3 Reasons You Need Customer Sentiment Analysis

A common saying states that perception is reality. Regardless of the validity, that perception is widely accepted, and it can have significant consequences on either an individual or an organization’s reputation and credibility.

Organizations face this every day: how to deliver the best possible product while also winning trust through superb service. Even a superior product can fall victim to poor sentiment, as 47% of consumers report they won’t even engage with a brand after being disappointed. Today’s complex, omnichannel environment makes these stakes even higher.

The steps consumers take to ask questions, resolve issues, and share both positive and negative experiences have changed drastically in the last two decades. What was once handled by either a letter or phone call to a company has now evolved into a multi-layered approach that can feel dizzying for an organization seeking to keep pace.

In fact, consumers reach out to brands across an average of seven social media channels alone, which doesn’t take into account the calls and emails to your support team, live chat on your site, and visits to a knowledge base. The ways consumers speak to and about you have the power to change how you interact with, communicate with, and care for them. Their interactions also have the power to influence retention, loyalty, and even new customer acquisition.

To deliver the most personalized customer service experience, an organization must understand customer sentiment across all channels, from online to offline, and owned to earned.

How sentiment analysis helps drive personalized modern customer service

Sentiment analysis, or opinion mining, gives you an increasingly accurate temperature check on how your customers feel about your brand, your products, and the service you provide. This automated process is a crucial piece in achieving the most modern customer service approach possible, as it gives real-time insights customer service agents and managers can act on for both in-the-moment needs and potential future issues. But in order for this to work optimally, agents must have access to this kind of customer data.

Let’s dive into the ways customer sentiment analysis can help you drive customer loyalty.

It turns your agents into advocates

Every time a customer reaches an agent, that agent should, at a minimum, be empowered with all the information needed to provide a seamless experience, including purchase and shipping information, return requests, and all communications that have occurred. When armed with sentiment analysis, however, the agent is properly prepared to connect and empathize with the customer on the aspects of either the service or the product that felt frustrating. This type of communication serves to both personalize the experience while also helping to neutralize potentially difficult conversations.

To provide this more modern experience customers expect, organizations can’t afford for their agents to have any information gaps around the customer. According to Calabrio, 60% of customer service agents state they don’t have the tools or technology needed to handle customer issues, and 34% cite lack of pertinent customer data as their biggest problem. While 54% of customers report using email for customer service, that leaves 46% of other customers using multiple other channels with information and data needing to be tracked.

Because 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as either important or very important when needing an answer to a customer service question, your support team simply doesn’t have the luxury of searching through the myriad of channels and systems while also trying to immediately solve an issue. Automating the analysis of what your customers are saying to identify clearly if it’s positive or negative is critical to providing the customer experience today’s customers need.

When you have the customer experience from top to bottom available in a customizable dashboard or report that is both easily accessible and actionable you can better educate, train, and prepare your agents on how to handle common concerns. This technology can also provide trend level analysis that completely shifts the agent role into a proactive one, advocating on behalf of your brand while also serving the customer where they’re most comfortable, in the quick manner they expect.

For example, a company aiming to promote frequency from their most valuable shoppers can set the system to reach out to these VIPs with offers or invitations to come back and shop — all through the customer’s preferred form of communication. And with Sentiment Analysis, if there’s ever any indication that the customer has actually become an unhappy one, this automated system could provide some form of greater incentive to help mend the relationship and bring the VIP back.

Analyzing sentiment and empowering agents with the data allows them to go above and beyond solving problems after the fact. Instead, agents are able to provide customers with an experience that promotes not only satisfaction, but also encourages loyalty.

It influences the future

When it comes to both acquiring and retaining customers, brands must engage in the new rules of engagement. Today 45% of consumers turn to social media for customer service help. This same survey cites the most common reason (57% of respondents) a consumer reaches out to a brand or organization is to find an answer, and the second reason is seeking resolution for a product or service (45% of respondents). However, 34% of consumers also reach out to sing a brand’s praises or provide positive feedback regarding their experiences.

