If I Text You Tonight, Will Your Analytics Text Me Back in the Morning?
It’s a classic scenario. Two people meet at a party. They chat and then exchange information. However, they never speak or meet again. It is as though the contact information was never exchanged. So, what happened? Was there never intent to follow up? Or, did the information get lost, forgotten, or placed in a pile that never got acted upon?
There is a similar scenario I see play out often when it comes to text analytics. Most text analytics are focused on analyzing text right now for immediate tactical insights. Then, the text is virtually forgotten, if not literally deleted. Think about it. Sentiment analysis is a summary of general attitudes right now. Customer service organizations track feedback to identify emerging product problems. Marketing managers look at customer feedback to identify if a promotion is getting the hoped-for attention.
Whether social media, email, online chat, or transcribed phone calls, text is being used more and more frequently today. While the previously mentioned analytics absolutely provide value and are worth pursuing, there are additional opportunities that should not be missed. By throwing this information away after the initial analysis is completed, you may be missing opportunities to impact the business in very creative ways.
LET TEXT BE STRATEGIC AS WELL AS TACTICAL
By all means, your organization should continue to pursue tactical text analytics that look at things like sentiment and customer service trends right now. However, don’t fail to think about the more strategic, longer term value that the information in text can provide. Just like throwing away that contact information from the party could cause you to miss out on a potential spouse, so can throwing away text after using it for immediate purposes cause you to miss out on big future opportunities.
We’ll begin with a simple example. Let’s say I mention on social media that I love to grill Rib Eye steak. Since my favorite foods do not change very often, this could be added to my customer profile. Then, when Rib Eye steak goes on sale at my local grocery store in the future, wouldn’t it make sense to let me know about it?
In another case, I might complain to a call center that my new car rides a little rougher than I’d like. By making that fact part of my customer profile, the manufacturer will know to emphasize the smooth ride when marketing my next car to me and making sure that the car does have a smoother ride than my first one.
We could go through many more examples, but the point is that people often reveal important information in the text that they generate. Simply using those comments for tactical analysis today leaves a lot of value on the table. By looking for comments that reveal various preferences or traits, we can expand our knowledge of, and relationship with, customers.
TEXT ME, MAYBE?
The action you should take is to consider how customer profiles can be enhanced with new data points derived from text analytics. This information can become a long term, if not permanent, part of each customer’s profile. Many of the data points might not be relevant very often, but when they are relevant, they can be incredibly relevant.
Don’t look as text as only an opportunity for a one-time look into a customer’s attitude today. Also view text as a way to get to know your customers and to gather important information on them over time. At some point in the future, you just may want to text them back and they might love to hear from you in a way that acknowledges that you understood what they said to you!