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How Would Your Customers SWOT You?

Used by marketers to evaluate themselves and the environment in which they work, the SWOT analysis is a cornerstone of most marketing strategies. However, do marketers look closely enough at the customer element of the SWOT, and if they were to ask customers to conduct a similar analysis, would their results match what their internal experts concluded?

One of the biggest challenges is understanding what your customers
actually think of your brand, service and your products – essential input required
for SWOT analysis. Organisations often rely on market research, focus groups,
and anecdotal evidence from around the company. But these approaches aren’t
without their flaws: first, they’re expensive and time consuming. Second, one
can’t really guarantee they really capture the essence of what your customers
are saying.

There is another approach, one which is based on
gathering live insights into what customers say every day – to call centre
agents, in emails, even on social media. The brief asides and comments
customers make every day are all pieces of a jigsaw which, when assembled, can clearly
map out what customers really think. Feeding this customer insight into marketing
strategies and future campaigns means brands can better cater to the desires,
needs and perceptions of customers.

A Real-World Scenario

A leading global telecom provider recently put this
concept to the test. As a first step, the organisation collected “voice of the
customer” (VOC) inputs from internal and external sources, such as recorded
customer calls, free form call centre agent notes, email, chat, and SMS. Additionally,
the company mined social media sites like Twitter and key telecoms related web sites.

The company evaluated the data with a voice of the
customer analytics platform – including speech analytics for mining the
unstructured voice calls and text analytics for mining the unstructured text
interactions. At first glance, the telecom provider discovered the top issues
that were being discussed by customers. Taking this a step further, it took
each of these topics and conducted a sentiment analysis using natural language
processing (NLP). NLP allows the breakdown of text comments from customers, and
understands the positive and negative sentiments noted within. The customer may
post a note such as, “Love the intuitive large touch-screen of my new phone, but
the battery life is not great.” NLP automatically extracts the positive
sentiment regarding the screen and the negative sentiment regarding the battery.

This same telecom provider compared the volume and
associated sentiment of comments when its brand was mentioned and compared with
competitors. The results were used to create a SWOT analysis. The discovery was
quite eye-opening! What you may consider as key strengths may not always be
what customers are even talking about or discussing about in the market. With
this VOC customer SWOT approach, the company’s marketing team was able to incorporate
valuable changes into planned outreach campaigns and programmes.

The organisation also analysed the many customer suggestions
posted online via public and social websites, as well as interactions conducted
directly with the company’s contact center. Threats are also a key monitoring
point, especially the ones conducted online, as they tend to have more viral
appeal. Examples include when a customer warns they will contact their lawyer
or Ofcom with a complaint. It is important to monitor these channels effectively
to isolate potential customer service issues before they become major threats
to their reputation and brand.

A Challenge
to all Marketing Teams

Think about taking your unbiased “voice of the customer”
into account when you conduct your next SWOT analysis. To get started, reach
out to external sources such as social media channels, but make sure you also partner
with your contact center. These frontline professionals hear complaints,
praises, questions and more each day from your customer base. And, if the
capability to mine the data from a technology standpoint is available¾that will catapult your
research even further. Your SWOT analysis and campaign programmes will only
benefit from these few extra steps to close the loop and cater to the wants
needs and perceptions of your customer.