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Attensity Analysis of Airline Social Sentiment Featured on Forbes.com

Friday’s Features: Using Attensity To Compare Customer Sentiment For @united, @southwestair and  @virginamerica  

R "Ray" WangThe following is an excerpt from an article written by R “Ray” Wang on Forbes.com. Wang is a Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, Inc . and the author of the popular enterprise software blog “A Software Insider’s Point of View“. Follow Ray on Twitter @rwang0.
 
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Social Data Quantifies Qualitative Experiences – United Ranks Last Among The Three Carriers

By now, most folks have seen what happened when “United Breaks Guitars“, the tale of an awful customer experience for Dave Carroll who had his guitar broken. When the airline failed to take responsibility, he took to the web.  With over 11.9M views as of this blog post, this social media epic fail epitomizes what happens when companies ignore their customers and shirk responsibility for resolving legitimate complaints. But what happens when an airline completely chooses to ignore social media as a channel? Do customers go away? Do they just jump to another channel? Are these social analytics tools reflective of the general customer base?

Using Attensity Analyze 6.0, a comparison was made among the three airlines. We selected two best in class low cost carriers (i.e. Southwest Airlines and Virgin America) and United Airlines to answer this question (Figure 1).  Analyze 6.0 took 12,863 public comments from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums (user forums, discussion forums, LinkedIn Answers, etc) YouTube videos, mainstream news and more to gather this data.

Attensity Analyze
Attenstiy’s Analyze 6.0 In Action With Feedback Analysis On Three Select Airlines

In the social media feedback analysis, the Attensity Analyze report measured 3 major performance indicators:

  1. Share of voice. At about 40%, the bulk of the mentions come from Virgin America, with United at about 35%, and Southwest a bit over 20% in category share.  Virgin’s share of voice is disproportionately higher than United’s who has a larger network more routes, more destinations, more planes (see Figure 3).  Southwest Airlines has almost 11 times the followers of United.  Both Southwest Airlines and Virgin America have put out 3 times more tweets than United.
    Despite Size, Virgin Has Huge Share of Voice
  2. Sentiment by airline. The low cost carriers appear to have cracked the customer service challenge in social media better than United and other legacy airlines.  Virgin America’s positive sentiment hovers above 75% positive while Southwest Airlines held at slightly over 70% positive (see Figure 4).  United’s sentiment shows an inverse with around 26% positive sentiment and 74% negative sentiment.  The public tweets posted per follower (between .007 and .027) for United is comparable to Southwest Airlines.  Ironically, Virgin America has a lower public tweets posted per follower count, but has higher positive sentiment than United.
    Virgin and Southwest Have Overwhelmingly High Positive Sentiment While United’s Negative Sentiment Sets It Apart
  3. Detailed sentiment (positive or negative).  The solution automatically creates categories that users can modify or leave as-is for further analysis (see Figure 5).  A text preview allows users to quickly scan the comments related to the twitter stress.  In United’s case, poor sentiment translates into three major areas for massive improvement: customer treatment, flight schedules, and hate airline rounded up the Top 3 negative sentiments.
    United’s Detailed Negative Sentiment

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