Dec 12, 2011

How good is text analytics software at analyzing on-line posts to measure customer sentiment towards your company?

How much value have you found in the use of text analytics software (software that analyzes posts in social media to gauge attitudes and opinions about your company)? Is it effective in understanding the impact of your business decisions? It seems to me that you could easily get a skewed result because the people who are most likely to post comments are either those individuals who are either very unhappy or extremely pleased with a company.


Another way sentiment analysis software can be used is to find out how your employees are thinking about your company by analyzing employee communications.  It might be nice to know what the internal mindset is at any given time or on some specific topic.  Of course, I could see a lot of very unpleasant terms being used repeatedly once your employees are aware that all of their communications are being analyzed.  Some companies do a version of this by monitoring employees Facebook posts, so it isn't as much of a leap as it sounds.  If a company is very careful to ensure that individuals are not specifically identifiable, I could see this as a valid and useful use of text analytics, but you would have to treat very carefully through the privacy minefield not to end up with a bunch of outraged employees.   

Hi heyfoxe,

Here's a good article that shows how useful it has been for companies like JetBlue. I suspect that it will get better and better as time goes by. It seems to be quite helpful for companies to understand how customers view them and their services or products.

How Text Analytics Drive Customer Insight

"There's nothing like an ice storm and angry customers to focus the mind. JetBlue Airways went through a trial by ice in February 2007, when a storm grounded flights at New York's Kennedy Airport and left its passengers stranded on the runway for hours. During the crisis and its aftermath, the volume of e-mail to the company soared from 400 a day to 15,000. Personnel couldn't possibly read and report on all the messages in a timely way--but the company needed to respond.

Not long before the storm, JetBlue had begun to explore text analytics, intrigued by new technology that promised real linguistic analysis that could mine for concepts, not just do the simplistic "counting words" approach. In the heat of the crisis, one text analytics vendor, Attensity, analyzed all the e-mail messages JetBlue had received and produced a report in two days. The report proved critical to the development of JetBlue's customer bill of rights, says Bryan Jeppsen, a JetBlue senior analyst.

The airline went on to integrate Attensity with other customer analysis. It uses Satmetrix's Net Promoter metrics, which gives JetBlue a score based on the percentage of customers classified as "detractors," "neutrals," or "promoters." That score is useful because it's clear, simple feedback everyone in the company understands. But "executives want to know why the score has moved up or down," Jeppsen says. "Was it because planes left on time or were late? Was it the average fare? The only ones who really know are the customers." By using Attensity to match specific comments and comment patterns with structured data such as arrival times, fares, crews, and gates, the airline thinks it can solve problems more rapidly."

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