Text-mining/customer experience technology specialist Clarabridge has rolled out a new product aimed at integrating social media content with existing customer feedback systems to support better customer analysis. Clarabridge, which already counts several blue-chip enterprise customers, says an unnamed retail customer is the first to deploy the new software, called Social Media Analysis (SMA). Clarabridge SMA accesses social media content gathered through another vendor, social media aggregator and tool provider Techrigy. Techrigy (lately acquired by Alterian) houses billions of pieces of data from blogs and all the well-known social media outlets. Clarabridge SMA sifts this content and sorts “actionable” data from the rest through natural language processing, classification and sentiment scoring engines. Clarabridge CEO Sid Bannerjee said in a statement that SMA is a natural evolution for customers that already analyze customer interactions, surveys and Web activity. The product is supported standalone or in combination with Clarabridge’s text mining products. The SMA suite includes reporting, visualization, predictive analytics and alerting. Nathan Gilliatt, principal at social intelligence research/consulting firm Social Target, says social media and pure-play text mining providers are each approaching monitoring, measuring and analyzing social media content from their distinct backgrounds. Gilliatt has identified some 200 vendors that have arisen from new media alone, and that their products are “all over the map.” While it can be difficult to compare many of the vendors and many products overlap, he says a distinction lies between those that monitor and merge social media with CRM information, and those that provide more complex text analysis and wider system integration. “Field research says a majority of social conversations don’t mention specific companies, so you have to pick up on things that are relevant but don’t necessarily mention your brand by name,” Gilliatt says. “It’s a positive step for Clarabridge to be integrating social media content analytics with the other sources of customer data, which is something I’ve been waiting to see for a while.” Finally, Gilliatt should look beyond their marketing departments to see the wider value that comes from analyzing social media content. For example, a department store that unearthed a video of messy dressing room thought enough to treat the event as both a PR and an operations problem. “It’s not only integrating social media analysis with CRM systems, there is a wider usefulness of social media in business intelligence and companies should keep a broader picture in mind.” Click here to listen to the latest DM Radio episode devoted to text mining.

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