Some insights are gathered through text analytics, which examine word choices in comments or messages to determine different sentiments about a product or service. Others, at a more advanced level, come from biometrics, vocal tones (audio analytics), and facial expressions gathered by microphones and video cameras contained within a particular device, be that a phone, computer, or even an ATM.
While widespread use of emotional analytics is still in its infancy, it’s becoming an increasingly common consideration for gaining an even deeper understanding of the customer.
Honda is one brand already on the move with emotional analytics. The Japanese automotive company partnered with Hitachi in 2018 to develop a “Sentiment Analysis Service” that collects data from publicly available word-of-mouth information. The intent was to go beyond direct customer feedback, such as what's given over the phone at contact centres, and tap into what customers are saying about the brand in places like personal blogs and on social media.
The service uses artificial intelligence to categorise customer voices into approximately 1,300 types of topics, emotions, and intentions. It also breaks down the more classic positive, negative, and neutral categories of sentiment into 81 specific subcategories, such as “satisfaction” and “disappointment,” to build a better understanding of what’s being said.
According to Ryo Uchida, manager, social analysis promotion, at Honda, the company’s corporate communications division is already using the system to analyse reactions to announcements of new vehicles and exhibits at motor shows. He said Honda hopes to use this data for global product development, marketing strategies, and brand value enhancements.
Some in the global marketing community refer to emotional analytics as the catalyst in the move from personalisation to individualisation—a deeper, richer way of understanding and targeting customers.
Emotional analytics do this by giving marketers unprecedented insights into what their customers really want, Fjord's van der Merwe said, citing work being done by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies as an example of the technology powering individualised experiences. The Institute has developed a virtual therapist to guide veterans through a Post-Deployment Health Assessment.
The artificial intelligence-powered bot therapist, known as “Ellie," is designed to monitor micro-expressions, respond to facial cues, perform sympathetic gestures, and build rapport. In a test group of American soldiers who returned from deployment, they reported more symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to Ellie than when they filled out assessment forms—even when they did so anonymously.