Each of these touchpoints is data that can be used to get ahead of issues, inform internal product teams of concerns or problems, and influence both new customers and loyal ones. These insights can be analyzed for attitudes, opinions, and feelings to calculate various types of sentiment that numerous internal teams can use, including agents who must be prepared to provide the highest level of service required.

When measured holistically, it eliminates customer experience gaps

In order to deliver on the service today’s savviest customers expect, it isn’t enough to simply analyze sentiment. Unfortunately many organizations look at sentiment based on channel: email, phone, chatbot/live chat, social, etc. And that means all the data collected is siloed. The result of siloed data needing to be measured and analyzed together is an analyst somewhere banging their heads against a wall trying to fit a square peg through a round hole.

Simply put: siloed data can be analyzed together, but it will always be inconsistent and incomplete, with gaps that don’t cover the holistic customer experience. When attempting to make sense of the entire customer journey from initial awareness, through repeat purchases, organizations must consider a holistic way of collecting the data to be analyzed more accurately.

How Kustomer leads the way in Sentiment Analysis

Just as anyone running for office knows, understanding how your audience feels about you can speak at a volume often more predictive than sales themselves. The organization who achieves this most comprehensive, holistic view of their customer and automates the customer experience using this logic empowers a customer experience that boosts loyalty, retention, and repeat sales.

Kustomer’s Sentiment Engine specifically achieves this. It’s driven by AWS Amazon Comprehend, and through natural language processing APIs, the Kustomer platform can analyze all incoming text from the customer via Chat, Email, SMS, and Social. It understands negation and modifiers, and calculates numerous types of sentiment ratings from social media monitoring to trend analysis.

While most traditional support platforms have out-of-date architectures with rigid models that limit configurations and silo data, Kustomer’s Sentiment Engine provides a truly holistic view of customer sentiment data that can be acted on in real-time.

If you’re ready to transform your organization’s customer service into one that drives loyalty in the modern age, click here for three ways to get started.

 

To Deliver Personalized Customer Service, You Must First Become Truly Omnichannel

Though many companies bill themselves as purveyors of exceptional customer service, the reality is markedly different. In fact, for most, a typical customer service experience can devolve to tropes often reserved for speed dating. Too frequently, customers find themselves having to reshare their name, history, and aim ad nauseum when communicating with a brand’s customer service team. And so, what should be a straightforward and personalized experience often becomes a fragmented, impersonal one.

The numbers paint a bleak landscape. According to the CCW Digital 2019 Market Study, 49% of organizations felt their biggest concern was a lack of 360-degree view of their customers—as a result, they couldn’t provide a unified experience across all channels. What’s more, insufficient data and disconnected systems make it a challenge for businesses to know enough about their customers to personalize the customer service experience.

To make matters trickier for companies, personalization cannot be siloed by channel. For example, what good is it to email Jeremy an account update with his name branded in the subject line, when he has to remind three live chat agents that he’s been a loyal customer for six years when trying to modify said account?

Think about it: Can you truly deliver on the promise of personalized customer service when that personalization happens inconsistently—or incompletely even? It stands to reason then that customer service cannot be truly personalized without also being truly omnichannel as well.

Servicing silos is costing everyone—yes, it’s costing you, too

Impersonal customer service isn’t cheap. It costs customers time, and it costs companies customers.

Every year, bad customer service shoos away $75 billion in the U.S alone (yes, right into the willing hands of your competitors). And the bleeding shows no signs of slowing. In fact, it’s a growing trend, with more and more lost revenue tied to shoddy service per annum, and with millennials—the most populous American generation—more likely to hopscotch brands than their predecessors.

It’s an uptick that certainly brings Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, to mind, who has said before “that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.”

While perhaps a bit hyperbolic, his words rightly suggest the growing importance of exceptional customer service in today’s business world. While customer centricity shouldn’t necessarily be a state of being for companies, it should certainly become a chief operative for brands both emerging and established, and it should incentivize them to move away from siloed customer service streams. Especially when considering that customers dwell on bad customer service experiences for far longer than they do on bad products or services. And with 78% of consumers announcing frustrations with inconsistent experiences or needing to repeat themselves across customer service channels, a positively-received customer service experience can depend directly on proper omnichannel management and continuity.

