Harness The Power Of Online Reviews with Sentiment Analysis

In today’s digital world businesses need to make sense of online reviews and analyze what customers are trying to tell them. They can do this using AI-powered text analytics and sentiment analysis. One of the basic lessons that all companies should follow is that success lies in the hands of their customers. Understanding how those customers feel about your product or service is essential to financial survival and prosperity. In this blog, we understand the process of sentiment analysis on reviews and how it can help businesses improve their products and services.

Fortunately, people love to write online reviews to express their feelings about their purchase experiences. People are passionate about what they choose to spend their money on, be it a new house, a used automobile, or a night out for dinner. Think of how often you do research on Google My Business, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook before making a purchase. Or how many times have you used TripAdvisor, Expedia or Booking.com to compare hotel ratings before finalizing your trip? Before you make a purchase commitment, you want to know how others feel about their experiences with the same products and services you are about to buy.

The steady rise of online reviews, ratings websites and mobile review apps have empowered shoppers to raise their hands in pleasure or displeasure every time they feel compelled. In fact, a study says, 94% of consumers claim they read online reviews, 92% claim their purchases are influenced by them. In many cases, shoppers trust online reviews more than recommendations by their friends and family. In such a cluttered digital space it is integral that businesses like you add review sentiment analysis into your marketing strategy. This ensures that you are always strategically listening to the primary stakeholder in your success - your customer.

Why do you need product review sentiment analysis?

When a brand or business has hundreds or even thousands of reviews across various sites, retrieving them and manually examining them for sentiment can be both daunting and time consuming. To be effective, businesses need to begin looking to AI powered review sentiment analysis in order to retrieve insights from reviews quickly and accurately.

How is sentiment analysis on reviews done?

Repustate’s product review sentiment analysis API is used to find insights and relationships within your textual data. Our three-step process is simple:

1. Data Gathering:

Gather and prepare your data that you want to analyze whether it’s internal (customer feedback) or external data (reviews from rating sites). To prepare the data for text analysis, all you need to do is put it into a CSV or XLS document format.

2. Apply Review Sentiment Analysis API:

Run your input data through your sentiment analytics API. It will quickly return sentiment scores for each relevant review topic, aspect, or entity ranging from -1 for negative emotions, 0 for neutral feelings, and 1 for positive sentiment.

3. Sentiment Analysis Dashboard:

Once you receive the sentiment scoring, you can use various different data visualization tools like Power BI, Tableau, or Repustate’s Sentiment analysis dashboard to quickly turn your data into visual reports. These reports are made up of charts, graphs and tables to discover trends, patterns, and actionable insights in your data.

An aspect is a particular part or feature of business, for example, customer service, that topics can be classified under. But customer service can be broken out into various topics such as wait staff, line ups, reservations, etc. A topic or subject is the matter or subject dealt with in the review. For example, pizza is a topic that can be classified under the aspect of food. Topics are more granular or specific than aspects, and therefore the sentiments expressed about pizza are more actionable than if it was only classified as food. Entities are people, places and things such as business people, competitors, locations, etc.

Sentiment analysis for reviews, uses named entity recognition to breakout all your insights and categorize them in a way that is easy and quick. So you can put your focus on improving your business with the help of your customer feedback.

Discover More: Amazon review analysis

See Repustate's sentiment analysis in action

Business Success & Review Sentiment Analysis

Online reviews can make or break a business if they fail to heed the criticisms of their own patrons. Consumer reviews are important because they embody the voice and opinions of customers. Successful businesses see reviews as free consultations by people who are emotionally interested in what they have to offer. Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can strengthen a company’s credibility. Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to interact with the company. Customer interaction ultimately leads to improved profits for businesses.

For many companies product reviews can be a great competitive advantage if your reviews are predominantly positive. But they can be potentially damning if shoppers or diners have given you mostly poor reviews. The logic is simple, if your business gets a lot of great reviews then you have a stellar online reputation and you’re probably doing well. If the opposite is true, then consumers question your credibility and you’re probably struggling. This is the main reason why sentiment analysis on reviews can help underperforming businesses recover, and assist successful brands to prosper even more.

