Conducting Marketing Research? You Might Be a Year Too Late

Posted on December 22, 2008. Filed under: Opinion Pieces | Tags: , |

Imagine if your customer call center let you know nine months to a year later that your company was experiencing wide-spread problems with a product. That is the phenomenon that happens with market research, you receive customer opinions months after the opinions have actually been gathered (and even longer after they are formed), decreasing its relevance.

A market research project timeline frequently can run months before you even get to the point of data collection. The amount of time expended to get to that point involves countless meetings to determine what you’re even going to research. Then after the data collection, it will take several months to actually obtain actionable customer insight. Then companies must decide to how to incorporate the insight obtained – if they do at all. And really, what is the point of doing research at all if you can’t act on it?

Rather than gathering data through tiresome and expensive consumer focus groups or surveys, companies should realize that the information is out there for companies to grab now. Whether via online communities, blogs or forums, customers are already giving thousands of verbatim feedback comments about products and services – comments that could have a significant effect on your brand and profitability if you can act on them, and potential negative consequences if you don’t.

As a recent Wall Street Journal article , “The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World,” referenced “…as a way to obtain consumer feedback and ideas for product development, the online community is much faster and cheaper than the traditional focus groups and surveys used in the past.”

As with all comments, whether received online or offline, companies struggle to analyze the feedback effectively. As we’ve stated previously, hand coding isn’t an effective way to arrive at smart business decisions.  Social media content analytics like The Customer Insight Portal allow companies to obtain actionable customer insight in minutes, not months.

In a tightened economy, users frequently will hear the adage ”Do more with less.” For market researchers, this isn’t as hard as it may seem if they can capitalize on the feedback that is already out there.

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Comcastic Reviews on Twitter, Consumerist and Pissed Consumer

Posted on October 21, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal | Tags: , , , |

Comcast made a renewed commitment to customer service and quality earlier this year. There is no doubt that Comcast is working hard with the launch of Frank Eliason’s customer service team. Through their efforts, the team has made great strides in helping to quell customer dissatisfaction and to end sites such as ComcastMustDie.com.

While there’s no doubt Comcast’s social media efforts are making inroads in handling customer service complaints, analyzing three Web sites – Twitter, Consumerist and Pissed Consumer – gives insight into the current Comcast customer pulse. For Consumerist and Pissed Consumer, Leximancer analyzed data for the last six weeks and for Twitter analyzed data for the last five days. The immense amount of data available in such a short time made us appreciate how much information Frank’s team is currently dealing with.

So what is current sentiment for according to these three sites?

Conceptual Map Analyzing Feedback on Comcast for Twitter, Pissed Consumer and Consumerist

Conceptual Map Analyzing Feedback on Comcast for Twitter, Pissed Consumer and Consumerist

As Comcast, the first disconcerting themes are sucks and Comcast Sucks. For a company striving hard to improve its customer service and quality issues, these raise red flags that they have more work to do. The Customer Insight Portal allows users to drill down into specific feedback helping detect the root cause of why Comcast customers are communicating such negative sentiment.

Feedback included:

“The last one somewhere in India asked me once again to turn on my TV to check for a signal, when I said i would not do It as I have no signal he was confused and said “But sir we must follow procedure.” I asked him to enter into his computer that Comcast procedure sucks, and thanked him for his time at a very high decibel level.”
“We can just chalk this up to reason # 14,865,739,547,883,953,001 why Comcast sucks (sic).”

“comcast sucks. . don’t become a customer.”

“I have comcast, It sucks pretty bad, I have to reset my router every week”
“Comcast – specifically Comcast in Philadelphia, is the worst run company I have encountered.”

Comcastcares Shows Up Prominently

Comcastcares Shows Up Prominently

Since The Customer Insight Portal allows you to tag your sources of data, you can see the files Comcast Pissed Consumer, Twitter and Consumerist. On the plus side for Comcast, note how “comcastcares,” the official Comcast Twitter account, shows up as a theme close to the Twitter file showing that Frank and his team are frequently helping to address concerns on Twitter. The term comcastshares shows up 169 times, which is a significant number showing how frequently the official account is being addressed.

Pathway Analysis Showing Correlation Between Comcast, Issue and Service

Pathway Analysis Showing Correlation Between Comcast, Issue and Service

Another concerning theme is issues. Using Pathway analysis, The Customer Insight Portal shows that issue most customers have with Comcast is service. This creates actionable customer insight for Comcast, which is that service is an area where Comcast can focus to gain improved customer relations.

