live chat

2月 012017

Each day, the SAS Customer Contact Center participates in hundreds of interactions with customers, prospective customers, educators, students and the media. While the team responds to inbound calls, web forms, social media requests and emails, the live-chat sessions that occur on the corporate website make up the majority of these interactions.

The information contained in these chat transcripts can be a useful way to get feedback from customers and prospects. As a result, the contact center frequently asked by departments across the company what customers are saying about the company and its products – and what types of questions are asked.

The challenge

Chat transcripts are a source for measuring the relative happiness of those engaged with SAS. Using sentiment analysis, this information can help paint a more accurate picture of the health of customer relationships.

The live-chat feature includes an exit survey that provides some data including the visitor’s overall satisfaction with the chat agent and with SAS. While 13 percent of chat visitors complete the exit survey (which is above the industry average), that means thousands of chat sessions only have the transcript as a record of participant sentiment.

Analyzing chat transcripts often required the contact center to pore through the text to identify trends within the chat transcripts. With other, more pressing priorities, the manual review only provided some anecdotal information.

The approach

Performing more formal analytics using text information gets tricky due to the nature of text data. Text, unlike tabular data in databases or spreadsheets, is unstructured. There are no columns that dictate what bits of data go where. And, words can be assembled in nearly infinite combinations.

For the SAS team, however, the information contained within these transcripts were a valuable asset. Using text analytics, the team could start to uncover and understand trends and connections across thousands of chat sessions.

SAS turned to SAS Text Miner to conduct a more thorough analysis of the chat transcripts. The contact center worked with subject-matter experts across SAS to feed this text information into the analytics engine. The team used a variety of dimensions in the analysis:

  • Volume of the chat transcripts across different topics.
  • Web pages where the chat session originated.
  • Location of the customer.
  • Contact center agent who responded.
  • Duration of the chat session.
  • Products or initiatives mentioned within the text.

In addition, North Carolina State University’s Institute for Advanced Analytics began to use the chat data for a text analytics project focused on sentiment analysis. This partnership between the university and SAS helped students learn how to uncover trends in positive and negative sentiment across topics.

The results

After applying SAS text analytics to the chat data, the SAS contact center better understood the volume and type of inquiries and how they were being addressed. Often, the analysis could point areas on the corporate website that needed updates or improvements by tracking URLs for web pages that were the launch point for a chat.

Information from chat sessions also helped tune SAS’ strategy. After the announcement of Windows 10, the contact center received customer questions about the operating system, including some negative sentiment about a perceived lack of support. Based on this feedback, SAS released a statement to customers assuring them that Windows 10 was an integral part of the product roadmap.

The project with NC State University has also provided an opportunity for SAS and soon-to-be analytics professionals to continue and expand on the analysis of chat transcripts. They continue to look at the sentiment data and how it changes across different categories (products in use, duration of chat) to see if there are any trends to explore further.

Today, sentiment analysis feeds the training process for new chat agents and enables managers to highlight examples where an agent was able to turn a negative chat session into a positive resolution.

SAS Sentiment Analysis and SAS Text Analytics, combined with SAS Customer Intelligence solutions such as SAS Marketing Automation and SAS Real Time Decision Manager, allow marketing organizations like SAS to understand sentiment or emotion within text strings (chat, email, social, even voice to text) and use that information to inform sales, service, support and marketing efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about how to use SAS Sentiment Analysis to explore sentiment in electronic chat text, register for our SAS Sentiment Analysis course. And, the book, Text Mining and Analysis: Practical Methods, Examples, and Case Studies Using SAS, offers insights into SAS Text Miner capabilities and more.


Editor’s note: This post is part of a series excerpted from Adele Sweetwood’s book, The Analytical Marketer: How to Transform Your Marketing Organization. Each post is a real-world case study of how to improve your customers’ experience and optimize your marketing campaigns.

tags: Adele Sweetwood, contact center, live chat, SAS Text Miner, sentiment analysis, text analytics, The Analytical Marketer

Using chat transcripts to understand customer sentiment was published on Customer Intelligence Blog.

11月 252013
Live chat on happens in a pop-up window by request or if our visitor appears to need help.

Screenshot of a live chat window on

Communicating with prospects and customers is one of the most important roles we have in the SAS Marketing Contact Center, and live chat is one of the most popular channels.  We gain valuable insights from the transcript data, and our data has also shown that we enhance our website visitors' experience.

What's refreshing about live chat is how much it reflects the wide spectrum of thoughts that might be on peoples' minds at any given moment. Live chat on is usually to talk turkey    (something related to our software), or perhaps about content on our website.

And then we get a surprise every once in a while that gives us a chuckle, so we thought we'd share. Here is the list of our top 10 favorites:

  1. what is the meaning of life?
  2. are you a computer or a real people still in the office?
  3. I have a potential client who asks if we teach SAS. I know little about SAS.  What should I know.
  4. if you don't renew the license can you still use the software?
  5. I am building entrepreneur starts by building people's under utilized skills into a complete market validating offering. Thank you.  Would like to stay at the conversation level at this point.
  6. Do you have a product to help me with my 10K?
  7. Is this your picture that i see on the chat session?
  8. i am trying to activate SPSS 19, asks for a authorization number. i have the serial number
  9. This is LARRY, my wife takes Elmiron for I C is there any cost reduction or assistance available for this?
  10. hello i agree best company in world work for there are alot an so many large bad ones you would not belive the stealing from ceo companys mis treating employees when there the best people in the world just bad companys your the best for a reason thanks john here by

Of course, SAS is not the only company that has live chat support on our website. With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, it make me think about companies like Butterball.  On the Butterball website, live chat is a lifeline for cooks across the country needing support while preparing their holiday turkey.  Sometimes their chat agents hear from some really strange birds. (Pun intended!)  Here are my top 10 favorites:

  1. "If I put my phone in the turkey, can you tell me if it's done?"
  2. "How can I be sure it's dead?"
  3. "Transfer me to the gravy department."
  4. "Given the current market, am I better off renting a turkey?"
  5. "Can I buy an extended warranty for my turkey?"
  6. "I've never cooked a turkey before--is it like cooking a raccoon?"
  7. "When will the 2005 models be released?"
  8. "Did you know your telephone number is one off from the gutterball bowling hotline?"
  9. "What's the best kind of stuffing to shoot from a cannon?"
  10. "Martha here--how big a turkey should I get for 1,500 hungry female cons?"

Thanks for taking time to listen in on these chats. If you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday where you live, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

tags: holiday, live chat, Multichannel Marketing