Sentiment analysis helps you extract, score, classify and visualize the feelings and opinions that your customers display in their reviews of your business. Are they expressing opinions or feelings that are positive, negative or neutral. Consumer feelings and opinions can be used by brands as guides to improving their products and services. Brands can use product sentiment analysis to identify the negative sentiments specific to certain aspects and topics of their business, and then make the necessary enhancements or changes needed to turn those emotions more positive. Topics or aspects of your business can be food, pricing, customer service, location, hygiene, delivery, etc. Ideally, the outcome of using this form of data analytics is to generate happier patrons, improved reviews, more business, and finally greater sales.

Checkout the Wendy’s Reviews Analysis we did using Repustate IQ.

Watch how Repustate’s sentiment analysis engine tackles reviews

Conducting sentiment analysis on reviews given in surveys can be a complex task because of the ambiguity in questions and absence of context in the brief responses. In the case of restaurants, this complexity is further increased because of the diverse aspects on which a restaurant is judged. This video shows an example of how Repustate trains its sentiment analysis engine to handle the problem of ambiguity in restaurant survey responses. With the addition of a contextual parametre or “frame of reference”, Repustate’s sentiment analysis tool understands the difference between the term “better menu selection”, meaning that the menu is good (positive), and “better menu section”, where the respondent means that the menu needs to be improved (negative). In this way, by having a context linked to different entities like food, drinks, ambiance, etc., the tool can attach a positive and negative sentiment to any given text in a survey response more accurately.

North of Brooklyn: Review Sentiment Analysis in Action

Using complex restaurant reviews in understanding your customers and quality

One of my favorite places to grab a pizza and an indy beer is a small local place in my old neighborhood called North of Brooklyn. The pizza is amazing and their tomato and burrata salad is killer. Locals love this place so much that it gets 4.5 stars from 328 reviews on Google My Business. Now if you only paid attention to the star rating you would think that the owners of the place have little to improve and should just keep on doing what they are doing and they’ll be ok. Yet if you dig deeper and read some of the reviews you’ll quickly realize that in fact there is a lot he can do to improve in order to drive up his rating, or more importantly, improve the business.

I pulled a bunch of reviews from Google and after doing a quick analysis I was able to see a real issue coming to the surface regarding an issue that customers were complaining about. It was regarding their core product - pizza, specifically burnt pizza.

The reviews go like this:

I don’t know how you feel like you are going to get clients back with poor quality food like this. Used to be really good pizza but this is the second time we have had a problem post Covid the pizza is burnt, dry and has no flavour at all.

Great pizza but the service is absolutely terrible. Placed an order for delivery and it was delayed by over 40 min. Pizza arrived completely cold. Very disappointing and quite frankly unacceptable. Definitely not worth going back.

I used to order many times before and their pizzas were really good. Some days ago I ordered and it came overcooked, burnt precisely. Can someone tell the pizzaiolo to set a timer?

Strategically the owners now can move forward with confidence to create a solution to an issue before it brings too much damage to customer loyalty and trust. They will need to investigate whether a poorly trained employee has caused the problem or possibly the pizza oven’s settings have been tampered with. After discovering the source, they can either enhance staff training, review management, or fix or replace their oven.

Applying aspect based sentiment analysis to a broader range of reviews will further help them gather in-depth sentiment about quality, cost, ambiance, customer service, cleanliness, etc. This will help them improve their product and services; for better customer satisfaction resulting in better reviews and thus greater sales.

What are the benefits of sentiment analysis on reviews?

Online Review sentiment analysis can help businesses in the following ways:

  1. Identify and extract how your customers feel about your business
  2. Classify feelings according to different parts of your business
  3. Easily visualize customer insights for fast analysis
  4. Accurately target operational improvements at problem areas
  5. Create baseline sentiment metrics to measure change progress

Without sentiment analysis many businesses are operating blindly, making them susceptible to competitive challenges and lost sales.

Take a quick tour of Repustate's Review Sentiment Analysis solution


Your business has a goldmine of review insights that you can draw from. The trick is to embrace the good with the bad. So instead of considering negative reviews a damper, you can use them to turn around your business in areas that need tuning - perhaps in areas you yourself were unaware of. Not only will you see better profitability, but also better brand perception as customers realize that you are listening to them. You can even take it a step further to build a more meaningful relationship with your customer and enhance their status online as “verified buyers''. “Verified buyer” reviews are considered more authentic by the online community, and so product reviews can be a win-win for both you and your customer.

You too can harness the power of reviews. Contact us to know how.