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Customer sentiment has taken a lot of prominence in business and no more so as we gradually wade into the new normal. Fortunately for organizations, this task has been made easier with the advancement in technology.
You can now go about the gathering of customer sentiment from quite a handful of places, such as word-of-mouth (WOM), social media, surveys, likes, comments as well as contact centers. The main reason that has made customer sentiment to occupy a central position in the conduct of business is that brands, now more than ever, have realized the importance of customer experience.
The competition has risen significantly and this could be due to the fact that the world is now a global village, it’s, therefore, of utmost importance that you cultivate brand loyalty. Driving product and service development have become focal CRM characteristics.
There is a world of difference between customer sentiment and SEO ranking. For your keyword ranking, all you actually need is a list of relevant keywords that will make your brand visible to the search engines while you must go all out to gather data from customers for their views and opinions.
This can be through user behavior on social media, from the body language of a customer that physically visits, or from the tone of voice when a customer or user calls. A lot of customers indulge in social media to posts review online after purchasing your product and even some chat about your brand with friends on social media.
Other actions they can take from which you can deduce their sentiments and emotions include clicking on ads or calling a contact center. If you know how customers feel about your brand notwithstanding whether their views are positive or negative, then you have a very big arsenal to fight the competition.
It’s one thing to gather sentiments but another thing altogether to capitalize on the information at your disposal and this is very necessary as you go into the new normal.
Procedure for gathering sentiment
Before you can proceed into gathering sentiment, you must know where and what to look for. You can, however, get what you want through any or a combination of the following.
Most customers are very happy whenever they purchase any product or service and are able to get absolutely what they wanted. They can go to any length to express their satisfaction.
Incidentally, the story is the same when they feel shortchanged. WOM is as old as marketing itself and is about the most trusted way you can really use to gauge a customer’s intent.
It’s self-motivated and comes both naturally and spontaneously. If you can make the required effort to gather WOM form your customers, you can be sure that you have data that is both authentic and unadulterated.
2. Social media
The coming of social media meant a very big turn around in the way marketing is being conducted. Social media has a very wide reach, therefore, it has become a highly rewarding source of the data collection process for customer sentiment.
On a daily basis, customers interact directly with each other on some major social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They easily banter and exchange varying views, as well as perspectives, on products and services.
Customers and users even go ahead to pin-point the actual merits and demerits that come along with products and services from brands. You can capitalize on this rich source of sentiment by bundling social media listening software into your systems.
This type of software can be used to monitor all the major social media channels for your brand’s mentions. You can also ensure that a lot of the most important analytics are also built-in.
While this may not be as effective as social media mentions and discussions, there are prompts within apps that can be used to gauge even if thinly, customers’ views about products and services. It comes as twofold feedback, requesting the customers to click a button that indicates they either like or love a product.
Measurement of sentiment
While you have gone about trying to gather sentiments from different sources, it will be a better strategy if you have tools in place to actually measure sentiment. Some tools you can deploy include:
1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
You have every right to embark on guesswork in an attempt to come up with your score on customer satisfaction, especially as you have a lot of sources to gather data. A more scientific and proven way is to go along with the world’s best practices and CSAT is a good means of measurement.
The CSAT is based on a Likert scale survey question but is on a 0-10 rating, instead of using a 5 or 7-point scale, sometimes referred to as a satisfaction scale, that varies from one extreme behavioral attitude to another. With this, you can easily determine how your customers are receptive to changes you have brought to bear to a product or service.
It can also be used to score the impact of a campaign or experiential marketing. There are no complications in the calculation of the score and it can be added to your brand’s CRM analytical process.
Where CSAT becomes very prominent is in the application in the whole of the customer journey rather than in isolation. You can deploy it to gauge the customer sentiment right from product presentation, through purchase, upgrading, and finally to service.
It’s a comprehensive scale.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
You will need a customer experience metric to measure the sentiment of your customers to the brand and that is where NPS comes in. When the question such as,“ How likely is it that you would recommend brand X, product Y, or service Z to a friend, family member, or a colleague?” is asked in a survey, your customers give a rating between 0 and 10 which depicts from not likely to overwhelmingly likely.
Based on the response, customers are categorized into one of 3 categories to establish an NPS score:
- Promoters are those that respond with a score of 9 or 10 and are typically loyal and enthusiastic customers.
- Passives will respond with a score of 7 or 8. This indicates that they are satisfied with your service but not happy enough to be considered promoters.
- Detractors usually respond with a score of 0 to 6. These are unhappy customers who are unlikely to buy from you again, and may even go to the extent of discouraging others from doing so.
In the end, you calculate the NPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
It’s not just enough to gather the information, the most important thing is what you do with the insight at your disposal. How you make use of the information determines your degree of competitiveness in the market.
You must deploy the data you have to arrive at CRM decisions as well as product development and service policy. Customers can change their ratings any time and that means you must constantly monitor the scores.
When there is a drop in a customer’s rating, you must endeavor to find out what has gone wrong and put measures in place to correct the perceived anomaly. You must also realize that your competitors must be monitoring your progress and will be ready to pounce on customers whose ratings suddenly move from positive to negative.
If you have customers who can influence others, they automatically become brand ambassadors. A drop in their ratings will go along way to affect your popularity, you, therefore, need to act in real-time.
A proper customer sentiment analysis will reveal to you the underlying customer behavior. This is an important insight as to what do and when to do it, in order to maintain a solid relationship between you and the customers.