Text of this article/post is produced here for easy reference. To navigate to original page click here

Analyzing Customer Sentiment – Do you know how your customer is feeling today?

March 7th, 2013
By - Kaushik, VP – Product Engineering, eMee

The average cost of customer acquisition in e-Commerce today is around Rs 1,200. With the average ticket size for e-Commerce being relative low, most companies have realized that the current model as unsustainable in the long run.

It is becoming more critical for companies to reduce the overall cost of customer acquisition and start utilizing other mechanisms for acquiring customers and increasing ticket size. Utilizing customer referrals to invite new members has been a proven model. One happy paying customer can pull in multiple paying customers through referrals dramatically reducing the marketing cost and the overall customer acquisition cost. Mark the emphasis on “happy paying customer”.

As an e-Commerce portal do you have the answers to the following questions?

Do you know how your customer is feeling today ? Is the customer happy with the post sales service? What did the customer think about the delivery timelines ? Did the product exactly match his requirements? Would he refer your portal to his closest friends and family to make their next purchase?

If not, it’s time that you setup a process to able to track customer sentiment on your portal.

Some of the top reasons why you should be carefully tracking customer sentiment around your portal/brand:

Reduce your marketing spend: A happy customer can bring in friends onto the portal through referrals which is considered as the top method to get paying customers. On the other hand one negative customer can amplify a negative brand of your portal very quickly among his circles. Instead of spending marketing dollars to be able to grow the brand it is critical to start utilizing your customers as brand ambassadors.

It’s a highly connected world: Today we live in a highly connected world. Social networks spread both positive and negative sentiments quick and fast and the impact can reach millions of customers very quickly. In such a scenario it has become increasingly critical to be aware of consumer sentiment around your overall brand, specific products and categories and respond accordingly. Being aware of how people are reacting to your brand on social media and responding appropriately could make a significant impact to your social brand.

Track how your top customers are feeling: Your top customers are critical for the long term growth of your portal and your brand. It is critical to be able to track the sentiment of your top customers and address those who have negative sentiment effectively. Top customers who have positive sentiment and have a significant social klout can be very effectively leveraged to spread your brand.

Where can I find customer sentiment:

On portal: Typically reviews/ratings, service desk emails, mood indicators, feedback forms are all key sources for extracting customer sentiment on the portal. It is critical to provide enough options for the customer to be able to express their sentiment on the portal so that negative sentiment can get quickly addressed within the portal through the service desk rather than customers taking it to public forums.

Social Networks: Social networks have become the single definitive place for people to share their opinions about the things they like and don’t like. We share our opinions about the movie that released last week, the great restaurant that we visited over the weekend with our entire social graph. The ability to listen into social networks to track what people think of your brand and products are great sources to track customer sentiment.

Review Sites: Review sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp, Mouthshut all encourage users to express their sentiment online in a more structured way. It’s been said that a half star increase in Yelp rating could result in over 19% increased business. With people spending more time researching online before they make a purchase, review sites have become a valuable source for tracking customer sentiment around products and services.

Sentiment Analysis is now quickly becoming mainstream with brands and products looking more closely at all forms of customer sentiment data to understand how customers are responding to new launches, how people reacted to a new ad campaign among others as a few examples. With latest advances in Sentiment Analysis techniques, real time sentiment analysis and the ability to predict the mood of your customer (Sad/Angry/Excited) is also something that companies are starting to look at.

(Guest Author: Kaushik, VP – Product Engineering, eMee)