1to1’s Media’s Interview With Seth Grimes About Sentiment Analysis

by Jim Berkowitz on June 29, 2010

Here are several excerpts from an interview with Seth Grimes, Analytics Strategist with Alta Plana Corporation, My Feelings About Sentiment Analysis.  Be sure to check out the complete source article for much more!

Visibility, acceptance, and adoption of automated sentiment solutions has been unhindered by the debate about automated sentiment analysis. Growth is fueled by solution-provider innovations

Clarabridge yesterday announced the availability of a text/sentiment API, facilitating inclusion of analyses into applications, joining solutions from rivals including Attensity, Expert System, Lexalytics, and OpenAmplify, the latter two offered additionally as free services — and by positive customer experiences including the success stories reported by Elizabeth Glagowski in an article, Getting Emotional About Sentiment Analysis that appeared on June 28 in 1to1 magazine.

Liz interviewed me for her article. With her permission, I will share the interview with readers.

1to1> How does sentiment analysis deepen a company’s understanding of customers?

You can tell a lot about customers by analyzing purchases and services usage and inquiries, but transactional records won’t tell you the Why behind consumer behavior — what motivates your customers — and they won’t tell you anything about the folks whom you want to be customers but aren’t yet. For a complete picture, companies need to listen to the “voice of the customer,” and to get at the richness of the VOC message, they need to do sentiment analysis, to understand attitudes, opinions, and emotions in the customer’s (and prospect’s) own words.

Whether you chose a manual approach — good for very focused problems — or an automated solution, sentiment analysis is key to understanding and acting on the voice of the customer.

1to1> How popular is it in the marketplace today? Are there certain industries using it more than others?

The dozens, even hundreds, of “listening platforms” on the market attest to awareness of the need to at least monitor, if not to also measure and analyze, consumer sentiment. Uptake of more powerful tools, which apply linguistic natural-language processing to the problem, has been strongest for customer-satisfaction initiatives in hospitality and certain segments of consumer goods, but in other industries has lagged problem awareness.

1to1> What’s the biggest benefit to using sentiment analysis?

Organizations are realizing huge ROI gains in moving to automated sentiment analysis. I know of one large consulting firm that reduced employee-survey analyses from one week’s work for five staff to half a day’s work for one employee. A survey I ran last year found that organizations were gaining very significant insights, through sentiment analysis, that have led to better product and service design, faster and more effective problem resolution, improved brand image, and boosted ability to understand marketing effectiveness.

1to1> What does the future look like?

In the relative near-term, sentiment analysis will become a routine part of of the search toolkit. We’re seeing this already in the form of star ratings for hotels and restaurants that both Google and Bing compute via sentiment analysis of reviews. Expect “search by sentiment” to become common, also for sentiment analysis to be built into a variety of enterprise and line-of-business applications, for CRM (customer relationship management), surveys, warranty and claims management, e-mail and messaging management, and news and social-media analysis.

1to1> What advice do you have for companies looking to add or improve on their sentiment analysis programs?

Start with a modest, solvable business challenge; aim for the “low-hanging fruit” in order to gain experience and build support. This advice of course applies to just about any technology initiative. I’ll add that hosted and “as a service” options — and there are quite a few — will generally lower entry costs and accelerate time to insight.

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