Solve the CX Mystery with Structured and Unstructured Data

By: Lisa Sigler

September 9, 2015

CEM Solutions
customer experience
Customer Feedback

I once read a mystery novel where the hero solved the case when he remembered that the murderer had been staring strangely at the pattern of the wallpaper in an earlier scene. I didn’t remember that detail and was confused. When I flipped the pages back, I discovered that the wallpaper pattern had not actually been mentioned in that chapter. The writer of the book had not given the reader all of the clues, so the conclusion seemed to come out of nowhere.

Trying to assess and manage your customer experience without looking at all of your data is like trying to solve a mystery without all of the clues. This is particularly true if you are neglecting your unstructured data—the free-form content that doesn’t fit neatly into a spreadsheet for analysis. It can be harder to quantify unstructured data but it is critically important, because approximately 95% of all customer data is now in an unstructured format.

Primarily found as text, unstructured data also includes other media such as audio, photos, and video. Unstructured data can be captured in an email, the “open ended” questions on a survey, voice recordings of customer interactions, a post on a customer review site, social media, and dozens of other places. It is rich in insights and includes sentiment information – so you know what customers are thinking about and how strongly they like or dislike it.

So how can you make sure you’re detecting all of the clues in your unstructured data? First, you need a way to read it. Text analytics provides an automated way to read through all of your unstructured customer feedback to determine exactly which topics are on your customers’ minds. If your unstructured data comes in the form of call recordings, speech analytics is what you need. Then, you must determine if customers are providing positive or negative feedback when they mention about your brand, and to what degree.

Once you’ve processed your unstructured text, you can pair it with the structured feedback for a complete look at customer behavior. For example, you may see that a sudden downturn in revenue corresponds to a spike in complaints about your website. Or maybe you determine that while a certain demographic of your buyers is vocally critical of your latest ad campaign, it isn’t harming your sales with your primary target buyers. One Clarabridge customer, a global consumer goods manufacturer, discovered that unstructured analysis revealed six times as many topics coming through their call center as their previous system (agents manually coding the call) had indicated.

You’ll never crack the CX case if you don’t collect and review all of the evidence available. Find out “What Your Structured Data Isn’t Telling You” in our latest Clarabridge Research Report.



Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.