Client feedback – what are you missing?

What is it that even your most happy, loyal clients are not talking about? What aspects of your brand go unnoticed? AI text analysis enables you to hear this sound of silence. Dedicated algorithms are constantly looking for all aspects of your brand – making silence a vital brand signal.
Can you hear it? The sound of silence.
It’s the aspects of your brand that even your most happy, loyal clients are not talking about.
When asked for a recommendation, do they say what you’d like them to?

You can’t see what you’re not looking for

You may not even be looking for these brand signals. Your clients' words may be falling like silent raindrops.
They're happy clients after all. Surely testimonials and positive comments are the wrong place to look for improvements?
If you're still relying on traditional surveys with multiple choice questions, you won't hear the words.
If you're still manually analysing transcripts you won't see the gaps. 
If you're still relying on cross-industry research agencies they won't pick it up.
For the Sherlock Holmes fans, this is the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. In Silver Blaze, Holmes solves the mystery of a stolen racehorse by noticing what others didn't say.
Not one interviewee mentioned hearing the guard dog bark. The dog's silence was a clue others overlooked. 
Holmes concluded that for the guard dog not to bark, it must have known those who took the race horse.
Now I'm not suggesting that you invest in a race horse or go looking for a sidekick called Watson.
AI text analysis can reveal the sound of silence, by using dedicated algorithms to search for all brand attributes - instantly.

The sound of silence

The sound of silence is the gaps in your testimonials, reviews and directory listings. It's the parts of your value proposition that your clients don't value as much.
It's the evidence that prospects are looking for, that your best clients aren't providing them with.
At best, these gaps exist because those brand attributes aren't top of mind. Or compelling enough for them as an individual.
At worst, it's because they don't see you as differentiated or delivering on that promise. Either way, if you can't see the blindspots, you can't address them.

How AI text analysis cuts through the silence

To discover the sound of silence, you need to be asking your clients open questions. Questions where you give them the space to share their priorities and perspectives.
Relying too much on multiple-choice questions leads clients to focus on your priorities not theirs. It prompts them to recall things they wouldn't otherwise. Meanwhile you miss what you didn't think, or want, to ask.
That's why testimonials, reviews and directory listings are an under-used source of insight. This unstructured text allows clients to share what's most important to them.
The challenge with this unstructured text, is that, well, it's unstructured. Making sense of it is hard. Doing that consistently is even harder. 
If you've ever been through pages of feedback comments with a multi-coloured pack of highlighters you'll know that feeling. That sinking feeling that you've started noticing a new theme that you weren't looking for. Has it been there all along? I'd better go back to the top and check...
The best way for you to avoid this time-consuming, energy-sucking work is using dedicated AI algorithms. 
Specifically a branch of AI called Natural Language Processing. NLP was happily working its text magic long before ChatGPT and Large Language Models (LLMs) rocketed to stardom.
Unlike LLMs, NLP delivers predictable and consistent results. It's harder to set-up, but once you have bespoke algorithms you know why each result is returned. And it's nothing to do with bribing the GPT, giving it a role to play or consequences or any of the other dark arts that go into effective prompting.

Shine a light on blindspots

By way of example, let's look at a fictional law firm called Webster, Webster & Cohen (WWC). The firm has a strategy to stand out for its expertise, innovation and communication. They're industry and subject matter experts in the technology space, but pride themselves in proactively communicating in plain English.
We call attributes like expertise, innovation and communication, value drivers. Value drivers are attributes that firms use to create a standout brand. They're also the attributes that clients use when making sense of their past experiences and when choosing firms for future work.
The advantage of NLP algorithms is that they're always looking for everything. Unlike us humans, who can only keep 5-7 concepts in our conscious mind at once. These algorithms can look for thousands (millions) of terms in the blink of an eye.
That means when an NLP algorithm doesn't find something, it's a signal that something is missing.
Our fictional firm WWC has a bank of 400 testimonials that have come direct from clients as well as the directories over the past 5 years. When they run the unstructured text through the algorithms they discover that:
Clients are raving about their expertise. Comments like "drawing on their considerable technology expertise" and "diligent, thoughtful, well-considered advice" are popping up regularly.
Likewise, their plain English approach to communications is standing out to their clients. They're praised for their "clear, structured, practical" responses and for "taking the time to educate and transfer knowledge".
So far so good. Their brand strategy is working. They are differentiated in the minds of their clients, and hence standing out when clients talk to their peers.

Discover your missing value drivers

However, comments about innovation are conspicuously absent. Clients aren't criticising them for a lack of innovation. Thankfully there's no mention of them being stuck in their ways or behind the times. They would be obvious red flags.
Instead, the innovation conversation is silent. There's the odd mention of fresh thinking, but the frequency and sentiment is nothing compared to the other two - or several other value drivers. In fact clients are more likely to comment on their approachability, something WWC considers table stakes.
Why is the sound of silence breezing through their value drivers? Three possible explanations are:
  • Expectation gaps. It could be that WWC aren't being as innovative as they think. Their clients have a range of firms seeking to be a 'trusted advisor', and the most innovative of those will be setting the bar.
  • Visibility gaps. WWC may have baked some genuine innovation into their processes. But if it's all happening behind the scenes, the client won't feel the benefit. Meanwhile the client sees the same old word documents and snail mail letters addressed to Dear Sirs.
  • Segment gaps. It could be that WWC is consistently delivering on their innovation promises but their clients don't care. It's not what that segment is looking for from their law firm.

Turn feedback analysis into informed action

Now that you can see the gaps in client perceptions, you can take informed action to strengthen your brand.
In the example above, WWC could talk to clients specifically about what innovation looks like to them. They could ask about how other firms deliver on their innovation promises, and how WWC compares.
These are the client conversations that can drive actions. Changes to service delivery, brand positioning or how client expectations are managed. 
That’s why AI-powered text analysis is a vital tool for modern marketers, and the engine behind always-on client listening. Our algorithms enable you to analyse feedback faster. They have been specifically designed to discover the value drivers important to law firms and your clients.
If you’d like to discover the sound of silence in your testimonials, contact us today for a chat.

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