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Customer Sentiment Analysis: Definition, Benefits and Best Practices

Kate Williams

23 February 2024

9 min read

Turns out customers don’t always say what they mean. Shocking, right? Customer sentiment analysis lets you hear what’s really being said between the lines.

If you are confused about the whole idea of customer sentiment, I have got you covered. By the end of this blog, you will be clear about the definition, importance, benefits, and use cases. That’s not it. I have mentioned some of the best practices you must follow while conducting sentiment analysis.

(Oh, wait! You’ll also be able to put what you’ve learned into practice with the help of a survey tool and see the effect it brings once you cover the topics!)

Off we go!

Let’s start with the basics.

What is Customer Sentiment?

Customer sentiment, or user sentiment, by definition, is the feelings, emotions, and preferences expressed by a customer about a brand, product, or service. It speaks about the overall emotional opinion. This ranges from positive (satisfied, happy, delighted) to negative (dissatisfied, frustrated, angry) and even neutral (indifferent, unsure).

Now, Customer sentiment isn’t just about what people say.  It’s also shown in how they act, like what they buy and how often they come back, which is why I call it multi-faceted rather than linear. It goes beyond satisfaction or dissatisfaction and can include emotions like trust, loyalty, excitement, disappointment, and more.

By gathering and analyzing customer sentiment data, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer pain points, areas for improvement, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and branding efforts, and the overall health of customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Now that you know customer sentiment, it will be easier to grasp the idea.


What is Customer Sentiment Analysis?

Customer sentiment analysis uses automated tools and techniques to analyze and understand customers’ emotions, opinions, and attitudes in their feedback. It is also called Opinion Mining (OM)

Now, this goes beyond just identifying the words good and bad but focuses on learning the underlying meaning behind the words.

To simplify it, think of it as a translator for customer feedback. It is important because it focuses on transforming text data into insights about how customers view your brand, product, or service.

It looks at aspects such as:

  • Satisfaction: Are customers happy with your offerings?
  • Frustration: What pain points are they experiencing?
  • Trust: Do they believe in your brand and its promises?
  • Loyalty: Are they likely to recommend you to others?
  • Excitement: What resonates with them and generates positive buzz?

How Does Sentiment Analysis Work?

There are two approaches- Lexicon-Based and Machine Learning.

1. Lexicon-Based Approach

This method relies on pre-made lists of words and phrases labeled with positive, negative, or neutral sentiments. The sentiment of a piece of text is determined by counting the occurrences of these tagged words and assigning them weights based on their intensity.


When analyzing a text, it counts how often words from the lexicon appear and assigns a sentiment score based on their intensity. For example, if a sentence contains more positive words than negative ones, it might be labeled as having a positive sentiment.

However, it may miss subtle emotions or sarcasm, and its accuracy depends on the quality of the lexicon used.

2. Machine Learning Approach

Here, algorithms are trained on large text sets labeled with sentiment information. These algorithms learn to recognize patterns and relationships between words and their sentiment. With this, you get nuanced analysis!

There are two main types of machine learning algorithms used:

  • Supervised learning: These algorithms are trained on labeled text examples and corresponding sentiment scores. This means the algorithm learns from examples where the sentiment of the text is already known.
  • Unsupervised learning: These algorithms discover sentiment by analyzing large unlabeled text datasets. They identify patterns and sentiments without prior knowledge of sentiment labels.

However, you might face some hurdles with this method since it requires large datasets for training. Plus, it can be computationally expensive. Additionally, interpreting the results of machine learning algorithms can sometimes be challenging.

Why is Customer Sentiment Analysis Important?

Have you ever wished you could read minds? Or am I the only one who wishes to get a sneak peek into the customers’ thoughts? 

