Thursday, September 18, 2008

Voice of the Customer: Text Analytics for the Responsive Enterprise

Seth Grimes wrote a very nice report entitled Voice of the Customer: Text Analytics for the Responsive Enterprise, published recently in B-Eye Research.

He defines the report subject: "Text analytics helps business users discern and capture the Voice of the Customer from online media such as blogs, forum postings and news articles; from email, chat interactions and contact-center dialogues; and from surveys and other mechanisms for collecting customer feedback: from the totality of enterprise information sources.
This report describes how text analytics has become an essential part of Voice of the Customer solutions. It describes VoC techniques and processes and explains the fundamentals of text analytics technology and solutions. It covers implementation options and best practices, addressing the basic question: How do organizations get started with VoC text analytics? And it presents the findings of a best practices survey that asked end users and consultants about their goals, information source, return on investment (ROI), and advice for organizations looking into VoC text analytics."

The report is well divided; it has an introduction, three parts and an appendix. In the introduction, he did a question: What are your organization’s customers – and your prospects and the media – saying about your company and your products and your competition? And gave the answer: "Voice of the Customer (VoC) initiatives can answer that question and help you formulate your response. VoC is not just an extension of customer relationship management (CRM) to the customer experience. It is an approach that can guide enterprises in meeting the spectrum of sales, marketing, customer support, brand and reputation management, product and service design, and quality demands."

In the first part, called The Voice of the Customer, he defines the concepts, needs and challenges, sources and voices, and also the VoC elements and VoC process; finish talking about some users experience.

He talks about the fundamental business problems in the voice of the customer, and generally the organizations ask:
- How can we improve customer satisfaction?
- How can we maintain and increase our competitive edge?
- How can we boost profitability?

He also talks that the need is to hear, understand and act on customer, and the biggest VoC challenges are to identify and access all relevant sources and make sense of their contents. He classifies voice sources in operational systems, solicited feedback and "open source" intelligence. The open source intelligence is the information available to anyone: forum postings, news and review articles, blogs and other social media.

In the VoC elements, he talks about the concept of the net promoter score and customer lifetime value. In the VoC processes, he defines the setting goals, how information gathering and filtering, and explains the facts and opinions concepts: what distinguishes opinions from facts it that opinions convey sentiment, they convey attitudinal information. He also explains what is data enrichment and analysis. He finishes the first part describing user experiences.

In the second part, entitled Technical Insights, he defines the technical context and explains the text technology basics. The text analytics is an answer to the unstructured data challenge. With the availability of text analysis tools, large-scale, automated analysis of textual sources is finally attainable, and this shift has occurred for BI, for predictive analytics and for VoC efforts. He explains that sentiment analysis is one of the most exciting applications of text analytics nowadays, because sentiment is central to human communications, it is also of key importance for VoC study.

In the last part, called Study: VoC text Analytics Best practices, he talks about best practices for the implementation of VoC text analytics initiatives.

There is an appendix with links to some case studies and vendor solutions, provided by IBM, SPSS and Business Objects.

This is a very nice report, written by Seth Grimes, an expert in text analytics and should help everyone that is interested in use the concepts of text analytics in the companies.

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