires an army of human text readers. The efficiency (or the lack of it) of the whole process can only be imagined and shuddered upon. It would take hundreds of hours for a human to sort through and classify the customer feedback coming in through the various channels. It would take even longer to aggregate all of this data, detect patterns and trends, identify the emotions in each comment and create measurable actions.

Text analytics uses software to accomplish all the above steps. Algorithms within the software find true meaning in the large amounts of text. It takes unstructured thoughts of customers and turns them into measurable data that can be meaningfully utilised by a business.

Text analytics value chain

Value, in customer experience terms, is derived from what the customer expresses when she provides feedback. It starts with the text that a customer keys in and ends in the action that a business takes based off the feedback provided. The process involved in using text analytics is outlined below.

  • Listen: The first step is to set up channels that listen to customers and capture their feedback. This can be created through a number of mediums such as, surveys, online review forms, interviews and various other means. The primary goal is to provide the customer with an avenue in which to freely express how she feels about her overall experience with the business.
  • Assimilate: The feedback captured through various channels is collated centrally, which in turn acts as the feed into the text analytics software.
  • Analyse: This is where the actual software comes in. Businesses have to identify and choose the best software options available from a plethora of text analytics tools. The choice depends upon what the business wants to track, the capabilities of the software itself and the costs involved.
  • Act: The output of text analytics is meaningless if there is no action plan. The results of the analysis need to be converted into a structured action plan, based off the data identified by the software.
  • Trend: By aggregating the analytics outcomes using parameters, such as customer demographics, segment and experience topic, businesses can get an overall picture of the issues that customers face. In turn, this helps business make decisions and identify recurrent issues that impact the customer experience.
  • Track: Tracking emotion over time helps monitor the changes that impact specific areas of the business, including the relationship with customer experience.

Text analytics is the next evolution in ensuring businesses know exactly what their customers are thinking and saying. Analysing unstructured textual data and transforming analogue feedback text into digital actionable insight could be the single largest differentiator between customer satisfaction and customer experience!

If you are interested in discovering how you can implement conversational marketing into your business, contact our team at Chrysalis for more information info@chrysaliss.com

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