Well, you can see opinion mining as one such superpower! Let me tell you why:

  • Beyond Satisfaction Surveys: It goes beyond basic surveys by measuring the emotions and reasons behind customer responses. You can identify negative trends early on before they spiral into crises!
  • Early Issue Detection: It helps catch problems early, preventing them from becoming bigger issues that harm your brand.
  • Tracking Brand Sentiment: Keep tabs on how customers feel about your brand over time. You can monitor the impact of campaigns, product launches, or competitor actions. This allows you to adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Improving Customer Experience: Use data to enhance interactions and address pain points.
  • Building Trust: You show customers you care by listening and acting on feedback. You create stronger relationships.
  • Staying Ahead: It gives you a competitive edge. Gain insights into industry trends and competitor perceptions.

How does Sentiment Analysis Improve CX

When we have sentiment insights, brands can track the effectiveness of their strategies and initiatives.

It acts as a:

1. Proactive Problem Solver

Forget waiting for complaints. Opinion mining scans all customer feedback, spotting tiny cracks before they become giant craters. Did someone tweet about a confusing website? Fix it before they give up and choose your competitor.

2. Tailored TLC

Imagine greeting each customer with a personalized warm hug. Analyzing the meaning behind a customer response helps you understand their needs and emotions. Are you frustrated with a product? Offer personalized support. Delighted by a purchase? Send a heartwarming “thank you.” They’ll feel seen and valued, fostering loyalty.

3. Product Perfection Machine

Ever wonder what customers think of your product? Sentiment analysis listens closely to their feedback, revealing hidden pain points and desires. Use this intel to make targeted improvements, transforming “meh” experiences into “wow” moments!

4. Feedback Fast Track

Imagine waiting in line for ages to tell someone something important. Frustrating, right? Sentiment analysis acts like a VIP entrance for customer feedback. It instantly analyzes large volumes of data, enabling quick responses to emerging concerns and suggestions.

5. Brand Advocate Magnet

Everyone wants their customers to rave about their brand like their favorite rockstar. You can identify happy customers and encourage them to share their positive experiences. These brand advocates become powerful marketing tools, attracting new customers with genuine stories.

Challenges and Best Practices

Even though it has all the benefits you can imagine, there are obstacles that you need to tackle. Let’s see where you need a heads-up and how to overcome those issues.

1. Data Quality

Let’s say it is a product evaluation survey. The data set can contain multiple misspelled words, grammatical errors, and irrelevant comments. This noisy data can lead to inaccuracies.

For this, it is important to use meticulously labeled training data that accurately represents the analyzed sentiments. This ensures that sentiment analysis models learn from reliable examples.

2. Language Nuances

You see a tweet saying, “This movie is so bad, it’s good!” Here, “bad” means something different—it’s like a joke. But a computer might not get that joke and think the tweet is negative.

Incorporate contextual understanding into the algorithms to analyze the subtle nuances in language.

3. Subjectivity

Different people can see the same review differently. For example, one person might think a review saying “slow shipping” is bad, but another person might not mind it much.

Have you heard about human validation or annotation? Even the best training data can contain errors or biases. Human validation helps catch these errors and ensures the model doesn’t learn them.

4. Interpretability

After conducting sentiment analysis on customer feedback data, a company notices a significant decrease in sentiment scores for a particular product. However, without clear explanations or insights into why this change occurred, it’s challenging for them to take meaningful action to address the issue. Right? 

In such cases, feedback looping works. Here, insights from sentiment analysis are used to refine and improve the accuracy of future studies, businesses can continuously enhance their algorithms and processes by incorporating feedback from users or stakeholders.

How to Measure Customer Sentiment

There are different methods to gauge customer emotions. I have listed a few key ones.

Surveys and feedback forms

  • Directly ask customers about their experiences and satisfaction levels.
  • Use a mix of rating scales and open-ended questions.
  • Analyze responses to identify trends and areas for improvement.

Read more: 8 Unique Types of Forms

Social Media Listening

  • Monitor conversations, mentions, and comments on social media platforms.
  • Use sentiment analysis tools to categorize sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Engage with customers and manage brand reputation in real time.

Voice of Customer (VoC) Programs

  • Systematically capture and analyze customer feedback across various touchpoints.
  • Don’t bore the audience. Use a mix of surveys, interviews, focus groups, and advisory panels.
  • Uncover actionable insights to drive improvements and enhance customer satisfaction.

