Do you want to stay close to your customers?  Of course you do!  

Improving the customer experience is central to any business.  More broadly, any organization needs to stay in touch with its constituents, be they customers, employees, clients, or voters.

In today’s world, getting your hands on the voice of the customer isn’t difficult.  Most companies have more comments from their customers than they know what to do with.  These can come from internal sources, such as

  • E-mails to your support desk.
  • Transcriptions from your call center.
  • Messages to your customer service staff.
  • Notes in your CRM system.
  • Comments from website visitors.

For most companies, the problem isn’t lack of feedback. It’s the sheer volume of it. You might have thousands or even hundreds of thousands of new comments from your customers.

The question is, “How do you make sense of it?”

Traditional Survey Research

Traditional survey market research gives us some clues. Market research firms have been using surveys for years to guide their clients to improve customer satisfaction. 

They have developed very powerful techniques to analyze comments from customers and turn them into actionable insights. Let’s take a look at how they do it to see whether we can come up with some ways to take our voice of the customer data and find new insights to improve your company.

How Survey Market Researchers Use Verbatim Analysis Software To Deal With Open-Ends

A survey has two fundamental question types: closed-end and open-end. A closed-end question is one where you know the possible set of answers in advance, such as your gender or the state you live in. 

When a respondent provides a free form text response to a question it is an open-end: you don’t know just what the respondent is going to say. That’s the beauty of open-ends. They let our customers tell us new things you didn’t know to ask.

Survey researchers call the open-end responses verbatims or text responses. To analyze the responses the researcher has them coded. Humans trained in verbatim coding read the responses and invent a set of tags or codes that capture the important concepts from the verbatims. 

In a survey about a new juice beverage the codes might look something like:

  • Likes
    • Likes flavor
    • Likes color
    • Likes package
  • Dislikes
    • Too sweet
    • Bad color
    • Hard to open

Human coders read each verbatim and tag it with the appropriate codes. When verbatim coding is completed, we can use the data to pose questions like

  • What percentage of the respondents like the flavor?
  • What is the proportion of overall likes to dislikes?

And if you know other things about the respondents, such as their gender, you can ask

  • Do a greater percentage of men or women like the flavor?

The researcher would say that you have turned the qualitative information (verbatims) into quantitative information (codes).

How Can Verbatim Coding Work for You?

The technique of verbatim coding is used to analyze comments from customers, but it has its drawbacks. Verbatim coding is expensive and time consuming. It’s most  appropriate when you have high quality data and want the best possible analysis accuracy.  

In that circumstance, you can either:

  • Have the verbatims coded by a company specializing in the technique, or
  • License software so that you can code the verbatims yourself.

Verbatim analysis software, like Ascribe Coder, is used by leading market research companies around the globe to code verbatims. This type of software increases productivity dramatically when compared to using more manual approaches to coding – like working in Excel.

Returning attention to our pile of customer comments, we can see that it would be great to get the benefits of verbatim coding without the cost. It would be great to leverage the computer to limit the cost and timing, with less involvement from human coders. 

That’s where text analytics comes in.

Using Text Analytics To Analyze Open Ends

Working with customer comments, text analytics can tell us several things

  • What are my customers talking about? (These are topics.)
  • What customer feedback am I getting about each topic? (These are expressions about topics.)
  • How do they feel about these things? (These are sentiment ratings.)

If you were running a gym, you might get this comment:

  • I really like the workout equipment, but the showers are dirty.

Text analysis identifies the topics, expressions and sentiment in the comment:

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If we run a few thousand comments about our gym through text analytics, we might get results like this:

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These are the things your members are talking about most frequently. 

Each topic has an associated frequency (the number of times the topic came up) and a sentiment rating. 

The sentiment rating for this analysis ranges from -2 as strong negative to +2 as strong positive. The sentiment scores are the averages for each topic. 

Data Analysis: Drilling Into the Data

A good text analytics tool presents much more information than the simple table above. It will let you drill into the data, so you can see exactly what your customers are saying about the topics. 

It should also let you use other information about your customers. For example, if you know the gender of each member, you can look at how the women’s opinions of the showers differ from the men’s.

Text Analytics Uncovers Important Insights For Your Business

With your text analytics solution, you can see immediately that your guests are generally positive about the staff.  But you seem to have a problem with the lockers and the equipment. This lets you resolve the problem quickly – before any other customers have a bad experience.

Find Out Whether Verbatim Analysis Software Or Text Analytics Is Right For Your Business

Verbatim coding is a very well-developed part of traditional survey research. The coders who lead the analysis are experts in verbatim coding and the verbatim analysis software and play an important role in overseeing the analysis and the results. Verbatim coding produces very high accuracy, but it can also be expensive and time consuming. Text analytics also analyzes open ends, relying more on the computer to analyze the open end comments to uncover insights. While results are not quite as accurate, it does so at a fraction of the time and cost.Ascribe provides both traditional verbatim coding with Coder and advanced text analytics with CX Inspector. To learn more about whether Verbatim Coding or Text Analytics is right for your business, contact us or schedule a demo today.