Unstructured Data: Where the Voice of the Customer Lives

When companies use big data to analyze their customers’ habits and preferences, it’s often the structured, quantitative kind that is considered. Customer sales data and contact center KPIs such as the Net Promoter Score may provide valuable information, but such numbers reveal little about your customers’ feelings and expectations. Rather, it is unstructured data that contains such insights: All the smaller, often textual bits of data contained in interactions between your company and the customer, or even between customers. Using tools such as natural language processing and speech and text analytics, you can learn how customers actually feel about your brand. Here are five sources of unstructured data your company should mine for priceless information about your customers.

Email messages

According to Gartner, email remains the most commonly used digital customer service channel. The Adobe Consumer Email Survey also found that consumer use of the channel increased by 17% in 2018, with 50% of respondents claiming email to be their favorite channel. Undoubtedly, many of your customers reach out on this channel for service. A close analysis of their email exchanges with your agents may reveal common concerns about your brand and illustrate how effectively your employees handle these issues as they arise.

Social media comments

From Twitter to Facebook, social media channels are very popular—especially among millennial customers. Whether people are contacting you for service on these channels or talking among themselves about your brand, using social listening tools is an essential way to better understand your company’s reputation. With such tools, you can find keywords that come up during social conversations and determine if there are customer pain points that need to be addressed.

Call transcripts

Hopefully, your company already reviews call transcripts during training sessions with contact center agents. But if you haven’t taken the time to analyze these interactions closely, start doing it now. As voice remains an important contact channel for frustrated customers (many pick up the phone for difficult cases), be sure to determine how agents can improve their interpersonal skills for better outcomes.

Chat transcripts

Like call transcripts, chat transcripts are excellent records of customers’ feelings and reasons for contact. However, without the human touch of the voice channel, live chat can be challenging for agents who need to master the art of conversation while still delivering timely service. Analyze this channel to learn whether agents are getting to the point quickly, if customers are well informed when the agent needs a pause to find information, and if cases are ultimately resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

Blogs and review websites

Social media channels are not the only places online where customers may be talking about you. Brands often overlook blogs and review websites where people are usually very blunt about their feelings. Personal blogs with a large following (such as those managed by influencers) as well as consumer advocate sites may reveal tons of insights about customers’ experiences with your brand. Similarly, review websites can outline exactly which products and services your customers love—and which ones need more work. So when you are scouring the Internet for comments about your brand, be sure to consider this valuable data.Structured big data can reveal key information about your brand’s practices and the numbers behind your successes and setbacks. By analyzing unstructured data as well, you can further gain a greater understanding of what your customers want and adopt a customer-centric attitude. 


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