The role of unstructured data in a leading-edge CX program

By Keir Johnson

Chances are your organization already captures abundant amounts of unstructured data. Unstructured data (also referred to as unsolicited feedback) relates to the conversations, comments, notes, and practically any text-heavy data that is captured during day-to-day operations with your customers. Unstructured data can also be found in numerous public channels such as social media and third-party review websites where customers share their experiences online.

Organizations on the leading edge of CX are tapping into this array of unstructured data sources to inform action, remove friction from customers’ experiences, reduce cost, and improve customer retention. By analyzing unstructured data, CX teams can construct a more holistic picture of the customer experience and analyze language-based indicators such as effort and sentiment beyond traditional CX metrics. These language-based indicators add context to a particular customer’s experience and can serve as leading indicators that organizations can act on.

What about solicited feedback (surveys)?

Surveys have long served as a method of collecting structured data to understand customer sentiment. While there is great value in hearing directly from customers via survey response, a survey’s reach is limited to those customers who opt into providing feedback. Due to the broad adoption of surveys as the primary means to understand the customer’s experience, survey fatigue has led to declining response rates. This increases the risk of companies making business decisions based on a biased representation of a typical customer experience.

While acknowledging the challenges mentioned above, surveys still play an essential role in understanding and improving the customer experience. By implementing strategies that personalize survey content at a customer level, track interactions across channels, and automate follow-up actions (again, at an individual customer level), surveys can serve as an integrated part of the overall experience with your brand and a tool that customers can use to get assistance during critical moments in their journey.

What can unstructured data do for my organization?

CX teams can augment their existing customer experience programs with unstructured data analytics to fill gaps where a survey doesn’t provide direct feedback. This allows more informed decisions about how and when to engage customers when CX teams request feedback via a survey.

Unstructured data analysis is also well-suited for analysts and business intelligence teams. For these teams, unstructured data analysis adds a rich new dimension to their analytical suite, which ultimately helps inform high-value opportunities to improve the customer experience. Call centers, customer support channels, and online sources like review websites are prime examples of where unstructured data is readily available, and organizations can start finding value.

To summarize, analysis of unstructured data can help organizations:

  • Listen to “the silent majority:” Understand the customer experience for customers who never opt into providing survey feedback but have generated unsolicited feedback through interactions with your business.
  • Understand leading indicators of churn: By the time a customer leaves a negative survey response, it may be too late. It is easier than ever for customers to change brands in our digitally-connected world. By analyzing friction points using natural language indicators like effort and sentiment, you can help to identify systemic issues that lead to customer churn.
  • Reduce costs: With advanced conversational analytics, organizations can quickly understand and address trending issues in their support channels and deploy preventative measures.
  • Improve quality: Increase the call and chat quality assessment coverage compared to manual scoring methods to empower your employees with the training and tools they need to support your customers.

How can commonFont help? 

Get value from your unstructured data; our teammates are experts in designing effective and holistic customer listening programs composed of multiple technologies working in concert. We are well-positioned to help you implement, design, and manage the technologies that transform unstructured data into actionable insights.

Keir Johnson 

As a Senior Manager of Solutions Design & Engineering at commonFont, Keir advances the company’s solution strategy and technology practices. Before commonFont, Keir cultivated his skills and interest in problem-solving and data strategy while working as an Industrial Engineer and Operations Research Analyst in the Semiconductor industry.

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