What is customer sentiment? [Expert Insight]

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Flori Needle
Flori Needle

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How would you rate your recent service experience on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being extremely satisfied?

customer sentiment

You might include that question in a survey to get a sense of customer sentiment toward your business.

In this post, we’ll discuss customer sentiment, how to measure it, and how you can use it to improve experiences with your business.

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Table of Contents

What is customer sentiment?

Customer sentiment measures how customers think and feel about your business. It lets you know if they’re satisfied or dissatisfied, loyal, or at risk of churn.

Neil Dixit is the founder of Glimpse, an AI-powered platform that helps marketers conduct research and uncover high-quality and actionable insights. He says, “A customer’s emotional state and tone is incredibly important in understanding their behavior and purchase intent…Positive sentiment indicates happier customers who are more likely to be more loyal, with the potential of attracting new customers through positive word of mouth.”

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What is customer sentiment analysis?

Customer sentiment analysis is how businesses get a view of customer sentiment. It’s typically an automated process of collecting and analyzing feedback to understand their emotions.

“Many brands use sentiment analysis (often scraped from social media posts, user reviews, message boards, etc.) to try to better gauge an understanding of their customers (or potential customers),” says Dixit.

The main types of customer sentiment analysis are fine-grained analysis, emotion detection, and aspect analysis.

  • Fine-grained analysis measures the polarity of text (positive, neutral, or negative)
  • Emotion detection uses machine learning algorithms to detect the emotion or feeling behind text and conversations.
  • Aspect sentiment analysis breaks down strings of text and classifies them in parts to understand sentiment.

The customer sentiment analysis process can be in-the-moment, like while support conversations are happening over chatbot or over time as data is collected, aggregated, and analyzed.

Benefits of Customer Sentiment Analysis

The biggest benefit to customer sentiment analysis is that it gives your business a better understanding of your customers. When you know how they feel, you get a better sense of how your business is doing regarding customer satisfaction and if you need to improve your processes.

Automated analysis tools can also help you make in-the-moment decisions to address customer needs, like a tool with natural language processing abilities that can tell when a chatbot conversation requires escalation to a rep trained in diffusing tense situations.

Customer sentiment analysis also helps you:

  • Reduce churn
  • Re-train employees if there are drops in satisfaction after support interactions
  • Make improvements to products and services based on feedback

Overall, customer sentiment analysis helps businesses make informed decisions to improve the customer experience.

Dixit says, “Accurately capturing audience sentiment is the difference between deeper customer understanding and merely scratching the surface. The challenge is gauging sentiment rapidly, at scale, across numerous customer segments in a representative way.”

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So, how do you gain that deeper customer understanding?

How to Measure Customer Sentiment

The main ways to measure customer sentiment are through:

  • Data from customer surveys (NPS surveys, follow-up feedback scores, etc.)
  • Reps asking customers for feedback during 1:1 conversations, whether online, in person, or over the phone)
  • Online product reviews and ratings from your site or third-party sites
  • Customer interviews or focus groups
  • Social media monitoring for mentions (direct and indirect), reactions, and likes

The most popular way to measure customer sentiment is with a sentiment analysis tool that uses AI and machine learning to analyze your customer data and share insights with you, whether it’s transcripts from phone calls or ratings on feedback forms.

HubSpot’s Customer Feedback Software is a great tool to learn what your customers are really thinking about your business.

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Get started with HubSpot Customer Feedback Software

With it, you can:

  • Create and customize surveys to send to customers at key touchpoints.
  • Analyze customer feedback data to learn how they’re feeling.
  • Use data to make actionable decisions to improve your customer experience.

A benefit to using software is that it’s an easy, automated process, and many tools can collect and analyze data from multiple sources to give you a well-rounded view of customer sentiment.

How does Glimpse measure customer sentiment?

“How many times have you texted a friend with one meaning in mind but were surprised to discover they interpreted your text completely differently?” says Dixit.

He says most digitally active people across the globe recognize emojis, so Glimpse made expert use of them. Dixit says, “By asking our respondents to categorize the feelings conveyed in their responses by choosing from an array of emojis, we’re able to better tap into the realm of the emotional reactions that are often prior to and more powerful than language or reason.”

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He says emojis have the power to evoke immediate and instinctive responses, so Glimpse can get a deeper understanding of customers' emotions — “This approach, combined with other forms of AI-powered analysis, allow us to capture authentic emotional responses that might otherwise be challenging to articulate through text alone.”

Over To You

Analyzing customer sentiment helps you understand how your customers are feeling, and it’s most impactful when you put it to good use by updating your business processes, improving your support experience, and making meaningful updates to products or services you know your customers want.

In the end, it all pays off because satisfied customers are the most loyal customers you’ll ever have.

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