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

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.

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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:

Image Courtesy: Shopify.com

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.

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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)

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  • ramonajoseph

    I totally agree with the point. Customer service is more important than marketing. In today’s world where we have hundreds of shopping sites available and most of them are offering hefty discounts, the only way to stand out of the crowd is customer delight.

    – Ramona
    socktail.com

  • http://www.indoreretail.com Nitesh

    Thanks for providing such stuffs it really helps in understand consumer buying behavior which will going to improve sale ratio:

  • http://www.sweetcouch.com Jayshree Nayak

    Thanks Kaushik for giving this sentiments-are-equally-important article.

    You have said “track how your top customers are feeling” by way of sentiments that are shown on your social media presence or on the portal itself. But, more often than not, the noisier customers are may not be your “Top” customers.

    Who do you consider your Top customers ? the ones who actually shop on your site or the ones who make the biggest noise ?

    Jayshree
    sweetcouch.com

    • http://www.emee.co.in kaushik

      Well both :-) . Your top customers in terms of spend are critical to the growth of your business. While they may not be the most vocal in terms of their feedback, it is critical for the e-Commerce portal to give them enough opportunity to express their sentiment. The question that needs to be answered is do we have a good feedback mechanism in place, are we incentivizing feedback do we know what our top customers are feeling about the product and service levels.

      The most vocal customers are very critical to track and as an e-Commerce portal its critical that users with high klout scores are in our good books. Typically highly active social influencers can have a very strong impact around the brand independent of whether they make purchases on the portal. They have gained a strong klout in social circles and are well aware of the impact that they make when they have a positive or negative feedback around a product.

      I think the first step is to be well aware of the overall sentiment around your brand, gaining insight into this aspect then allows you to effectively manage your brand.

  • http://www.onlinethela.com Hiren Busa

    Completely agree with the point of happy & angry customer. Too many businesses spend a fortune on marketing but forget the most basic rule of “word of mouth”. As mentioned in this article by Kaushik the importance of a happy customer for a business is of vital importance. One happy customer can get other 10. And then those 10 can bring in other 100. So customer satisfaction is of vital importance for any business. Nice article. A big thumps up