Feedback Analysis

How to measure customer sentiment (and why you should be doing it)

Some brands just have that “it” factor. An invisible but palpable force that can make or break a brand. 

But what is the illustrious “it” that everyone talks about? And how do we use it to come up with tangible actions -  like data-driven answers and research-backed strategies?

The answer is that “it” is your brand's customer sentiment, and customer sentiment analysis is how to use it to your advantage. Measuring customer sentiment goes beyond collecting customer reviews and star ratings; it's the heartbeat of your products and services, the collective voice of your consumers, and the mirror reflecting their thoughts, emotions, and opinions.

It encompasses the joy of discovering a new favorite snack, the frustration of encountering a faulty product, and the excitement of uncovering an innovative feature. Customer sentiment is the soul of your brand's reputation, forged by every interaction, experience, and impression you create.

If you’re ready to learn more, including how to measure customer sentiment, and how you can champion success for your brand by utilizing customer insights, keep reading. Let’s dive in!

Let’s start at the beginning, what is customer sentiment?

Customer sentiment is the collective voice of your customers.

Formally defined, customer sentiment is a measure of how consumers feel about a product or brand. Measuring customer sentiment to perform customer sentiment analysis entails assigning a sentiment score to individual pieces of feedback and analyzing the results. 

So, how do you measure something as intangible as sentiment?

This is where customer sentiment analysis comes into play. It's the tool that transforms the sea of customer feedback into actionable insights.

While recognizing the importance of customer sentiment is a crucial first step, it's sentiment analysis that transforms this abstract concept into actionable insights. And without measuring customer sentiment, there’s no way to perform customer sentiment analysis.

Customer sentiment goes beyond mere star ratings to uncover the emotional context behind each review, revealing the "why" behind customer sentiment. By categorizing elements of customer reviews, comments, and other feedback into positive, negative, or neutral sentiments, you are able to dissect the data into useful insights.

Consider a scenario where a customer gives your snack product a 4-star rating. Without sentiment analysis, this rating remains a numerical score, devoid of context. However, sentiment analysis can reveal that this rating is due to the product's exceptional taste but slightly inconvenient packaging. Armed with this knowledge, you can pinpoint areas for improvement and innovation.

In essence, customer sentiment analysis empowers you to:

  • Cut Off Problems at the Pass: It helps you pinpoint areas of dissatisfaction, allowing you to prioritize improvements that resonate with your customer base. With features like Amazon AI summaries bringing problems to light faster than ever, it’s imperative to take action at the first sign of problems.
  • Align Experiences with Expectations: Deciphering how customers speak about your products and why they feel the way they do allows you to align customer expectations with their lived experiences.
  • Track Brand Perception: By continuously monitoring sentiment, you can gauge the evolving perception of your products (and your competitor's products) over time and adapt your strategies accordingly.

So how do I get started measuring customer sentiment and seeing results?

Now that we've grasped the essence of customer sentiment and its importance, let's dive into the mechanics of how this intricate process actually works. Measuring customer sentiment is like deciphering a complex puzzle, and the pieces are scattered across the vast landscape of customer feedback. Let's bring order to the chaos.

Step 1: Data Collection

First and foremost, sentiment analysis relies on data – lots of it. In today's digital age, customers leave behind vast amounts of data in the form of customer reviews. To begin measuring customer sentiment, this avalanche of data must be collected and organized.

Sentiment analysis tools can aggregate data from numerous sources, creating a comprehensive dataset. This dataset is the canvas upon which the sentiment analysis process unfolds. Reviews, surveys, and any other source of direct consumer feedback can be a great place to start. 

Next, each piece of data is deciphered and assigned a value.

Step 2: Sentiment Scoring

Each piece of feedback or even each idea within a piece of feedback is like a puzzle piece, and text analysis is the tool that assembles the picture. This process involves breaking down the text into its fundamental components – words, phrases, and sentences. Each of these elements is then assigned a sentiment score:

  • Positive: Expressions of satisfaction, delight, and approval.
  • Negative: Expressions of dissatisfaction, frustration, or disappointment.
  • Neutral: Statements that lack a strong emotional charge or could go either way.

