2015-22-January-Laughing-Eyes.jpgIn a recent interview with Jeannette Ho, vice president of revenue management and analytics at FRHI Hotels and Resorts, she spoke about using analytics to quantify guests’ emotions, with the goal of understanding motivations for traveling. FRHI’s aims for an ideal of turning “moments” into “memories” when guests are staying with them -- a great way to create a truly delightful customer experience.

But the question is how do you keep that customer experience healthy even when a customer isn't on property?

Add It Up

Ho mentioned different techniques FRHI uses to gather emotional context. These include different text analytic methods, such as collecting textual data from digital properties (e.g., social media sites, branded feedback forms or other surveys). Analyzing the syntax and format of the writing using these methods can give a brand insight into emotion, attitude and proclivity to interact positively in the future.

Other methods that weren't mentioned include converting contact center audio to unstructured text data for analysis, and analyzing additional digital behavior (such as email open rates, digital property navigation and/or abandonment and mobile app usage).

All of these methods can provide additional context into a user's sentiment towards a brand's products and services. This data, once converted from unstructured to structured can be categorized and scored for positive, negative or neutral sentiment. It can then be easily joined to traditional offline or demographic data.

For example, if a brand can tie digital property behavior (repeated abandonment of a web signup form for a product of service) with call center audio (a complaint call that is scored for negative sentiment) with an existing analytical model score (propensity to purchase over a period of time), the result may be a customer interaction that is drastically different than if this intelligence wasn’t known. If I were a hotel property, I would probably deliver a message that incentivizes the consumer to do business with us again versus an offer for a one time discount off a reservation price. We all know that the more appropriate, relevant, and personalized an offer is, the more likely a consumer is to accept.

What Are the Benefits?

There are a number of benefits to tying emotion and sentiment into customer data sources. It can provide understanding of a customer's attitude ahead of an interaction, a contextual next best action or offer to a customer, and most importantly, a more satisfying customer experience on the front lines.

Customer experience is the new battleground for brands -- over the traditional “4 Ps” of marketing -- such as price or promotion. So it's only fitting that all marketing activities work towards improving this experience.

Imagine how a customer would feel if, when calling a contact center, the agent has her current sentiment score and a next best action or offer that has been specifically customized for her? This level of personalization will go a long way towards improving that customer's experience with the brand.

Which brands do this well? Swisscom, a telecommunications provider, uses text analytics to apply sentiment to customer requests over social and contact center conversations and then feeds that information into its marketing systems. It can efficiently filter important incoming topics and provide resolution to them quickly, improving the customer experience.

Zapfi, a European based mobile marketing organization, collects and analyzes consumer data from its digital properties, called Zapfi zones, in order to better serve relevant personalized offers back to its customer base. In both instances, textual data is analyzed and tied to traditional data sources in order to improve the customer experience.

Tying emotion and sentiment analysis into customer data systems -- combining hard analytical metrics and softer data such as sentiment, attitude and emotion -- will allow you to provide marketing offers at a more sophisticated level. No more mass, irrelevant offers, but offers that are right on time from an emotional perspective. Consumers are tired of receiving the same trite offers. Rise above by engaging in a way that's based on how a consumer might be feeling towards your brand.

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