Choose Your Own Adventure (with the Right Technology)

By: Clarabridge Team

October 30, 2014

customer experience
customer experience management

“I’m about to walk into a meeting with the COO. Can you tell me everything customers are saying about the new floor layouts and checkout process?”

Scenario 1: Do you choose to respond by crumbling to the floor in a puddle of tears, panic and anguish, as you scream out, “Why God, Why?!” and yell at the closest Customer Experience analyst to drop everything they are doing to help you.

Scenario 2: Do you choose to reply with, “Sure, Bob, I know exactly how to get you the insights you need.”

Okay, so in the real world you may not always get the option to pick from 2 different scenarios, but unfortunately, Bob’s question is a very real example of the types of requests your Customer Experience team may receive on a daily basis. So what would make you able to choose scenario 2 over scenario 1?

Scenario 1: The Manual Approach

This is an example of what may happen if you are trying to understand what customers are saying about a specific topic, such as new floor layouts, by having people manually read through and categorize customer comments, emails, survey responses, social posts, etc..  If you are receiving a few dozen surveys a month, this method of manual review and categorizing could suffice. But, for many, this option doesn’t scale well. And as with Bob and the COO above, manually analyzing this feedback can’t be done in real time. You have to cross your fingers and hope you’ve created a category specifically for floor layouts and checkout processes ahead of time.

Other reasons this option just doesn’t work?

• Mistakes are easily made: People are less accurate at categorizing than you may expect. In fact, humans have an average accuracy rate of just 80%. If you have several analysts on a team reading through customer comments, there is a good chance that they will not categorize a specific comment in the exact same way. Subjective categorization means business decision makers may not get access to all the information at hand.

• Misses the Why: Since the analysts are spending so much time categorizing or sorting, they don’t have much time to examine the “why” and “what if” that drives these comments in the first place. As a result, you may end up exactly where you started: with lots of data but no actionable information.

• Lacks flexibility: Once analysts complete the manual coding, it is tough to re-forecast (e.g., if you want to add a new category or code to your process). Analysts can’t go back in time, so they are left with either starting from the beginning or only applying the new category/code going forward. If firms take a “looking forward” only approach, they can’t do historical analysis and compare apples to apples—losing critical information.

And what about Scenario 2?

In this scenario, you are able to confidently respond to Bob’s request because you know that you can create a category model any time he wants filter all the customer comments that discuss floor layouts or the checkout processes. Moreover, you can even analyze comments that are coming in in real-time. How? Because you’re leveraging technology to do the grunt work for you – the categorization, the spam detection, the sentiment scoring – so that you and your team can focus on delivering insights to the business stakeholders so that they can take action. And it’s these actions that improve the customer experience, meet customer needs, and provide real results such as increased satisfaction scores, decreased churn and in the end…. happy customers


At the end of the day, Bob and the COO are most focused around the “why?” More than just knowing what customers are saying, they want to know why they are saying it, what’s causing the issue, and if it is an isolated issue or something happening across specific regions. They want to know what they can do as a result of the feedback. They want to make decisions based on data they know is complete and objective. And, because you have the right technology supporting your CX team, this is what makes you able to respond with Scenario 2.