Have you ever received a text from a family member and couldn't tell if they were joking or not? Unless we directly tell the person how we feel, emotions and tone don't carry well over text, which often makes it difficult to determine the intent of a message. We can use punctuation to help, but there's no universal way to communicate things like sarcasm or irony through text.

In 1580, English printer, Henry Denham, tried to solve this problem by coming up with this mark to symbolize sarcasm: ⸮

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Spoiler alert, it never quite caught on and when technology like text messages, live chat, and social media came me about, people still had no definitive way of identifying the sentiment behind a text message. This became a real problem for businesses as they realized how difficult it was to determine if customer feedback was positive or negative. It's hard for a customer to describe a problem when they only can use 280 characters, and without proper context, customer service teams don't have the information they need to appropriately respond to the issue.

As text-based communication like social media and live chat become more popular in customer service, businesses need a way to accurately and efficiently filter their customers' feedback. This is where a sentiment analysis tool comes in handy to interpret a text and explain the intent or tone of a customer's message.

In this post, we'll explain what a sentiment analysis tool is and provide a list of the best options available for your team this year.

What Is a Sentiment Analysis Tool?

A sentiment analysis tool is software that analyzes text conversations and evaluates the tone, intent, and emotion behind each message. By digging deeper into these elements, the tool uncovers more context from your text conversations and helps your customer service team accurately analyze feedback. This is particularly useful for companies who actively engage with their customers via social media, chat, and email where it can be difficult to determine the sentiment behind a text-based message.

Benefits of Adopting a Sentiment Analysis Tool

If your company provides an omni-channel experience, a sentiment analysis tool can save your team valuable time organizing and reporting customer feedback. Rather than going through each tweet and comment one-by-one, a sentiment analysis tool processes your feedback and automatically interprets whether it's positive, negative, or neutral. Then, it compounds your data and displays it in charts or graphs that clearly outline trends in your customer feedback. This not only gives your team accurate information to work with, but frees up time for your employees to work on other tasks in their day-to-day workflow.

Now that you know what a sentiment analysis tool is and how it can benefit your business, let's take a look at some of the best tools available for 2019.

1. HubSpot's ServiceHub

HubSpot's ServiceHub tools include a customer feedback tool that can break down qualitative survey responses and evaluate them for positive or negative intent. It uses NPS® surveys to clarify whether a customer's review was good or bad and organizes them based on their sentiment. Users analyze the results by looking at one comprehensive dashboard that includes charts and graphs which provide an overview of customer satisfaction.

HubSpot's ServiceHub suite can also analyze customers on an individual basis. You can integrate your CRM with ServiceHub and review survey responses from specific contacts in your database. That way, your team can quickly identify customers who are unhappy and follow up with them after they've had a negative experience with your brand. Since 60% of customers stop doing business with a company after one poor experience, this gives your team an opportunity to intercept unhappy customers and prevent potential churn.

Price: Free

2. Quick Search

Quick Search is a sentiment analysis tool that's part of a larger customer service platform called Talkwalker. This tool works best with your social media channels because it can tell you exactly how people feel about your company's social media accounts. Quick Search looks at your mentions, comments, engagements, and other data to provide your team with an extensive breakdown of how customers are responding to your social media activity. This helps your team plan and produce effective campaigns that captivate your target audience.

Price: $800/month

3. Repustate

Repustate has a sophisticated text-analysis API that accurately assesses the sentiment behind customer responses. Its software can pick up on short-form text and slang like lol, rofl, and smh. It also analyzes emojis and determines their intention within the context of a message. For example, if I use a ;) emoji, Repustate tells you if that's a positive or negative symbol based on what it finds in the rest of the conversation.

Repustate also lets you customize your API's rules to have it filter for language that may be specific to your industry. If there's slang or alternate meanings for words, you can program those subtleties into Repustate's system. This way you have full control over how the software analyzes your customers' feedback.

Price: $99/month

4. Lexalytics

Lexalytics offers a text-analysis tool that's focused on explaining why a customer is responding to your business in a certain way. It uses natural language processing to parse the text, then runs a sentiment analysis to determine the intent behind the customer's message. Finally, Lexalytics concludes the process by compiling the information it derives into an easy-to-read and shareable display. While most sentiment analysis tools tell you how customers feel, Lexalytics differentiates itself by telling you why customers feel the way that they do.

Price: Variable

5. Critical Mention

Critical Mention is different than the other options on this list because it analyzes news and other publications that reference your business. This way, you can see the sentiment behind stories that are rapidly surfacing to the public. Since news coverage is now a 24/7 affair, it helps to have software that can monitor the internet and alert you to any buzz your business is making.

Critical Mention can even alert you to stories that appear on television. You can search through video files for mentions of your company and easily clip videos to share with other employees. If your business gets positively mentioned on a live broadcast, quickly access the video segment and share it on your social media channels. This can help you create effective online content that capitalizes on timely marketing opportunities.

Price: $29/month as reported by FitSmallBusiness.com

6. Brandwatch

One of the coolest features that Brandwatch provides is its "image insights" tool which can identify images associated with your brand. For example, say you upload an image of your brand's logo. Brandwatch surfs the web for images that include that logo. Then, it compiles the images into a list and highlights exactly where your brand's logo is appearing.

Additionally, Brandwatch's software provides interesting insights into each image it finds. This includes metrics like mention volume, aggregate followers, and latest activity. With Brandwatch, your team sees where your brand's images are appearing and how those images are performing with your target audience.

Price: $800/month as reported by G2

7. Social Mention

Social Mention is a free social media analysis tool that provides users with one of the best bangs for their buck. First, users don't have to create an account or download software. Instead, you just need to navigate to their site and search for your keyword like you would with any search engine. Upon entering your search, Social Mention pulls data about your keyword from every social media site and compiles it into a comprehensive summary.

This summary isn't primitive, either. It can tell you useful things like the ratio of people speaking positively about your keyword versus those who are speaking of it negatively. It can also tell you what percentage of people are likely to continue mentioning your keyword and how popular your brand is on social media. While you can't really analyze individual pieces of data, Social Mention is a great option for people looking to get a brief synopsis of their social media reputation.

Price: Free

8. Sentiment Analyzer

Working with Sentiment Analyzer is a breeze. Simply navigate to their site, copy the text you want to analyze, and paste the text into the box. Select "Analyze!" and the website will evaluate your text and give you a "sentiment score."

While that might sound like magic, Sentiment Analyzer uses "computational linguistics and text mining" to determine the sentiment behind your piece of text. It then compounds and compares its findings to produce an overall score. This makes it a great tool for companies looking to quickly decipher the intent behind a confusing response from a customer.

Price: Free

Tired of interpreting your customers' responses in the first place? Learn how to get better feedback by reading these tips for improving your customer feedback survey.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Originally published Jun 7, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated June 07 2019

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Customer Feedback