In my previous post, I clearly highlighted how the uses of negative, positive and neutral metrics, in analysing the sentiments of customers are at best rudimentary. It fails to give an incisive account of emotions and attitudes of your customers.
A few days ago, I was having a chat with a Danish national, who was visiting the UK for a brief stay. I told her Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, happens to be among the top entrepreneurial cities in Europe. I found this out last year, during a conference, where a professor from the university college London (UCL), said studies conducted showed Copenhagen is amongst Europe’s top entrepreneurial cities. She agreed to this and I asked her why entrepreneurship is so big in Denmark? Her response brought the cultural dimension to customer sentiments. Her rephrased response went thus: “In Denmark the culture is that of loyalty, people go to the same coffee shop every morning. I have had the same bank since I was young, the same mobile phone provider. We love to help these businesses, so we stick with them. It may be different for the younger ones, but most people in Denmark are loyal towards a company”
This is a contrast, to most western countries like the UK and USA, where competition is rife and customer sentiments towards a brand could easily switch from positive and loyal to negative and churn.
From my interaction with the lady from Copenhagen, it became clear from her personal experience that the Danish are very good at giving a company a second chance or even a third chance. They do not do this for rewards or incentives, but feel it is culturally required to help businesses succeed.
An interesting research was carried out by Claire Charron and Irina Kondrashova of 360i, that compared the emotions and sentiments displayed by US and UK residents via twitter. The research revealed that, “UK residents use twitter as a medium to seek connection and conversation while their US counterparts utilise twitter for validation and self-expression.” For a smart marketer, understanding the deeper sentiments (negative, neutral or positive) of her UK customer, who is reaching out through twitter, will help the brand understand that the given customer wants a conversation, which could be an explanation from the brand, as to why the delivery was late or goods damaged. They will see a negative sentiment from a UK tweet as an opportunity to explain and communicate things better and hopefully retain the given customer.
On the other hand, the US customer uses Twitter for self-expression and validation. They might have a negative sentiment that is fuelled by strong emotions of anger and disgust towards the brand. In this occasion, they utilise twitter to express and unleash the negative feelings, with no real intent to begin a conversation with the brand.
The other interesting finding from the research goes thus: “UK users are generally more positive than their US counterparts, and tend to avoid revealing overtly raw emotion, such as anger, on Twittter.” This is a very interesting element to social sentimental analysis across different national borders, as I certainly agree that UK residents are very good at covering up their anger or disgust towards a brand. UK residents may leave a tweet that appears to be neutral in sentiment, posing no churn threat to a brand, but the customer may end up going to the competition, as they failed to express their real disgust for the brand to deal with.
The final finding which is also a very insightful one goes thus: “People in the US tend to be more opinionated when interacting with brands on twitter.” This simply means that an array of negative sentiments from US customers on twitter does not imply disaster, as they show more exaggerated responses to products and services than their UK counterparts. On the other hand, a tepid and lukewarm tweet from UK customers is not an indication of apathy towards your brand.
Sentimental analysis transcends a simple positive, negative and neutral indicator, to diving into variables like the cultural attributes of different countries, as a determinant to consumer behaviour.