Understanding people’s intent is hard.
Taking verbal communication literally may be misleading. Luke Lewin BuzzFeed gives few examples, like when British say “With the greatest respect…” they may mean “I think that you are an idiot!”.
It is true when you try to understand the intent of the people that you interact with. And obviously when trying to understand your customers.
Let’s take an example. Assume that you received the following email from a prospect.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our company. Our team was impressed with your company and offering. We are confident that we will be in contact in the future.
Is it positive? Will they ever reach back to you?
It is positive if it was sent by one of the senior people in the meeting that copied other even more senior people in the company. Neutral, if it was sent by an admin that did not copy anyone attended the meeting. And it is quite negative if it was sent after 3 follow up email messages and a phone call.
People and obviously, NLP (Natural Language Processing) approach cannot classify the sentiment of an email message without understanding the broad context. Including, who sent it, how senior they are, who was copied from the prospect side and from our side, what triggered the email, etc.
We are all familiar with the idea of body language, which augments verbal communication with understanding of non-verbal gestures. In analogy, actions and behavior in the digital world and more specifically email, is like body language in the physical world. Email between companies generate the most meaningful and rich set of signals, and unlike the physical body language, they are all recorded.
Having access to these signals allow to build and train digital body language models that can predict, quite reliably, the intent of the people with whom you interact.
Check out Komiko to learn more.