This is only a glimpse at the data available on what customers think of Comcast for a small time period. In two months, we’ll examine the same three sources and compare responses to see if there is an improvement in feedback. Thankfully, The Customer Insight Portal delivers analysis in minutes, so the ability to compare Q3 and Q4 opinion will be straight-forward.

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Getting to the Root of Feedback on American Eagle’s Facebook Page

Posted on September 26, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal | Tags: , , , , |

Marketers can be prone to jumping onto the latest marketing craze, especially when it comes to the world of social media. However, once marketers join a social media site on behalf of their company, their creation often lies stagnant, as they don’t know what to do with it. Take Facebook, a site with more than 100 million active users, where marketers often slap up a corporate fan site, but don’t do anything to make it more interactive or meaningful to its official fans.

For example, the American Eagle Outfitters fan page has 101,851 fans, but is American Eagle taking advantage of everything their fans are telling them? For example, the thread  “The only thing I don’t like about American Eagle Outfitters…” American Eagle’s marketing department should be listening closely to the 101,851 teens and young adults willing to publicly claim themselves as a fan of its brand and serves as brand enthusiasts.

Conceptual Map of American Eagle Thread on Facebook

Conceptual Map of American Eagle Thread on Facebook

Using The Customer Insight Portal to analyze the thread and get to the root of discontent for the brand enthusiast has some intriguing results.

The Themes Price and Expensive Overlap

The Themes Price and Expensive Overlap

The first eye-catching item to note is how closely the themes price and expensive overlap.  This gives American Eagle its first opportunity to create actionable customer insight, as it can help educate its fans regarding its All-Access Pass. The All-Access Pass is a unique loyalty program giving credits on everything consumers buy at AE stores and AE.com that customers can spend every three months.  In addition, they can create special offers or discounts for their Facebook fans.

Pathway Analysis Showing Correlation Between Fit and Jeans

Pathway Analysis Showing Correlation Between Fit and Jeans

Diving further into the American Eagle feedback using The Customer Insight Portal, we can see that there is a direct correlation between jeans and fit.

While the themes created by The Customer Insight Portal give a visual first impression of the feedback, the system lets marketers see specific evidence so they can take action. What’s more, marketers don’t have to spend hours clicking through posts to find quotations or the thread where a comment may have occurred. Like the fit of the jeans, we show not all of the feedback is flattering.

I love AE and the only problem that I can find with them is that the jeans
are a little too low cut, like everytime I wear them people are always
saying ‘pull up your pants’ or ‘get a pair of jeans that fit you’. I keep
trying a size bigger but it doesn’t really solve the problem.

Yeah, it seems like the jeans are the big problem.  I have a really
pronounced hourglass figure, so the jeans will fit perfectly all the way up
to the waist, and then they just hang off, and even with a belt I have a
hard time getting them snug.

However, AE still has jean enthusiasts as well:

They’re the only brand of jeans that fit me everywhere and look good.

Themes of Love and American Eagle Overlapping

Themes of Love and American Eagle Overlapping

The AE (the American Eagle) theme overlaps with the theme of love, which wouldn’t be intriguing on a Facebook fan page except the feedback was collected from a thread about what fans didn’t like about American Eagle. This speaks to the level of loyalty from its fans. However, the theme hate, which also shows up as a concept, is linked to key concepts including fitting, sizes, clothes and prices. These seem to provide the major themes AE brand enthusiasts dislike about the retail stores.

After conducting this analysis by using The Customer Insight Portal, the American Eagle marketer is now armed with some unique insight into creating special offers. What’s more is The Customer Insight Portal allows marketers to really dig into the text unlike Facebook’s proprietary search service, Lexicon.

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Examining Message Boards: Why One Company Left United Airlines

Posted on September 22, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal | Tags: , , , , , |

Frequent fliers while small in number compared to the rest of fliers make up the majority of commercial airlines revenue, so when frequent fliers loudly voice complaints airlines need to pay attention. As airlines are making significant changes to its frequent flier programs, it’s now more important than ever for airlines to sharpen their listening skills. FlyerTalk.com, a Web site and message board for frequent fliers, is a verifiable gold mine of insight into customer opinions.

In 2005, the Continental CEO held an event specifically for FlyerTalk members to discuss Continental and to answer questions by its frequent fliers. It garnered an article in The New York Times for Continental, as well as praise for its listening skills. But if you’re an airline with thousands of threads in a forum, how do you effectively understand the tide of public opinion?

An example of a great thread that airlines should hone in on is a recent one posted in United Airline’s section entitled, “Why My Company is Leaving United.” For United, using text analytics software to examine this thread allows them to hone in on invaluable actionable customer feedback. By using The Customer Insight Portal, we can identify the prevalent themes related to dissatisfaction with United.