Taking a channel-agnostic approach

In today’s hyper-connected world, you must not just think like the customer, you must communicate like them too, and be channel agnostic.

People today connect asynchronously. They have no allegiance to any one platform or any one service. And their channel proliferation is happening at breakneck speed. One moment they can be @mentioning your brand on Twitter, while another they’ll be shooting over a screenshot of said @mention over text.

They communicate with friends and family in this manner, perhaps even with coworkers and superiors as well, and expect the same sort of nimble, contextualized, and convenient communication in other facets of their lives. And while they may have a channel of choice, companies must understand that said channel can change over time. Or, over the course of a week.

To put things further into perspective, today’s average consumer uses 10 separate channels to connect with companies. Yes, 10.

And yet, it’s more possible than ever for brands to navigate this whirlwind with grace, sophistication, and humanity. Ultimately, while channels might change or increase in number, conversations must remain at the forefront of every interaction.

Conversations connect people—they always have. And customer service agents must be encouraged and enabled to establish genuine connections with their customers. To do so effectively, they must also have adequate background information and context—on any client, on any platform, in any market, and at any moment. Silos will only inhibit them from delivering on customer expectations and forming a loyalty-building bond. They should understand who they’re servicing and how—and they should have that knowledge at a moment’s notice.

Ultimately it comes down to arming them with agent-friendly solutions that improve the customer experience over time, and that will ideally help reduce this sad reality: more than 50% of customers have found themselves having to re-explain an issue to teams of customer service reps.

Moving from multichannel to omnichannel

For too many brands, the need to keep up with the growing number of channels has meant adding solutions without integrating the customer experience. This multichannel approach has created silos of customer service agents and information. Each channel is staffed with its own team and creates its own record of customer information that isn’t broadly shared among the rest of the customer service organization. For example, if a customer had interacted with an agent earlier on chat and now via email, the chat team and email team would have no record of each other’s conversations or the solutions they each offered, leading to potential agent collision.

Truly omnichannel platforms like Kustomer enable agents and customers to have a single threaded discussion about a topic that spans all of the channels their customers may use. Agents and customers can seamlessly switch between different channels as needed during a conversation while progressing the discussion. And customers never have to repeat information because agents always have the context of every conversation through a comprehensive timeline of previous interactions, purchases, and customer data all in a single view, on a single platform. As a result, you can deliver truly personalized, omnichannel customer service even as the constellation of channels continues to grow.

Get the guide to delivering true omnichannel support here.

 

How Your Brand Can Master The DTC Experience

Read Our White Paper on the DTC Experience HERE

The Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) revolution is shaking the foundation of retail business. As digital advancements make it even easier to cut out middlemen and deliver totally new kinds of experiences, customers have come to demand DTC brands provide them with the same kind of convenient, personalized and memorable experiences they get from traditional stores. Those that can innovate, adapt, and bring a higher caliber of experience and smarter ways to buy using the vast amount of consumer and product data available will be the ones that succeed. Those that don’t will lag, unable to bring a truly modern experience to their customers.

The time has come to reconnect with your customers and focus on a lifetime of experiences, rather than on optimizing a single, specific journey. Here’s how your brand can communicate and sell directly to your audience today:

Curate collections of essential products for customers

Focus on a few good items done right at a fair price point. This approach is key to tapping into modern shopping trends, encouraging brand loyalty and repeat business by making products that become an essential part of customers’ lives. Huge selections and hundreds of locations are no longer likely to breed success.

Pioneer new models like subscription and shared ownership

Harness the power of digital tech to connect everyone and everything, putting surplus or unused goods to use, and creating experiences that effortlessly sync with our everyday lives. As customers, especially millennials, are willing to buy used or share ownership if it means great savings, consider using tech to implement shared ownership models in your brand practices.

Make delivery and returns easier

As more customers buy online, delivery and returns are becoming even more crucial to the customer experience. Focus on fast delivery and low-friction returns to make up for any hesitation customers might have about buying online. All the more so for large, traditionally hard to ship items.

