What is Customer Sentiment? And Why Does it Matter?
Did you know that the majority of customers are just a couple of bad experiences away from leaving you and taking their dollars and loyalty to one of your competitors? The research is clear: If you want better customer retention rates, you have to pay steady attention to valuable customer satisfaction metrics with customer sentiment analysis.
What is Customer Sentiment?
Customer sentiment is basically a key performance indicator (KPI) that measures how customers feel about/toward your brand. It helps you measure the overall emotions of people who use your product or service based on what they’re saying and how they’re engaging.
The broad measurements of customer sentiment are positive, negative, and neutral. However, you can get even more granular about how you analyze it with intelligent sentiment analysis tools that leverage machine learning and NLP, NLU and NLG to monitor interactions with customers.
Customer sentiment looks at the broad associations people have with your brand. It’s not a one-to-one measurement of each customer.
If 90 out of 100 interactions are positive, this means the overall customer sentiment is positive (even though the other 10 interactions are negative or neutral). So it’s an aggregate measurement of feelings, opinions, and attitudes as they relate to your brand and overall measurement of the customer service experience.
Customer sentiment is measured using software that collects and analyzes data, including customer feedback, customer expectations and understanding if quality customer service was delivered through their lifecycle. Platforms like Aisera’s AI-powered Support Intelligence (AISI) platform sift through large amounts of customer data to develop crucial insights with regard to customer health, sentiment, and satisfaction.
Based on these data points, companies can get a firm feel for their current situation, as well as opportunities for improvement.
(More on how to improve customer sentiment appears in the latter half of this article.)
Why Customer Sentiment Matters
Now that you have a sense of the nature of customer sentiment, let’s discuss why it matters. Here are several reasons:
- Customer service. Did you know that one out of every three customers will leave your brand and choose a competitor after a single bad experience? Or that 64 percent of consumers stop doing business with a brand after two or three negative experiences? (Talk about fickle!) By focusing on customer sentiment, you can zero in on when and where bad experiences happen and correct them before they become widespread. An emphasis on customer sentiment will lead to delivering excellent customer service.
- Revenue. Customers who are happy and satisfied with your brand spend more than customers who are not. This means high customer sentiment leads to higher revenue over time.
- Loyalty. When customers are happy and continue to have positive interactions with your brand, they have no reason to jump ship in favor of one of your competitors. Even if other firms promote newer or cheaper offerings, your people will tend to stick with the brand they already know, like, and trust.
- Exposure. Research shows customers talk to their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and loved ones about their experiences with brands (positive, negative, or neutral). About 50 percent of customers share their experiences on social media, but as much as 72 percent actually talk about them in person. That same rate of people (72 percent) will tell six or more others about their positive experience. Just 13 percent of customers will recommend a company with poor customer service.
- Marketing and innovation. Another benefit of having your finger on the pulse of your company’s customer sentiment is that you may unearth new opportunities. Your customers will tell you what they like and don’t like. They may even expose you to different desires and pain points of which you were not aware. This can guide you to develop new marketing campaigns, innovation, and creative product development.
The above is just the low-hanging fruit. The more you study customer sentiment, the more it’ll have a positive impact on your business and brand. The key is to keep your finger constantly on the pulse.
How to Improve Customer Sentiment
The great thing about customer sentiment is that it’s malleable. If your overall customer sentiment is low, you can raise it over time. Here are several ways to make this happen.
1. Start With a Baseline
It’s difficult to improve something if you don’t have a clear read on where matters stand at the current moment. Which is to say you need a baseline measurement. In terms of customer sentiment, this means taking the time to collect and analyze the data. Our AI Support Intelligence platform is perfect for this.
2. Empower Your Employees
One of the best things you can do for your overall customer experience (and employee experience) is to empower your customer service representatives to make decisions that could have a positive impact on customer sentiment.
For example, try cutting back on the number of approvals customer service reps are required to obtain in order to make customers happy. If it’s a small issue that’s only going to cost the company a few dollars (but which would increase the chances of retaining that customer), this should be a no-brainer.
Your customer service team ought to be empowered to facilitate these actions directly on a call without having to put the customer through a long hold time. Find a dollar amount you’re comfortable with (whether it’s $40 or $200) and give your employees the freedom to make judgment calls on decisions that are below the threshold.
3. Personalize Customer Interactions
Customers love to feel special. Anything you can do to make them feel as if they’re being treated as an individual, not just another customer, will enhance the overall experience and produce better customer sentiment numbers.
There’s power in personalization. Here are some examples of ways you can personalize interactions:
- Use customer data (like names and locations) to customize emails and marketing materials.
- Offer recommendations on future purchases based on past purchase activity.
- Use ad-retargeting to personalize how, when, and where you deliver ads to customers who already interact with your brand.
- Develop a dynamic website experience that serves customers unique content based on their data.
Personalization is becoming far more common in the digital marketing world. You should be doing some personalization just to keep up. But anything you can do beyond the basics will help you stand out from the crowd.
4. Gather and Apply Feedback
The final suggestion is to gather feedback proactively from customers. You can do this via polls, surveys, one-on-one conversations, social media, and so on.
As you gather feedback, look for opportunities to leverage the insights. Not only will this help you improve your products and services, but it also shows customers you truly value their opinions to deliver great customer service every single time. You can chalk this up as another win in the customer sentiment column!
Demo Aisera Today!
Want to learn more about how you can use Aisera to empower employees to put customers first? Interested in identifying easy ways to elevate your customer sentiment by strengthening the customer experience? Request a demo today!