How to Turn Negative Sentiment
Analysis in Your Favor

No one enjoys receiving negative feedback, but every company should be open to receiving criticism. A brand must always have an eye on growth and innovation, and insightful feedback, even if it isn’t complimentary, provides an opportunity to find ways to grow. A sentiment analysis tool can assess how customers feel about brands and products and give clues on where and how to innovate.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis determines customers’ attitudes by interpreting texts with data analytics, algorithms, and machine learning. The content used for opinion mining is user-generated texts such as social media posts, reviews, and comments.

A sentiment analysis tool gives a rating to a text ranging from very negative to very positive and in between.

Sentiment analysis is distinct from other marketing strategies because its focus is on user-generated content. Rather than searching the news for market trends or analyzing last quarter’s sales, user-generated data can give an accurate and updated reading on how consumers feel about a brand. The advantage of this type of content is that the consumer spontaneously creates it in his or her own words.

Opinion mining works with consumers’ actual statements and detects expressed emotions and attitudes expressed between the lines. Algorithms detect nuances in communication and sense the connotations of words used in certain contexts. It would be next to impossible for a person to read and analyze every post, so AI tools make the job fast and scalable.

Data Gathering

The first step for successful sentiment analysis is to gather data. The data type should be user-generated, such as reviews, scripts from customer service chats, or social media updates and comments. Determining what data is required is an essential phase, and many people err on the side of collecting too little information rather than too much.

Besides locating data and mentions about one’s own company, leveraging information about competing companies is essential. Finding out what people are saying about a rival brand and competing products can help determine where to focus on business strategies. A web crawler can help locate web pages that are ripe for harvesting data.

When the pages have been located, use a web scraper to retrieve data. A web scraper works by lifting HTML code and capturing the text from the page. Along with a web scraper, using a web proxy will hide the IP address from the website and avoid the likelihood of getting blocked. If websites notice an unusual amount of activity from one IP address, that raises a red flag. If the IP address is concealed, the site will not be able to impose a ban on the actual user.

As the information is scraped, it is stored in a database and cleaned up before analysis. Data cleaning involves removing extraneous letters, abbreviations, symbols, and in some cases, punctuation from a text that might interfere with analyzing the content. When the data is prepared, it is ready for data mining.

Sentiment analysis tools evaluate the content and assign ratings based on the emotional coloring of the text. Once the results are complete, it is possible to look at the conclusions carefully and to glean what can be learned from them.

Understanding the Results

The results may be welcome or give pause for thought, but they directly reflect how customers feel about a company. Some aspects of customer service, product quality, delivery, and other facets of the business may need to be changed.

Customers have a unique vantage point since, ultimately, the products and services are designed specifically for them, so it is worth taking the sentiment analysis results seriously. The overall complaints may be as simple as many customers not liking the aquamarine stripe on a sneaker or could be as severe as finding the website complicated or customer service to be consistently slow. The value of understanding negative reviews is they provide direction of where fixes need to be made.

Fixing the Problems

Once the data has been analyzed, translating these insights into action is essential. The issue may be with customer service, delivery, packaging, or the product itself. Consumer insights take the guesswork out of marketing strategy but provide clear guidance to steer an agenda in the right direction.

Customer Service

Customer service is the face and voice of a company and is the first contact many customers have with a brand. Customers often express dissatisfaction about the speed of customer service or a lack of customer engagement. Companies can learn from Xbox, which holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most responsive brand on social media with 2 million customer Tweets.

A company may not be able to keep pace with Nike. Still, their practice of having an extra Twitter account explicitly dedicated to customer queries is a policy many companies can adopt. To respond to site visitors faster, automate customer service with chatbots that answer FAQs to engage customers at their first visit.

Product Improvement

Sentiment analysis can point out specific features that can be improved. Companies pay careful attention to what customers say about their products and address these concerns directly. Dominos’ famous counterintuitive campaign in which they acknowledged that their crust “tastes like cardboard” and vowed to adopt a new recipe. Customers responded enthusiastically to this honesty and to the improved product.

Opinion mining point to specific features that need revamping. Companies focus on producing a quality item but may be missing the things that consumers value. In an analysis of Lysol’s consumer sentiment versus Clorox, it was apparent that customers discussed the products’ fragrance more frequently than whitening, stain removal, and features directly related to actually cleaning clothes.

Without customer reviews, customer priorities regarding features they felt were important may have gone unnoticed by the companies. When consumers can identify specific features that would cause them to switch brands, they have a clear path to improving products.

Turning Negatives into Positives

Negative reviews can be transformed into opportunities to upgrade customer service and product design. Sentiment analysis tool interprets what customers are saying and how they feel about a brand and provides actionable insights for identifying problems and upgrading products.