Deliver personalized, 1-1 service

Adjust every aspect of the online shopping experience to meet customers’ needs, using the latest CRM, machine learning, audience segmentation, and personalization technology to create an immersive digital journey.

By integrating orders, shipments, and conversations, with internal and external customer data,  Kustomer helps brands get a comprehensive and actionable view of all customers, driving informed service decisions.

Want to provide your customer-centric business with a full suite of support channels, smart segmentation and automation tools within a single platform? Download our white paper to learn more.

This Direct-to-Consumer Brand is Disrupting Feminine Care With Experience

Watch the webinar recording here.

It’s not easy being a new brand in an industry with a lot of established players. However, if you can use your incumbent status to take a fresh look at the marketplace, you can end up turning the entire category on its head.

LOLA has done just that. The forward-thinking feminine care brand has overturned the status quo with their totally new approach. By highlighting what actually goes into their products, providing a convenient subscription experience, and openly talking about women’s health issues that were previously taboo, they’ve created the first lifelong brand for a woman’s body.

While they started with tampons, the brand has quickly expanded their range, now offering pads, wipes, condoms, and other reproductive wellness products. Despite their rapid growth, they’ve kept their focus firmly on delivering great, personal experiences to every customer.

On our latest webinar (hosted by Glossy), LOLA’s Senior Manager of Customer Strategy and Operations Caroline Dell spoke with Kustomer’s Senior Manager of Marketing Programs Stacey Dolchin about their strategy and approach to delivering a highly personal DTC experience. For more information on delivering a great DTC experience, check out our whitepaper.

Webinar: How LOLA disrupts personal care with personalized, direct-to-consumer experiences

Pursuing Purpose

Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman founded LOLA in 2015 with a simple idea—women shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to their reproductive health. It all started when the two women realized that the tampon brands they had been loyal to for over a decade weren’t don’t disclose what they’re made out of. What was actually in those tampons? This desire for straightforward transparency and frank discussion about a topic that we’ve traditionally shied away from has animated the brand ever since.

This unique perspective, coupled with high-quality products and a smart business model, has helped them shaped the broader conversation around women’s health since launch. By empowering women with information, they’re helping their customers have more control over what they put in their bodies. By focusing on questions asked by real women, they’re dismantling the stigma that surrounds female reproductive wellness by creating a two-way dialogue with an engaged community. Every communication channels is an opportunity for a conversation—-website, social media, email newsletters, and their blog, The Broadcast.

By answering questions that their competitors aren’t with a relatable and no-nonsense brand voice, LOLA has both become a resource for their customers and started a national conversation about reproductive health.

Rewarding Relationships

LOLA’s goal is to create relationships that last a lifetime. They receive 1000+ emails per week from customers about personal topics, often asking questions to LOLA’s agents before consulting with a doctor. To return the trust their customers have in them, LOLA’s team goes above and beyond to make sure their products are rushed to women wherever they need them. From sending tampons to a customer’s hotel via Uber, to overnighting condoms so that they arrive in time for a honeymoon, LOLA works overtime to create a memorable experience.

For many younger customers and their parents, their ongoing relationship with the brand starts with LOLA’s First Period Kit. After posting a video where LOLA founders told their first period stories, they were inundated with moms reaching out to ask if they offered products for teen—a great example of their ongoing dialogue with customers driving product development.

For their most recent launch of Sex by LOLA, they sent 100 loyal customers mailers of their new products. It was an easy way to get feedback while rewarding loyalty, and one customer even emailed to say that she loved the products and, as a single mom, they inspired her to start dating again.

A Single View in a Single Platform

All of this wouldn’t be possible without a platform to manage their relationships and provide incredible experiences. Their previous platform wasn’t linked to their back-end system, so they had little context on the customer’s order history or subscription details. The same was true for incoming messages on social. With Kustomer, it’s now easy for their agents to switch between social and support channels, helping their customers on their preferred channel at a moment’s notice.