Step 3: Customer Insights Analysis

This is the key step in the process where value is found in the form of useful customer insights. In most cases, the data is organized into a dashboard of charts and visualizations that can be easily manipulated with filters.

Pattern recognition is another key element of sentiment analysis. Algorithms can recognize common linguistic elements, time frames, and other elements associated with particular sentiments. 

In essence, measuring customer sentiment involves collecting feedback, breaking it down, assigning sentiment scores, and analyzing it for contextual trends and patterns. It's a foundational process that provides brands with valuable insights into how their customers perceive their products and services.

Interested in learning more about this complex process and even becoming an expert for your brand? Our Product Review Strategy course dives into the nitty gritty of how to perform and make the most of your customer review data. Sign up now for free!

Why brands are prioritizing customer sentiment analysis now more than ever

When measured properly, customer sentiment encapsulates the emotions, attitudes, and experiences that customers associate with your products, brands, and related customer experiences.

Customer sentiment analysis seeks to measure and put hard data and quantify information that is usually qualitative and nebulous. It's like gaining access to a focus group of thousands, allowing you to listen in on their conversations, desires, and pain points.

Understanding customer sentiment isn't merely a nice-to-have; it's a strategic imperative. Here's why:

  1. Enhanced Brand Loyalty: Customers today expect more than just a transaction; they seek meaningful connections with the brands they choose. By tapping into their emotions, you can cultivate stronger relationships, turning casual buyers into loyal advocates who champion your products.
  2. Informed Decision-Making: Customer sentiment provides valuable insights into what's working and what's not. It helps you tailor your marketing strategies, fine-tune your product offerings, and make informed decisions that resonate with your target audience.
  3. Outshining Competitors: In a world where choices abound, brand loyalty is at an all-time low. In fact, 63% of consumers think brands need to do a better job responding to feedback. By consistently delivering products and experiences that align with customer desires, you can rise above the competition and expand audiences in your industry.

Now that we've explored how it works and why it’s important, let's journey into the options available for measuring customer sentiment: manual vs. AI-driven solutions.

Now that we grasp the mechanics of measuring customer sentiment, let's explore the two primary approaches for executing this vital task: manual and AI-driven solutions.

Manual Sentiment Analysis:

Manual sentiment analysis relies on an analyst to interpret customer feedback. This option involves manually assessing the text, interpreting its context, and assigning sentiment scores. 

While with manual analysis there is the benefit of potential industry knowledge, it can be quite time-consuming, and scaling up manual analysis to handle vast datasets can be challenging and costly. Read: spreadsheets, spreadsheets, and more spreadsheets.

AI-Driven Sentiment Analysis:

Yogi’s sentiment analysis platform is able to process large volumes of data quickly and consistently.

Central to sentiment analysis is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Think of NLP as the Rosetta Stone for translating human language into data that can be used to make quantitative decisions. It enables machines to read, interpret, and even "comprehend" text as humans do in order to assign the correct sentiment score.

From there, Yogi automatically translates the data into easy-to-navigate data visualizations, and charts, even generating in-depth generative AI summaries. It recognizes patterns and associations within the text, time frames, and among any number of other factors and variables at play.

Hit the ground running with Yogi sentiment analysis

As you travel deeper into this journey of measuring and leveraging customer sentiment, remember that understanding your customers is the first step towards exceeding their expectations and, in turn, achieving your brand's goals.

In the rapidly evolving consumer goods landscape, customer sentiment analysis isn't merely a tool—it's a strategic imperative. It guides your brand toward a future of enhanced customer satisfaction, informed decision-making, and enduring success.

If you’re ready to hit the ground running and learn how customers feel about your brand - request a sample analysis today!