Quantifying customer perception to enable strategic problem solving

The growing emphasis on customer experience has made it essential for any business to better understand their customer testimonials and sentiments at a deeper level. Brands are increasingly judged by the overall experience rather than by any functional differentiation and individual benefits. While customer forum conversations are rich sources of data, it continues to be a challenge to successfully extract specific information due to the amount of topics, wide variety of languages, and the context in which comments and reviews are being posted.  Aspect extraction enables extraction of interesting and non-trivial patterns or knowledge from unstructured text documents. It is now possible to break down a single review or conversation to different components, and assign a sentiment value to each of these aspects, helping marketers understand which part of the business, and particularly which entity of the particular business is causing customer experience to be perceived in a negative light.  Studying such trends over a period of time helps brands determine the underlying conditions that give rise to the reasons for the problem/phenomenon.In the event of a drop in business, aspect extraction can help business understand the drivers of positive and negative sentiments (like drivers affecting customer perception of the food in the case below). In line with business philosophy, aspect extraction provides meaningful insights that let business identify that specific part of the business which needs to be changed, rather than approach the whole aspect/process as something that requires change.  Given below is an example of how a customer review was used to identify business entities of a boutique hotel, so as to improve customer acquisition for the upcoming seasonal holidays:     


The restaurant is situated at an excellent location and the food is very delicious. There are fresh barbeques served over the table as starters including vegetables, mutton, chicken, fish and prawns. All too good to enjoy. The main course and desserts are available over the buffet table and the food variety is quite a lot to choose from both between veg and non-veg. Well maintained and good seating arrangement ideal for business parties or with friends. The only drawback was that the seats are limited and during rush hours the guests need to wait until they get their turn. However it was a very good eating experience along with work mates.



Aspect extraction has the ability to produce insights that can help businesses deliver an exceptional customer experience. By helping businesses understand purchase drivers, aspect extraction when combined with key words association can also help stakeholders understand what is driving customers to promote the product to friends, family, or other potential buyers. Though, still relatively immature, there are hurdles that still exist around aspect attribution and related business entities. Identifying the core reason for a particular customer perception is the key to addressing many of the issues with aspect extraction.

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