6 Tools SMBs Can Use to Monitor Customer Sentiment

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Business Man with MegaphoneAs the sheer number of review websites, social networks, and message boards increase, consumers are finding more ways to share their opinions online. Business owners are finding new ways to take advantage of the situation, too. Rather than sitting back in frustration while dissatisfied customers lodge complaints publicly for the world to see, business owners are becoming increasingly proactive. As many as 80% of SMB mobile advertisers now perform some type of online sentiment monitoring as a way to get a better understanding of what customers are really feeling and saying behind their backs, according to a survey by BIA/Kelsey.

Sentiment analysis, which is loosely defined as “detecting and understanding how the audience is reacting to a brand, either positively or negatively,” has an important role in the small business owner’s marketing playbook. Here are six tools that SMBs can use for this exact purpose.

1. Earshot: Get real-time sentiment data filtered by location.
Earshot offers a proximity-based platform that businesses can use to improve customer engagement. The platform sifts through social media signals and identifies those mentions that have “proximity-based value.” As a result, businesses get access to real-time sentiment levels at specific store locations, and they can measure social lift based on the interactions that are being shared. Earshot also offers a mobile app that business owners can use to track sentiment from their smartphones and tablets. Pricing for Earshot is variable based on the number of licenses and geo-fences a business needs to monitor.

2. VendAsta: See how sentiment trends have shifted over time.
VendAsta offers a way for SMBs to get a 360-degree view of customer sentiment. VendAsta’s sentiment analysis tool automatically pulls the most positive and negative mentions from the past week onto a business’ digital dashboard. Taking a historical approach, the platform breaks down a week’s worth of sentiment by volume to give users a better sense of how their online reputations are evolving. Users can improve the accuracy of their results by manually adjusting the sentiment of certain terms to help VendAsta “learn” the language of their customers. VendAsta uses a tiered pricing structure for its white-label partners.

3. Radian6: Use sentiment analysis to streamline social media workflows.
Radian6 offers tools to make life a little easier for social media managers who have their hands full responding to hundreds of messages each day. Radian6’s sentiment analysis system automatically determines the sentiment for each online post and provides managers with a snapshot of their positive, negative, and neutral ratios. Social media managers can then dig in by responding to negative mentions first as a way to head off complaints. Radian6 offers sentiment analysis in nearly a dozen languages, with multiple pricing plans based on the size of the business.

4. Swipp: Gauge reaction to digital marketing campaigns.
Most customer sentiment platforms gather feedback from social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Swipp takes a different approach to measuring sentiment, providing businesses with widgets that can be embedded in their online campaigns, blog posts, videos and websites to gauge customer reaction. Customers are asked for their opinion on any topic a business selects, and the resulting data is laid out on a comprehensive analytics dashboard that shows (among other things) how volume and average sentiment scores have shifted over time. Swipp starts at $39 per month for users with Basic accounts.

5. Yext: Get notified when sentiment starts to fall.
Yext offers a social monitoring service that tracks customer sentiment across a wide spectrum of networking and review websites. Businesses can track their most recent reviews and compare recent reviews to those from previous years. Yext automatically analyzes reviews and mentions, and notifies business users immediately when negative posts have gone live. The company also offers tools that businesses can use to promote the most positive reviews posted by their customers. Yext offers variable pricing for businesses of all sizes.

6. ListenLogic: Clean up your sentiment data.
ListenLogic is a social intelligence platform that provides larger business with “strategic social insights” and KPIs like sentiment, demographics, and influencers. Businesses can view sentiment trends and see which topics of conversation are happening around their brand names or keywords. The company’s RESONATE product uses “adaptive sentiment analysis” to fine-tune its algorithms and learn the language or slang that a business’ customers are likely to use. (For example, terms like “sick” and “crazy” could be favorable terms, depending on the business’ customer base.) ListenLogic’s pricing is based on the specific engagement and requirements.

Know of other tools that businesses can use to monitor customer sentiment? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.