When it comes to assessing the shopper journey, customer sentiment is a valuable KPI that measures consumers’ experiences with a brand throughout every touchpoint in their journey. While it may sound like just another feedback metric, the unique advantages of the KPI make it worth considering. As it gains popularity, here are some of the aspects you should know.
Traditional market research methods such as NPS are less effective in capturing nuances in the customer’s response. This metric uses a single survey question that only represents a positive and negative binary. Conversely, consumer sentiment models can express more detailed customer feedback, providing brands with actionable data.
For CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands, customer sentiment is particularly valuable. The high turnover rate of the products allows for quick adaptations and opinion changes. Customers often have more options and an easier time switching between brands. Since these products are often necessities rather than luxuries, it’s crucial to understand the consumer’s voice.
When analyzing customer sentiment, it’s important to have the right questions in mind. After all, the data isn’t beneficial unless it answers pertinent questions. For instance, brands should measure performance rates, understand the impact of customer sentiment on business processes, and assess influential market trends.
Since customer sentiment is a nuanced measurement, it’s easy for brands to misunderstand the data.
One example of this is failing to identify analytical criteria. Gautam Kanumuru talks about the practices of Yogi’s best clients, saying, “they always, always have a benchmark, whether it's certain competitors, or the market. But taking things in context is extremely important.” Without knowing what is expected of your field or what is actually relevant to your product’s success, brands can be too quick to make misguided decisions.
Another key mistake is drawing from only one source. Using small focus groups or specific demographics can fail to explain the bigger picture. Customers are varied and unpredictable, so the best customer sentiment data comes from an array of sources on a consistent basis. This way, your practices are up-to-date and more inclusive of your entire audience.
Any implementation of customer sentiment services will always come down to the executive team. This means that all analytics need to support the highest goals of the business. Haithem Elembaby says that “you can take a look at your to-do list or take a look at your KPIs for that quarter or that year and figure out if this new solution can connect to something that you’re already working on.” Implementing customer sentiment into your business processes streamlines the buy-in process.
Most brands recognize the value of customer sentiment services, but it can be much harder to promote the concept to cautious budget-holders. Aside from investments, it’s beneficial to make long-term connections with the vendors themselves. This leads to better utilization of the service and access to knowledgeable people who can answer difficult questions.
Lastly, Haithem encourages companies to push for what they believe in. Hundreds of brands have seen tangible improvements by acting on customer sentiment insights that were previously unattainable. Focusing on the small wins early on can be enough to demonstrate the value. He says, “They don't even have to...blow the socks off the organization and create millions of dollars of revenue, but you want to almost guarantee that they will actually happen, right? Because…data is great, but…it's nothing if you can't do anything with it.”
The actions informed by customer sentiment data are what ultimately separates successful companies from the rest.