Conceptual Map Detailing Feedback on United Airlines

Conceptual Map Detailing Feedback on United Airlines

Frequent Themes Associted With Feedback on United Airlines

Frequent Themes Associted With Feedback on United Airlines

The most striking part of the conceptual map is how frequently Southwest shows up as a concept. In addition, the themes of Southwest and better service overlap, which should be a point of concern to United. Especially considering that United overlaps with the concept and themes of bad experience.

Shows Southwest is Perceived as Having Better Customer Service Than United Airlines

Pathway Analysis: Shows Southwest is Perceived as Having Better Customer Service Than United Airlines

Drilling down into this using Pathway analysis, we can see there is a direct relationship to seeing that Southwest is seen as having better service than United. Using the query to dig into the text, we see further evidence of Southwest having better service including this facetious quote:

“I flew 100 segments on Southwest last year and had zero cancellations 
and great service. I had 100 UA trips, none were on time, 50 were 
cancelled, and I saw 10 employee fistfights.”

Showing United Customers Interest in the Perk of Upgrades

Pathway Analysis: Showing United Customers Interest in the Perk of Upgrades

United Airlines does retain frequent fliers with some of its perks, most importantly its ability to offer upgrades, which is a luxury that Southwest can’t offer to frequent fliers.  The provides actionable customer insight for United, knowing the importance frequent fliers place on upgrades on how they can keep this perk as they cut flights by necessity.

Ultimately, The Customer Insight Portal provides a way for airlines to drill down not only on prevalent trends on why fliers are jumping ship but why some are staying put.

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In the News: The Customer Insight Portal

Posted on August 14, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today marked the formal launch of The Customer Insight Portal, and the news was picked up around the Web.

Forbes.com, Marketwatch.com, Morningstar.com, Reuters, Yahoo! Finance and others picked up the story of how The Customer Insight Portal is the “game changer” for companies looking to gain insight into their customers

The full press release:

“Game Changer” Customer Insight Portal Launched
Powerful Leximancer software available as Software as a Service (SaaS)

BOULDER, Colo., Aug 14, 2008 – Leximancer, a Customer Experience Management (CEM) and analytics software development company, today announced the launch of The Customer Insight Portal, a Web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) that delivers insight to not only what customers are saying, but why they’re saying it.

“The Customer Insight Portal is a game changer for the way companies seek to understand their customer attitudes and behaviors,” said Neil Hartley, Leximancer CEO. “It allows virtually any organization or individual user to easily gain insight into the root causes of customer opinion and feedback. Our state-of-the-art market intelligence software has been proven on the desktop world-wide and now we are making it available through The Customer Insight Portal.”

For consumer-focused organizations, The Customer Insight Portal gives marketing professionals, brand managers, competitive intelligence and customer experience managers the ability to make critical decisions based on factual data regarding customers’ thoughts and feelings toward their brand, products or service. The Customer Insight Portal goes multiple steps beyond traditional text analytics by employing a rich variety of scientific methods to analyze call center notes, survey data, e-mails, documents, blogs, social media and Web sites. This enables Leximancer to uniquely provide insight into the root causes of customers’ attitudes and actions, allowing companies to determine not just what people think of them, but also why.

“The Customer Insight Portal lets business people explore and automatically find meaning, and identifies structured relationships between the key ideas or issues that are important to customers – uncovering information that was previously hidden,” said Chris Westfall, Leximancer vice president of business development. “From the people that have already used the portal, they’re saying that it provides previously unknown, actionable insights, which is great validation of what’s possible.”

The Customer Insight Portal provides deep insight without the need for set up, which means that analysis is provided without previous knowledge of the information under investigation. Users of the Customer Insight Portal can upload the data and the analysis is complete in the time it takes to make a pot of coffee. Because there is no selection of terms before getting started the results are unbiased. Companies find out what is there, not just what they think should or might be there.

About Leximancer
Leximancer’s patent pending software platform allows customer satisfaction, brand management and competitive intelligence professionals to automatically extract the root causes of customer attitudes from Internet communications such as blogs, Web sites and social media, as well as the vast amount of data currently locked within the enterprise in the form of e-mails, service notes, call center notes, voice transcripts and survey feedback. Through its intuitive keyword discovery, cause-and-effect analysis, thesaurus and search functions, Leximancer is the only solution that delivers deep insight into customer attitudes by objectively identifying “unknown unknowns.” For more information, visit http://www.leximancer.com or http://www.thecustomerinsightportal.com.

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