Text Analytics: Your Customers Are Talking About You

Text Analytics: Your Customers Are Talking About You

When your company's customers talk, do you listen closely and quickly enough? More CIOs are deploying text analytics technology to examine customer comments on websites, surveys and the like.

For Internet travel giant Travelocity, that desire is keen, says Ginny Mahl, Travelocity's VP of customer care and sales. And every day, customers send the company plenty of content to examine, Mahl says. From North America alone, Travelocity each month receives some 25,000 to 30,000 customer satisfaction survey responses, 35,000 to 50,000 e-mails and 400,000 calls, she says.

To help sort through this digital haystack for insight needles, Travelocity turned to Attensity's text analytics tools. At press time, Travelocity was preparing to deploy a production version of the software. "We are using it primarily to read verbatim feedback from our customers to gain insight into likes and dislikes about Travelocity, and recommendations they have for improvements in our products and services," Mahl says.

"In particular, the application will let us do a much deeper dive into the root causes/drivers of the satisfaction scores we receive."

Mahl expects that the software will enable Travelocity to detect consumer sentiment trends that may impact customer satisfaction. Mahl offers an example: "Through a very simple query, we're able to 'read' our customer comments and find out if the amenity offerings at a particular hotel have changed, allowing us to update our website content more rapidly," she says. "This capability is one of those very simple things that can have a big impact on our customers' experience."

Text analytics also promises to help Travelocity bolster its partner relationships, Mahl says. "We [receive] supplier-specific feedback, which we can feed back to our partners so they also have a better understanding of our mutual customers' opinions," she says. "Sharing valuable customer information is in both of our best interests."

Travelocity, which first learned about text analytics from vendors who approached the company, evaluated several products, Mahl says. Two factors drove Travelocity toward Attensity, she says. "Attensity's solution lets us acquire an enterprise license for the software, which we can scale much more economically as we grow our application of text analytics to additional data or new data sets," Mahl says. "They were also able to provide a travel industry taxonomy to jump-start analysis."

Rolled-Up Sleeves Needed

At Gaylord Hotels, the Clarabridge tools are helping the company address a variety of emerging problems quickly, Bodoh says.

For example, the software recently confirmed for Gaylord managers a problem synchronizing its automatic door locks, preventing key holders from opening room doors.

"For a few days, we were seeing a spike in the number of complaints around these key problems," Bodoh says.

As it turned out, the annual changeover from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time was the culprit.

"We identified that it was related to the changing of the time in the software that runs the locking system," he says. "That's an example of something that we normally wouldn't have seen, but all of a sudden it popped up to the top."

"Before text analytics arrived, enterprises were limited to manually analyzing a small percentage of the unstructured customer information they received," says Sid Banerjee, Calrabridge's CEO and chairman.

But while text analytics can rapidly generate vast amounts of deep customer insight, the technology is still far away from becoming an out-of-the-box solution, IT leaders say.

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