How Sentiment Analysis & Social Listening Can Improve the Customer Experience

leverage-social-media

In today’s customer-centric marketplace, creating and executing a strong customer experience (CX) is vital to a company’s overall success.  Research, in fact, shows a direct correlation between the customer experience and customer retention, with 59% of global senior executives reporting higher revenue growth when CEOs become actively involved in CX efforts.

But the potential of the customer experience (to improve a company’s bottom line, for example) says nothing of rising customer expectations of those experiences.

A new study by LogMeIn and Ovum reveals a disconnect between customer service expectations (from customers) and customer service delivery (from contact centers).  According to the research, 76% of customers surveyed have quit doing business with a brand following an experience that failed to meet their expectations.

So the question is: What can contact centers do to improve the customer experience?  What can they do to ensure they meet customer expectations of those experiences?

Social media is one solution.  

Let’s take a look at a few specific ways contact centers can leverage social to provide the types of experiences customers are looking to have:

Quicker Response Times

Forty-two percent of customers on social media expect a response from companies in 60 minutes or less, according to digital marketing advisory firm Convince & Convert.  Yes, you read that right: Nearly half of all customers on social expect companies to not only respond to but resolve their concerns within less than an hour!

What does this mean for contact centers?  When it comes to social customer support, quick response time is critical.

But, as noted in a recent Smart Customer Service article, prompt response on social is often easier said than done.  On Twitter, for example, companies historically have not been able to direct message a customer unless that customer was already a follower of the brand (a process that takes multiple steps to complete).

With Twitter’s new DM functionality, however, companies can now direct message customers whether or not they follow the brand.  The change “saves customers valuable time and makes the overall experience more customer-centric,” says Jeanette Gibson, vice president of customer experience and community at Hootsuite, in the article.

One-to-One Engagement

It’s no secret that engagement via social media is critical to connecting with customers.  Pew Research Center data shows 74% of total online adults use social networking sites – including Facebook (71%), LinkedIn (28%), Pinterest (28%), Instagram (26%), and Twitter (23%).

Yet new research from Social Bakers shows the majority of companies are falling short of meeting customer service expectations on social media.  According to the research, brands answered fewer than 30% of the 7 million questions asked of them on Twitter in the second quarter of 2015.

To engage customers in the one-to-one communications they’re looking to have, companies need to proactively monitor social communications and respond promptly.  Social can help customer service representatives identify customer pain points, values, behaviors, etc., that can be used to create personalized communications that cater to a customer’s individual wants and needs.

Social Listening & Sentiment Analysis

With 70% of the buying experience based on how customers feel they are being treated, companies have to ensure that they’re listening to the voice of the customer to uncover customer attitudes on services, products, campaigns, or other topics.

That’s where sentiment analysis comes into play.

Sentiment analysis measures the acoustic characteristics of a telephone caller (i.e., physical stress in the voice, changes in the stress, and the rate of speech) and meshes these acoustic measures with the overall context of the conversation to determine the true meaning behind spoken words.

This same concept can be applied across social media channels as well.  By “listening” to positive and negative company mentions across social networks, companies can use these insights to take actionable steps to improve the customer experience and overall impression of the company.

Final Thoughts

The statistics speak for themselves: With fully three-quarters of online adults on social media networks, it’s clear these newer communications platforms are here to stay.  So the question then becomes, “What can companies do to leverage the power of social networks to improve or enhance the customer experience?”

What tips or suggestions do you have for using social media to provide a better experience for your customers?  What best practices would you have for organizations looking to do the same?  We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

©iStockphoto.com/Anatolii Babii

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Posted in Customer Experience, Speech Analytics