I’ve been writing a lot about text analytics because I think it is a critical technology for deriving insight from unstructured data. Late last summer, Hurwitz & Associates published a report on Text Analytics. As part of our research, we surveyed companies that had deployed this technology, were planning to deploy the technology, or had no plans to deploy text analytics. We asked companies planning to implement the technology as well as those that had already deployed it what kinds of applications they had deployed or were considering deploying.
Voice of the Customer Rules
The top response was “customer care” applications which include using text analytics to gather information about products, customer sentiment, customer satisfaction, retention and churn, or reputation and brand management. In fact, close to 70% of the respondents cited this application as one they had either already deployed or were planning to deploy in the next year.
It was no surprise, then when I spoke with Michelle DeHaaff, VP of Marketing at Attensity, that Voice of the Customer (perhaps a broader and better term than customer care) is rapidly becoming a main focus area for the company, and an area where it has gotten a lot of traction. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Attensity, Attensity’s flagship technology uses what it terms “exhaustive extraction™,” which automatically extracts facts from parsed text (who did what to whom, when, where, under what conditions) and organizes this information. Attensity believes that this technique sets its solutions apart from competitors’ products because it doesn’t require extensive knowledge engineering capabilities; there is no need to develop rules or taxonomies.
What does this mean for Voice of the Customer applications? Attensity provides software to analyze “traditional” unstructured information such as call center notes, customer emails, and survey responses, as well as unstructured information in blogs and web forums – a rich new source of first person feedback. Using exhaustive extraction, customer feedback is dissected to analyze sentiment, root cause, and what customers are talking about, in general.
Voice of the Customer as a Service
And Attensity just announced a new service directly addressing this market – Attensity Voice of the Customer on Demand – a Software as a Service model that will allow companies to supply Attensity with their unstructured information and get back analysis about the information via a web based application. The fee for the service is based on data source and the size of the data. The service provides:
- Sentiment, root cause, and a set of analysis and reporting tools to dig deeper and ask more questions about the data.
- Published “out of the box” reports on customer sentiment, top issues (by product, customer segment, date, region) and root cause.
- The ability to validate issues discussed by customers online via blogs and web forums with data reported by customers via email into a service center.
Insight from both inside and outside the company
Think about it. Companies can now analyze both internal and external sources of unstructured information to gain a better insight about their market. By tapping into external sources of customer voice, such as blogs and web forums companies can understand how its competitors are faring as well as how its own brand is holding up. This is exciting stuff.