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How to use verbatim analysis to build your brand?

Understatement is an underwear brand that empowers women

This is a guest post by Cobbai.

Having an exceptional brand experience has become essential for companies that want to attract new clients, maintain positive relationships and build customer loyalty. Today's consumers no longer judge a product solely based on its quality/price ratio. The most crucial element is now the relationship with the brand. Therefore, companies invest a lot in building the voice of their consumers for long-lasting relationships.

Let’s see in this article what is the meaning of verbatim, why collect them and how to analyse them.

What is verbatim?

Simply put, verbatim is feedback. It is word-for-word what one consumer says or writes. No transformation, no filters. Only the truth!

Therefore, feedback is the holy materialisation of what is right or wrong during the customer journey. Consider verbatim as the new gold for companies that want to build a successful brand experience.

However, unless gold, verbatim is everywhere. As a result, it is essential to identify all customer touchpoints to gather their holy feedback. This requires knowing all the places and situations where customers are likely to be in contact with the brand (social networks, reviews, claims, website, forums, mail, surveys…). Beware, it can become a real storm!

If not collected well, feedback can come crashing like waves

The ultimate goal is that each touchpoint on the customer journey must offer a satisfactory customer experience that meets the consumer's expectations (to generate good feedback).

Quick reminder! Many companies mistakenly consider that the customer journey ends when a purchase is made. That’s just the beginning! Brands should engage their customers until they come back and buy again. Customer satisfaction during the post-purchase phase is essential to build customer loyalty. As an example, having a smooth return experience plays a key role in retaining customers, whereas a poor experience will seriously affect customer satisfaction and decrease the chances of customers placing a new order.

In that case, how to know if consumers are satisfied? The best solution is quite simple! Ask them what they think and how they feel.

Why is it important for a brand to collect and analyse verbatim?

Fortunately, consumers have a lot to say (since Covid19, they are more likely to give feedback)! By aggregating all the verbatim, brands build the Voice of Consumers (VoC). However, verbatim can be tricky to analyse, especially when you get a storm of them. Why? By nature, cognitive data (text, speech, video) is hard to handle. You can not sum or make an average of verbatim on a spreadsheet to measure the customer’s level of satisfaction. When quantifying it, most companies choose customer satisfaction indicators based on grades, such as NPS, CSAT and CES. These quantitative measures are essential, but they are insufficient to understand all the nuances of customer satisfaction. To be in tune with the customer's needs, it is wiser to study the remarks and words they use to discuss their experience with the brand. That is precisely the purpose of verbatim.

Get to know the customers’ pains.

The first step in building a solid brand experience is to focus on the customer to understand better who they are and what makes them happy. It is essential to collect deep customer insights to offer them a memorable customer experience. Being customer-centric will lead to the following questions:

  • Why does my NPS decrease?
  • Why do we have a higher churn?
  • Why do I have a high return rate?

These questions can be explained by multiple factors and answers might vary depending of the brand’s personas. That's why verbatim is essential. It helps brands build these personas and give context to these figures. Segmenting the consumers makes it possible to adapt the strategy to bring them as much value as possible.

For instance, sending a short questionnaire four weeks after the purchase allows brands to identify why customers are happy or disappointed with the product they received. They may realise that several customers face the same issues by analysing the responses. For example, if the colour of the article does not correspond to the one on the website photos or the product presents characteristics that aren’t mentioned on the description sheet. This analysis will also allow brands to improve the product because the customer will tell them why if it does not meet their expectations.

By implementing satisfaction surveys, monitoring the company's social networks and collecting online reviews (Trustpilot, Avis vérifiés…), brands have the potential to understand the problems/motivations of customers and provide rational explanations for the evolution of KPIs.

Differentiate from the competition

A brand experience is what sets a company apart from its competitor. Analysing customer feedback helps brands stay closer to customers. By thoroughly analysing negative feedback, brands gain valuable information about their weak points and can take appropriate actions to become the market leader. In other words: be better than the competition.

Competitors verbatim can also be an excellent source of inspiration. As a result, brands have more detailed information about their market and clues on how to satisfy the consumer's needs. If brands work on their competitor's weaknesses, they win market shares.

Verbatim help better shape the future of brands and nurture their vision by catching market opportunities.

Engage the community and activate casual buyers

By asking consumers for feedback, they feel important. Indirectly, brands empower consumers and have them commit towards the brand. This psychological effect strengthens the bond between a buyer and the brand. The more they engage, the more likely they will recommend the product/services. Consumers will realise how happy they are only when they take the time to say it loudly or write it down. Therefore, asking for verbatim is a perfect way of turning consumers into promoters.

That’s why nurturing promoters is the best way to grow a community and a brand. Promoters’ verbatim also has a fantastic side effect. They can be used for reinsurance and therefore increase the conversion rate. Consequently, more brands display customer reviews on their website to build trust for newcomers or hesitant leads.

Another strong benefit of collecting verbatim is to activate casual buyers. By asking them for feedback, brands remind their customers that they exist. It is a cheap marketing strategy to replace cost-effective ads.

How NOT to analyse customer feedback?

It is a great idea to ask consumers to grade their experience on a 1 to 5 scale. Once the survey is over, it is pretty straightforward to determine whether consumers are happy. Open a spreadsheet, and create an AVERAGE formula based on the grades. Tadaaa! Quantitative data is easy to analyse because they are represented as numerical data. No needs to say; it is very simple to build KPIs and nice graphs.

However, with verbatim, it is more complex. It is another story when you want to analyse cognitive data at scale. Most of the time, verbatim is textual data (sometimes also recording). This type of data cannot be quantified in the same way. It must first be analysed and structured.

At this point, stop and take a deep breath.

Before reading each feedback one after the other, make sure to centralise all the sources into one single space. Don’t forget that nowadays, brands are omnichannel.

Now, behind analysing verbatim, brands are looking for two significant pieces of information:

  • What are the trends inside verbatim (recurring topics)?
  • How do consumers talk about these trends (sentiment analysis)

The process seems relatively straightforward: read one feedback, identify the topic and repeat. In reality, it is not that simple. Tons of questions will appear. What categories should I have? What if a verbatim has multiple ideas? What if they don’t fit into any category? Should I create a new one? These questions slow down the analysis process and introduce biases to the results. In other words, brands find what they are looking for but will miss the rest.

Most brands never reach this point of building an objective Voice of Consumers as it is too time-consuming. And even for a small number of them, most need to remember to share this VoC with the rest of the brand (product, marketing, care, supply chain). They are stuck halfway through the process.

The verbatim analysis looks like a big nightmare. The golden question remains, should you really spend time with verbatim?

Is verbatim worth analysing?

The answer is yes (of course)! Tools such as Cobbaï centralise, analyse and turn verbatim into concrete action.

Cobbaï centralises, analyses and turns verbatim into concrete action

They offer both an efficient process to collect all verbatim into one single platform and artificial intelligence to aggregate all the data, analyse it, and determine what topics their customers are talking about (and how they talk about them).

This is a guest post by Cobbai.

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Head of Growth, ANJA Paris

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