Customer sentiment analysis – spot the signals

Customer sentiment analysis has become one of the most important metrics for contact centre managers to measure in order to understand why and how customers prefer to interact with your business and to understand the underlying drivers of great customer experience. There is a wealth of information hidden in calls that reveals how connected buyers are to your brand as well as how they are reacting to the service they receive.

What is customer sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis in a contact centre setting involves monitoring conversations between agents and customers for key words and phrases and other social cues including vocal tone and pitch that indicate positive or negative sentiment.

Why is customer sentiment analysis important?

In addition to providing valuable insight into the mindset of your customers, gathering information on the emotional response of a customer at the start and end of a call can also help managers to gauge how effective an agent is in performing their role and identify patterns in behaviour that can help with training new agents – enabling them to anticipate what the customer reaction is likely to be at different points in the conversation.

Information gained in this way is far more effective than customer satisfaction surveys that maybe conducted days or weeks after the issue is resolved and where the customer can be led by the questions asked.

Advancements in machine learning mean that different emotional responses can be identified from speech recognition and natural language processing. Analysing this information over time can help organisations to understand more about buyer intent and build a more personalised and immersive experience for customers.

Here are 5 key points to help you drive value from customer sentiment analysis:

1. Measure what matters

To counteract any bias, ensure consistency and level the playing field for agents, it’s important to measure against a framework. The framework can be based on historical data gathered from within the organisation, but using a platform with a framework based on data gathered across industries is more effective. You’ll gain a broader perspective on what ‘good’ looks like across industries and how your team performs against that standard.

2. Gain buy-in from your team

Change can be disconcerting for employees at the best of times but if that change is also introducing a new way of evaluating performance, it can be even more unsettling. De-mystify the change for your team by engaging them throughout the journey – explaining the what, why and how behind the changes and the benefits it will deliver for them will go a long way in securing buy-in and encouraging them to welcome future changes.

3. Share the findings with agents immediately

On average an agent in a typical contact centre will take 60 calls or more a day, providing real-time, on-screen feedback enables the agent to put corrective actions into practice straightaway with an immediate impact on customer service.

Feedback that is easy for the agent to access also helps to create a coaching culture where self-led learning and development is encouraged and supported. Agents can clearly and immediately see how they are performing and the impact of their effort, helping you to retain your contact centre talent.

4. Combine with other data

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to gain data and combining the insight gathered on live calls, chats and email with other sentiment data gathered though social listening, product reviews, customer satisfaction survey responses and focus groups will help you to understand more about what your customer is looking for from your product and their service experience.

5. Hone customer experience

Research shows that customers are becoming more demanding and queries are more complex; being able to make the customer feel like their specific needs are being understood and addressed has been shown to improve sales conversion as well as driving brand loyalty. Understanding more about what your customer is looking for from their interaction enables you to create a more engaging, personalised experience for customers. Personalised customer journeys are also difficult for competitors to replicate providing a sustainable competitive advantage, invaluable to businesses operating in saturated markets.