How do customers make purchasing decisions? The answer, research tells us, is far more impacted by emotion than logic. How your customers feel about your brand or product is one of the single most important factors for any CPG business. The feeling or emotion that customers have about a product or an aspect of the product or associated customer experience, is called customer sentiment.
Customer sentiment is the driving factor behind so many brand success stories and bankruptcies. Nowadays, stories spread faster than ever before – a single instance of poor customer service could wind up as a viral video on YouTube, damaging your brand’s reputation and driving customers away. In 2021, Zendesk ran a Customer Experience Trends Report which found that half of all customers will move to a competitor after a single bad experience. On the other hand, positive customer sentiment is equally as contagious and can be the foundation for building a solid and supportive community around your brand.
Measuring customer sentiment is vital because even subtle changes can indicate significant problems down the road. By catching an issue early, you can take preventative measures. If customer sentiment is high, then you know that you need to keep doing what you’re doing. Many businesses also use customer sentiment data to improve the customer’s buying experiences. By tracking this metric, you bring your brand closer to your customers, enabling you to incorporate their feedback into every aspect of your business. In turn, your customers will recognize this and appreciate your commitment to them.
There are several different data sources that can be used to measure customer sentiment. We explore these in more detail below. This includes things like post-purchase surveys, social media, news articles, as well as ratings and reviews. While other data sources have their uses, one of the highest quality and most-overlooked sources of truth for customer sentiment is this last category: ratings and reviews. In effect, they represent an unbiased focus group of tens of thousands of actual purchasers. Companies all over the world are scrambling to extract data from their customers, often overlooking the fact that thousands of their customers are already providing data by reviewing their products.
Once you have the data, there are different ways to analyze it to provide powerful insights that can drive intelligent decisions throughout your company. In other words, you need to know how to measure customer sentiment. The most efficient and reliable method for analyzing this data is AI-based text analysis using natural language processing. When applied to ratings and reviews, this technology can help you extract potent insights. A platform such as Yogi can help you aggregate all of your customer product feedback, organize it using AI, and analyze it to provide quantifiable data that you can use to get insights into customer sentiment.
How To Measure Customer Sentiment
In order to successfully track any metric, you need data. Fortunately, businesses today have a wealth of data sources that can provide them with the information they need. For example, you can look at publicly available sources of information, such as social media and news articles. Collecting data on social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Live can help you understand what customers are saying about your product and whether or not your brand is succeeding. The same can be said of podcasts. This is known as social media sentiment analysis.
In several industries, significant events can trigger headlines that can impact customer sentiment. For example, a news report on illnesses resulting from a drug could seriously impact a pharmaceutical company. There are many tools today that crawl the web, scan for mentions of your brand, and help you analyze this kind of data. From an internal perspective, customer support tickets can be another great source of customer sentiment data. By reviewing and analyzing call logs and email records, brands can get a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not from the customer’s perspective.
Then comes the mighty survey. One of the most popular tools for gathering data on customer sentiment, a post-purchase survey can be an excellent way to get insights into customer sentiment. You can also use email surveys or even mobile messages. Although less quantifiable, some of the highest quality data on customer sentiment often come from open-ended survey questions. Open-ended survey questions provide an excellent way for customers to express their feelings which is gold when it comes to sentiment analysis. The only difficulty with surveys is that they often require technological platforms and expert knowledge in order is to extract high-quality data. For example, it is critical to ensure that your survey is from a wide demographic in order for the results to be reliable. Otherwise, you could make the mistake of optimizing for a subset of your overall customer base, alienating other groups. You’ll also need to consider how you are going to deliver this survey and whether or not you will want to offer any incentives in order to encourage customers to complete it.
In addition to all these sources, there is another reliable source of data you can use, as a CPG business, to measure customer sentiment – ratings and reviews.
The Most Reliable Source of Truth For Customer Sentiment
When a customer leaves a review or rates a product, they are providing you with quantifiable data that reveals their sentiment. For many brands, this is happening constantly, providing a wealth of data. Many organizations are aware of the ability of ratings to shape customer sentiment for good or ill. Research has shown that reviews are a significant factor for shoppers when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
However, reviews are more than just a driver; they are also a powerful source of information about how your customers are feeling about your products. Customer reviews often have the same depth as open-ended survey questions but save you the hassle of creating a customer survey and sending it out. This means that you can get detailed feedback on exactly what aspects of your product customers appreciate and what aspects are driving down customer sentiment and satisfaction. This data can be used to improve your products and can even be used to drive new product developments.
Ultimately, ratings and reviews are one of the most comprehensive and useful sources of data on customer sentiment. However, certain difficulties arise when you attempt to quantify this data. Ratings are easily quantifiable, but reviews are not. What are the measurement methods used for customer sentiment?
Quantifying Sentiment – Popular Approaches
One of the most well-known analytical methods for measuring customer sentiment is through surveys. Conducting a survey usually requires the use of a unique platform that provides you with the technology for creating surveys and delivering them to customers. This platform, ideally, has access to a large and diverse panel of survey takers geographically distributed all over the world. You can then create your survey with a combination of close-ended questions and open-ended questions that will give you an ideal mixture of qualitative and quantitative data. Once enough responses have been recorded, many of these platforms also provide dashboards that enable you to visualize the data. However, these platforms can be expensive, and it can be challenging to get enough people to respond to your survey. Also, these surveys are often designed to understand the customer generally rather than drilling down to the specific opinions of current and former customers of your brand.
In order to get this level of specificity, you could opt for another method of customer sentiment analysis: one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Focus groups provide you with a more personal way to connect to your customers and can be an excellent method for collecting data. These group sessions can be recorded, and the recordings can be run through sentiment analysis tools. Sentiment analysis tools use artificial intelligence to organize and analyze human customer feedback. Again, the cost and lack of convenience when it comes to organizing this analysis method make it less than ideal for many organizations.
A third method for analyzing and quantifying customer sentiment is to use AI-powered text analysis. Text mining (or text analytics) is a practice widely used by organizations for a number of different data tracking purposes. Simply put, it is a method of analysis that collects text and then breaks it down into categories using artificial intelligence. A key element of its ability to do this successfully is an innovation known as natural language processing (NLP). With NLP, machines are able to “read” and “understand” text data in a human-like fashion. When applied to ratings and reviews, an advanced NLP analytics solution could instantly read thousands of reviews and provide you with a variety of data points, including overall customer sentiment scores as well as specific patterns in the ways that customers are reacting to your products. This is one of the most powerful ways to track customer sentiment.
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