How a big business deal with customer care through text analytics
Laetitia Grammatico, Senior Manager Social Media Consumer Care at Philips, has kindly accepted to answer my questions and share her thoughts on the role of text analytics in social media consumer care, and the challenges she encountered in developing a global consumer care strategy using social media channels.
What role does text analytics play in delivering consumer care using social media platforms?
Text analytics is critical for social care for several reasons:
- In the form of social listening, to identify which platforms people are using to talk about our products.
- To help us analyse online consumer comments such as product reviews. We use this to identify potential product or communication improvements. We respond to consumers when we have a way to improve their experience (for instance share a video on how to get the best shave with an electric shaver), and if they are raising something we can’t fix (i.e. asking for a larger size product in our portfolio), we feedback to our product development teams.
- Not necessarily linked to social care only, but we also analyse consumer feedback coming to the call centres in the form of emails or chat logs. This allows us to identify pain points and improve the way we brief out agents, including our social care agents. To be fair, we have only done a few pilots at this point.
What are the main challenges that you encounter when developing a consumer care strategy focused on capturing feedback and delivering service through social media channels?
Some of the challenges we run into are: how to handle global comments – every month we get questions on our social channels from 80 countries, but we obviously don’t have the same level of social support in all countries, so how can we best serve all consumers? To address this, we have created a virtual team comprising over 600 employees who work together to respond to consumers when needed.
Once you have solved the issue of languages, comes the issue of data quality. Programming a listening tool to work with call centre data for instance is particularly challenging. Agents use different abbreviations, and consumers use different terms to talk about the same thing. The analyst has to identify all these variations. This can be very difficult and we found that we underestimated both how much knowledge about the field is required from the analyst, and how much work they will need to spend to program the tool properly. This is why we are still only at pilot stage on this one right now.
Finally closing the loop with the insights we find can be very difficult too. For instance in the example I gave earlier about identifying consumers requests for a larger size product. This feedback will not necessarily come at a time when we can adjust our product portfolio, as it can take years for a product to go from concept to production line. So turning the consumer feedback into actionable information which comes at the right time, in the right format, and to the right people is not easy in an organisation as complex as ours. This is something we are still working on.
What are the main benefits, in terms of measurable ROI, which companies can look forward to, when including social media in their consumer care strategy?
When we start listening to consumer, we find a lot of sites where consumers talk about our products and where they could use our help. For instance in the past 12 months several key retailers have asked us to help them answer consumer questions about our products. However this is a time-consuming task, and it can be hard to prove the value in the end. So finding the return on the time we invest can be hard. This is why we have decided for now to prioritise sites where consumer expect Philips to respond to them (for instance our Philips Facebook pages).
When we respond on our own Philips Facebook and Twitter presence, we know that consumers see us in a more positive light and that it affects their image of our brand. I’d like to compare it to advertising, but it is hard to make that calculation for all social channels at the moment (often we only have data on likes/shares and nothing on actual views).
At the same time consumers are choosing social to contact us and they are doing so without us promoting the social channel. Social networks are the way people stay in touch with their friends and they expect to talk to brands there too. Ignoring consumers on social would be the same as having the phone ring in a call centre and deciding not to answer. So, while investing in social care is partly a leap of faith at the moment (probably a lot like TV before Nielsen ratings), any consumer-centric organisation needs to be able to deliver their consumers’ expectations, which for us means being responsive, quick and helpful on our social channels.
Laetitia will be speaking at the Consumer Text Analytics Briefing on 8th October in London, where tips and tricks will be shared on how to improve customer experience and satisfaction by spotting and responding to customer feedback online using text analytics tools. Register to attend here
Share your questions, experiences, and ideas on consumer text analytics by leaving a comment below!