Companies talk to customers every day via a wide range of channels from customer support, sales, and research interviews to surveys, reviews, and social media. All these interactions leave trails of valuable information — which you can mine for important customer insights.
To understand underlying themes around customer needs and wants, it’s time to start categorizing this vital data with the right tags and analyzing it.
What Is Tagging In Customer Service?
Tagging your customer interactions means labeling each one with a category that identifies a theme it falls under, such as Billing Inquiry, Feature Request, or Subscription Cancellation.
When you tag your interactions, you can group and analyze them to look for trends. These trends can help you address problems more quickly and proactively.
Bringing Order To Your Tags
Whether you’re tagging your customer feedback manually or using an automated tagging solution, you’ll need to build a robust content tagging taxonomy to act as an overarching framework and help you organize and understand your tagged data.
Tagging without a tag taxonomy will leave you with a long list of overlapping, redundant tags that are hard to apply, synthesize, and draw consistent insights from.
A bit of upfront planning can go a long way in ensuring that your tagging efforts pay off in the form of accurate reporting you can rely on to make CX decisions.
What Is A Tag Taxonomy?
Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization based on distinct sets. The word comes from the Greek language – taxis (meaning “order, “arrangement”’) and nomos (“law” or “science”). In general, it refers to a categorization of things or concepts, such as species of animals, food groups, and plants.
In this post, we’re going to talk specifically about building a strong tag taxonomy to help you break down and organize customer feedback into logical concepts that will help your organization understand what matters most to your customers.
Types Of Tag Taxonomies
There are two popular types of tag taxonomies used for customer feedback analysis – flat and hierarchical.
Flat Tag Taxonomy
A flat taxonomy, also known as an unlayered taxonomy, is simply a list of items. A flat taxonomy has only high-level categories.
Tagging tools allow users to build flat tag taxonomies by applying one or more labels to a piece of feedback (like a message, survey, etc.).
Pros of a Flat Tag Taxonomy
- It’s easy to build the initial taxonomy
- Tags can be applied to feedback more consistently and accurately as there are fewer tags to choose from
- It’s great in situations where the data volume is relatively low
Cons of a Flat Tag Taxonomy
- It’s difficult to compare tags as they can differ in their level of abstraction (“Billing query” is very broad while “Zapier Integration request” is very specific)
- It can become unwieldy when used with a large number of tags
- It’s difficult to expand without creating duplicate or overlapping tags (ie. “Integrations” vs “Zapier Integration request”.
Hierarchical Tag Taxonomy
A hierarchical taxonomy allows a hierarchical arrangement of tags. Individual tags within the hierarchy are arranged in order of abstraction. Moving up the hierarchy means expanding the tag or concept. Moving down the hierarchy means refining the tag or concept.
Pros of a Hierarchical Tag Taxonomy
- It offers a greater level of detail, as more specific tags can be created
- It allows flexible reporting at each level of the hierarchy
- It’s easy to expand, as new tags fall neatly within pre-existing categories and new categories can be created
Cons of a Hierarchical Tag Taxonomy
- It takes some deliberate planning to create a logical hierarchical structure
- It might be challenging to change and reorganize tags in a drastically different structure once the hierarchy is established
Which Tag Taxonomy Should I Choose?
Your choice of tag taxonomy will mainly come down to your data volume.
- If your customer feedback volume is low (hundreds of pieces per month), you might be better off sticking to a flat taxonomy and keeping your tag list short.
- If your customer feedback volume is high (thousands of pieces per month), then your best bet is to go with a hierarchical tag taxonomy and expand your list of tags for more detailed reporting.
How To Build Your Tag Taxonomy
When building a tag taxonomy, it’s best to start by mapping out the high-level categories first. For your first-level tags, think about the broad areas your customer feedback tends to fall into.
For a SaaS company, the first-level tags might look like this:
- User Education
- Technical Issues
- Usability Issues
- Feature Requests
For an eCommerce company, the first-level tags might look like this:
- Product Questions
- Delivery Queries
- Product Issues
- Product Requests
If your data volume is low and you’re limited to a flat single-level tag taxonomy by your tool, I would recommend sticking with only the top-level tags. On the other hand, if you have a high volume, read on to learn how to build the second and third tiers of your hierarchical tag taxonomy.
Now that we have defined our first level of the tag hierarchy, the next step is to break down each first-level tag into more specific tags.
The first two tagging levels will already provide you with a lot of detail about the various topics discussed in your customer feedback. However, to get even more in-depth insights, you can then break down each second-level tag into more specific third-level tags.
Manual Vs Automated Tagging
In the early stages, when the customer feedback volume is relatively low, it can be relatively straightforward to manually tag incoming customer feedback based on a tight flat tag taxonomy.
However, as you scale, add more customer support agents, and expand teams that need to learn from and act on customer insights, the manual tagging process often breaks down.
An AI-driven customer feedback and sentiment analysis solution can help scaling teams stay on top of their customer feedback by completely automating the tagging process.
The right solution will support both flat and hierarchical taxonomies to suit the reporting needs of organizations at different stages of their journey.
When you’re choosing an automated tagging solution, make sure you pick one that will:
- Aggregate all your customer feedback from solutions you’re already using, like Intercom, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Typeform, App Store, or Trustpilot
- Automatically tag feedback based on the tagging taxonomy you define
- Help you easily maintain your tag taxonomy with retrospective tagging, topic suggestions, and tag merging features
Whether you’re looking to improve your existing feedback tagging process or just starting from scratch, getting your content tagging taxonomy right will set you up for more success down the line — and a lot fewer headaches.