Customer feedback can be a powerful tool for business development, but it wouldn’t work without the right analysis. Every day, organizations around the world collect millions of user comments on their websites and in social networks, but most of them neglect this priceless source of information. Why? There may be two reasons: they either don’t realize the value of messages people send them or don’t know the methods of customer feedback analysis.
In this article, we tell you how to change the business processes of your company for the better using customer feedback analysis, or how to improve customer feedback analysis if you have already been using this approach.
Why Is Feedback Analysis Important?
Customers are the main driving force behind any enterprise. If a company starts losing clients, it must improve services or products; otherwise, it will fail. Feedback analysis is the tool to understand client sentiments, needs and desires, which helps companies remain on the cutting edge. In comparison with cold statistics, real customer comments are useful for deeper analysis because they:
- Explain positive and negative trends in production and sales processes
- Contain roots of problems and clues on how to solve them and find new working approaches
- Provide the profound vision of customer needs and support strong connection with end users
Both positive and negative comments are valuable for business development. They motivate to improve performance and never stop learning. But for large companies that receive a big stack of responses every week, it’s ineffective to handle them manually, reading one by one, and almost impossible to turn them into valuable data.
Thus, it’s necessary to perform not quantitative but qualitative data analysis, as the number of comments is not as valuable as their content. When you correctly analyze the content of messages, you will be able to respond to the feedback and draw conclusions for your own advantage.
Customer Feedback Analysis Methods
There are several methods that can be implemented for the analysis of customer feedback. A human employee can use them and compile the analytical report, but only if a company receives a few messages per week. In case there are dozens of messages a day, you’d better automate the process, using AI techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP). Here are the most commonly used techniques:
Brand Name Extraction
Monitor social networks and relevant media sources to pick out the name of your company from messages. Then, compare the number of your brand mentions in the media this month with the previous months. This method helps you see the general position in the market: whether your company’s popularity is increasing or declining.
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The previous method doesn’t work in isolation and needs to be complemented with a method to find out the real situation. Imagine that your company is mentioned in different sources numerous times and you think that you are doing well. But in reality, the context of messages concerning your company can be mostly negative, and urgent measures should be taken to remedy the situation.
Therefore, you should identify the sentiment of messages. It can be of three types: positive, neutral, negative. Only on the basis of the general user mood can you assess customer loyalty.
Knowing that user sentiment is positive or negative is not enough. You need to be aware of the exact issues people are mentioning.
In this regard, pick out the most commonly used words — keywords — in all comments and put them together. They will serve like hints, revealing both problematic issues, as well as successes.
Five Steps to Perform Effective Feedback Analysis
Besides the above-mentioned methods, business leaders should create a strategy to perform an effective and agile analysis of customer feedback. We suggest five steps that should be made to achieve positive results.
1. Categorize Feedback
The scope of responses any business receives always falls into certain categories. In general, they may concern points such as:
- Price, quality and range of products
- Professionalism of staff
- Delivery service
- Digital availability
You may sort the feedback into many more categories and subcategories depending on the niche your company occupies. As a result, you get a broad picture of how clients view your products and services, and what issues should be addressed. Categorization proves to be a very useful customer feedback analysis tool, as it highlights some less noticeable features that, nonetheless, can play a significant role in the overall process, making the company perform better.
An easier way to divide comments into categories is revealing their sentiment. Thus, you will get only three categories:
Focus on the negative comments most of all, as they reveal real problems and show you the changes that need to be made. If more than one user complains of the same thing, it is a call to action.
Neutral feedback is quite a dangerous borderline position that can turn to either positive or negative attitude toward your company. Don’t neglect these comments, as they give you an idea of what can be improved.
Positive feedback reflects your success and inspires new solutions.
2. Find Root Causes
It is not enough to find out issues on the basis of customer comments; it is vital to get to the root causes. Only by doing so will you be able to provide an adequate solution to the issue.
An individual opinion doesn’t reflect the real situation, as it may be subjective. Therefore, analyze the scope of comments as a system, trying to extract common threads.
For example, there is one complaint about a sales manager together with fifty positive comments about this very manager. This is not a trend but a statistical aberration that is acceptable in any business.
When the analysis shows that hundreds of customers are not satisfied with, for instance, the delivery service, you must take notice of the situation. The first solution that comes to your mind is, perhaps, to hire new couriers. But when you try to look at the root of the problem, you may realize that the delivery management system is insufficient and requires improvement.
Therefore, the analysis of root causes must be a priority, and all of the opinions must be seen in the context.
3. Plan Further Actions
Once you have realized the issues to be addressed, it is time to make an action plan. Think about feasible activities you can perform to improve the status. Be careful: innovations should not disrupt those parts of the system that work well and get positive feedback.
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4. Inform Teams
Each relevant team and individual involved in the process should be aware of the needed changes and should be ready for them. Share the results within the organization and discuss future plans with employees.
When you keep everyone informed, you avoid contingencies and concentrate on improvements.
5. Use Automated Tools
The best advice we can give in the age of digital transformation is to use automated tools for customer feedback analysis. There is a plethora of AI-based algorithms developed especially for processing large amounts of data.
Machine learning (ML) systems can be taught to extract keywords, categorize data by different criteria, generate reports and perform other tasks. They greatly reduce the manual workload, cost and time of analysis. ML systems are flexible, so you are free to create custom tools by adding the criteria you need.
Microsoft provides a set of tools and APIs, known as Microsoft Cognitive Services, for developing AI applications to process unstructured data. Among them, there are language APIs able to analyze texts and define utterance sentiment. They can easily process customer comments and provide business value.
Listening to your customers and taking into account their wishes is the only true way to flourish in the competitive business world. Customers know best regarding what they need and what they don’t. That is why qualitative feedback analysis is a must for modern enterprises.
Remember that you can always turn your weaknesses into strengths, as long as you are flexible and open to changes.