Review Analysis

  • Analyze customer reviews from websites and review platforms.
  • Identify positive and negative sentiments and track changes over time.
  • Respond to reviews and address customer feedback.

Now, I feel you know the basics of customer sentiment analysis. Why don’t we try to see how it works?

Customer Sentiment Analysis in Surveys

The best way to go about the process is to walk you through how sentiment analysis works in a survey tool. I’ll give you a brief overview of SurveySparrow’s sentiment analysis.

Before that, have you thought about how customer sentiment analysis works in surveys?  

Surveys involve collecting customer feedback through structured questionnaires and analyzing their responses to understand their feelings toward a product, service, or experience.

Surveys include questions with rating scales and open-ended responses, allowing customers to express their opinions. Responses are then analyzed using sentiment analysis tools to categorize sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral.

Why don’t I take you through how we do it at SurveySparrow?

Step 1: Log in to your SurveySparrow Account.

Is it your first time here? Better late than never! Why don’t you sign up today? 

Okay, let’s get back to where we were.

Step 2: Create a survey

Select the NPS survey from the customer experience module.

SurveySparrow’s CX Module

If you want help, here’s an article on How to Create Surveys Using SurveySparrow

Step 3: Share the Survey

Easily distribute your NPS survey to customers through various channels, including email, SMS, website pop-ups, and social media. You can use QR codes and WhatsApp share to reach your audience.

Once the survey is rolled out and responses start, it’s time to analyze!

Step 4: Filter Responses by Sentiment

Use the filter option in the Results tab to view responses categorized by sentiment type. You can choose the sentiment type you want to focus on, such as Positive, Negative, Mixed, or Neutral, to analyze specific segments of responses.


Interpret Positive Responses:

Review responses are categorized as positive. These indicate high satisfaction and appreciation for your product or service.
It would help if you looked for feedback praising your product, service, employees, or company to identify areas of strength and excellence.

Address Negative Responses:

Analyze responses categorized as Negative, which signal areas for improvement and dissatisfaction among respondents. You must pay attention to negative feedback and identify common issues or concerns respondents raise.

Respond to Neutral Feedback:

Reach out to respondents with mixed sentiments to gather additional feedback and insights into their experiences. You should take neutral feedback seriously and address respondents’ concerns or suggestions.



PS: With SurveySaprrow, you can visualize respondents’ key themes and sentiments using the word cloud feature.
Word clouds represent the most frequently used words or phrases in survey responses. They allow you to identify common feedback themes at a glance.

Step 5: Track Progress Over Time

Easily monitor changes in sentiment levels over time using reporting and analytics features. Track improvements in customer sentiment and measure the effectiveness of actions taken to address feedback.

Step 6: Automate Feedback Collection

Use the automation features to schedule and distribute surveys at strategic touchpoints along the customer journey. You can also utilize the recurring survey feature.
Ensure timely feedback collection and minimize response bias by automating survey delivery and reminders.

How was that? Did you get a clear picture?

If you have any more questions, reach out in the comments section.

Or, directly head for a demo and clear all your doubts with our experts!

Wrap Up

By analyzing feedback from various sources such as surveys, social media, and reviews, you can understand customer sentiments and make informed decisions to improve the overall CX.

You can enhance customer satisfaction and drive growth by addressing positive and negative sentiments. Customer sentiment analysis is about understanding what customers are saying.  So, listen actively, utilize advanced tools, and take action to meet their needs and expectations effectively.


1. How do you determine customer sentiment?

Advanced text analytics techniques determine customer sentiment, including natural language processing and machine learning algorithms.

2. What is sentiment analysis with example?

It involves analyzing text data to determine the sentiment expressed, such as positive, negative, or neutral. e.g., analyzing customer reviews to gauge overall satisfaction levels.

3. What is a good customer sentiment score?

A good customer sentiment score typically indicates high levels of customer satisfaction and positive brand perception. It varies depending on industry benchmarks and business objectives.

4. What are sentiment analysis use cases?

It has various use cases across industries, including brand reputation management, product feedback analysis, customer service optimization, and market research insights.

Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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