Context Cards with buttons enable the team to take direct action such as modifying, cancelling, or scheduling a subscription, and checking on shipping status for an order. Clicking on the “Modify” button, for example, takes them directly to the customer’s subscription, where they can edit the frequency, products, etc. This makes it easier for the team to spot orders that have been placed but may need modifications. LOLA has a search for customers who have emailed AND placed an order in the past day, so that agents can make modifications to the order before it actually ships.

Features like Workflows and Bulk Messaging have helped LOLA handle larger issues proactively. When their subscription management page experienced a brief outage, LOLA created a workflow based on keywords that automatically identified and then proactively bulk messaged thousands of impacted customers to notify them of the issue. As a result, LOLA was able to handle over 5x their normal volume at a highly-sensitive time.

Since combining all their order, subscription, and customer data into the Kustomer platform, LOLA’s reply time has decreased by 15%, while their agent efficiency has increased by 15%. Watch the webinar recording.

A Brand for Life

LOLA’s mission is one-of-a-kind, and with Kustomer, they’re able to scale while living up to the values that inspired them in the first place. For a brand that empowers and informs women, LOLA’s team needs to be just as empowered and informed to deliver great service. Building meaningful, ongoing relationships is a major part of what LOLA stands for. With Kustomer, their agents are able to get a holistic view of every subscriber and see their entire history with the brand. With more streamlined support, they can focus on what matters—a groundbreaking, personal experience. Delivering service with a purpose requires a robust and flexible platform, and with Kustomer, LOLA is building relationships that will last a lifetime.

For more information about building a great DTC experience, check out our whitepaper.

Webinar: How LOLA disrupts personal care with personalized, direct-to-consumer experiences

IQPC CX Research Report for Retailers: Top Takeaways

Our executive-level insights from our most in-depth report yet.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT NOW

At Kustomer, we love retail and direct-to-consumer brands. These brands are becoming more and more obsessed with their customers—because they need to be to differentiate themselves in today’s competitive era of retail. For them, experience is everything: product, sales, service, branding, and more.

Our most recent and intensive research report, authored in partnership with Customer Contact Week Digital (a division of IQPC), takes an in-depth look into the state of customer experience for retail businesses. What we found was enlightening.

If you’re at a retail brand, definitely pay attention, because one thing became very clear:

CX IS THE MAIN DIFFERENTIATOR FOR RETAIL
That’s right. Not branding, not marketing, not pricing.

The research shows that you must avoid the major retail trap and focus on the entire customer lifetime journey — not just the Point of Purchase. Retailers need to optimize their interactions, but stay focused on increasing lifetime value with simple, personal experiences. And despite their commitment, most retailers aren’t capable of delivering these experiences. The report found that:

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The #1 priority of most retailers is to reduce the effort customers need to spend in their customer experience. The #2 priority is automation.
  • The #1 frustration for agents is disconnected systems.
  • 80% of retailers say that their customers struggle to move between touchpoints without having to repeat information.

And in the report, we dive deep into the opportunities for retailers and how they’re capitalizing on them to improve their experience and drive business growth:

  • Reducing Effort: Only 48% of businesses are making any attempt to measure effort. However by putting all their information in a single timeline, ParkWhiz was able to matchmake users and parking spaces, and found a 2–3% increase in retention with customers who have interacted with the CX team — and increased average Time to First Response by more than 10%.

  • Personalization: Only 46% of businesses are actively attempting to assess the personalization of their experiences. Yet Glossier is able to see all their customer and order information in one place, which makes it easy to deliver highly personalized, 1–1 interactions.

  • Automation: 79% of retailers believe bots are important, and 60% plan to maintain or increase their investments in automation. By making the customer their atomic unit of understanding, Slice was able to manage customer interactions across teams and manage thousands of touches daily, seeing a 20–30% decrease in handle times.

Investing in these goals yields real results.
Delivering a solid and memorable experience is difficult and getting harder, but Kustomer is here to help. The full customer picture provides teams with the right intelligence to better optimize business service processes with automation, prioritize team member time, and scale your service operations as the business grows, driving increased customer lifetime value.

The retailers that invest in their customer experience and get this complete customer view are going to be able to differentiate themselves and remain relevant. Read our full report, and make this the year you deliver the best customer experience yet.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT NOW

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