The more you know about your customers, the likelier you are to be able to make them happy. This is the idea behind customer analytics, which according to Gartner, means using data in order to gauge customer sentiment and satisfy their needs. The idea of using data might be a scary one for small businesses, but customer analytics tools can be found in surprising places that you might not even realize. From CRM to social media listening, you may already be using customer analytics tools that can give you insight into your customers.
"It's just a matter of scale," he says. "If you're a tiny little business that has a small number of customers, it's easy to collect the information and data. If you're a huge company that has hundreds of thousands of customers, using technology, it's easy to collect the data [too]."
"The right analytics will allow you to see a trend, and in today's world where artificial intelligence is starting to analyze data for us, it will not only spot trends, but will make predictions with uncanny accuracy. If all you do is put in the big numbers, it will be able to predict the big trends. But if you start putting in analytics and data from individual customers, it will start to predict individual customer behaviour with uncanny accuracy."
Being able to collect this data on both an individual level and on a larger scale gives businesses the opportunity to create tailor-made campaigns and direct them at specific customers, as well as strategize their marketing and sales tactics to the business at large.
As Shep notes, "collecting data is not the hard part. It's knowing what to use the data for and which data is important - that's the hard part. Once you understand what you need - you can collect 1,000 points of data, but if you only need 10 of them, don't give me the other 9990."
Below, I'll go through 4 different types of software categories for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users, depending on how much data you need to analyze, as well as how much time and money you want to invest in customer analytics.
CRM : A lot of CRM software already includes analytics features that can be used to glean insight into customers.
Customer service : Some customer service software has reporting and insights that can give you a detailed look into your customers.
Social media: If you want to gain insight into what your customers are saying outside the realm of your own website, you can use social media tools for listening on other sites.
Analytics : Fully dedicated analytics solutions designed specifically for customer analytics can give useful insight by pulling data from a variety of sources.
Beginner tools fall on the more affordable end of the price scale, and while they may have fewer features dedicated solely to customer analytics, they're a good way to whet your appetite.
Zoho uses data from its own Zoho CRM, as well as pulling in data from other Zoho products and third-party apps for its customer analytics. Its reporting features will give you an overview of your most successful marketing campaigns, your most valuable customers, and which leads need nurturing. You can also create your own formulae to get reports tailor-made to your specific needs, as well as dashboards that will give you a high-level overview of your data.
Pricing: Starting at $12 per user per month.
Intercom is a customer service and messaging platform to keep track of and stay in touch with customers. It lets you start the communication process with live chat, and then progress customers through to conversion with lead tracking and marketing automation. Because it keeps track of all of this data within the system, it lets you drill down at the customer-level to send targeted messages to customers at varying stages of the customer journey. It also provides an overview of customer segments and Intercom activity for bigger-picture data.
Pricing: Starting at $53/month for 250 users.
The social media marketing software Hootsuite is a good place to start if you're looking to get a bit of visibility into how people are interacting with your brand. While its main function is for content scheduling and sharing, it's more advanced solution, Hootsuite Insights, can drill down even further to gauge customer sentiment and real-time social media listening on a more granular scale. While you can see who is mentioning or retweeting your brand and how your campaigns are performing via Hootsuite, Insights will give you more data about who's saying what about your brand online.
Pricing: Hootsuite starts at $9.99 per month. For Hootsuite Insights, contact vendor for pricing info.
As a web and analytics platform, Kissmetrics provides valuable insights into web visitors and how they're interacting with your site, including where they're clicking, and at what stage they decide to leave. Giving you data about customer behaviour, you can create behavioural marketing campaigns targeted at distinct user groups. Putting unique user data together, you'll be able to create segments of users to target based on their profiles and which stage they're at in the customer experience journey for a higher conversion rate.
Pricing: Starts at $220 per month.
Intermediate options are a bit pricier but have more robust features that can be used for deeper customer analysis.
Agile CRM is a CRM for sales and marketing that gives insights into contact-level customer behavior. Its analytics track things like which pages users have visited, how much time they've spent on the website, and engagement patterns, all on a per-user basis. Using this data makes it easier to pinpoint users and engage contacts by phone or email via the CRM.
Pricing: Free for up to 10 users, then starting at $14.99 a month
CloudCherry is a customer experience and analytics tool that'll give you deep insights into your customers. A platform for collecting customer insights via email, web, and smartphone surveys, CloudCherry collects and collates data from every channel and interaction that customers have with your company. The results that it delivers will give you actionable ways to help improve the customer experience journey and retain more customers.
Pricing: Starting from $100 a month.
Brand24 is a social listening tool that gives data about conversation volume, influence score, and sentiment analysis. Using this data makes it easier to pinpoint trends, spot recurring customer issues, or locate the right influencers to help in your marketing or outreach campaigns, while also targeting the right customers.
Pricing: Starting at $49 a month.
The popular customer service solution Zendesk offers an analytics tool in the form of BIME. BIME pulls in customer experience data from a variety of different sources including Google Analytics, Adwords, Salesforce, and Zendesk, presenting it in dashboard form to give a high level overview of performance and customer segments. From there, you can drill down to get useful information about the success of campaigns, how customers interact, and when they're more likely to convert. Its forecasting and reporting features also help predict future sales figures to help you make the right business decisions.
Pricing: Starting at $490 per month for 2 editors and 10 viewers.
Advanced customer analytics fall on the priciest end of the scale and include full-blown, powerful analytics features to deeply analyze customer behaviour and sentiment.
Salesforce's popular sales and CRM software has added power to its offering with Einstein, an AI (artificial intelligence) component to give deeper insights into customers, a better overview of the sales pipelines, and more predictive sales data. Einstein scores leads based on their likeliness to convert, prioritizes opportunities first, and then gives recommendations on the best ways to follow up, taking into consideration customer history, in order to close the deal.
Pricing: Starting at $25 per user per month.
Call center software Avaya has smart routing capabilities that match agents with customers based on their communication style. By detecting subtle cues in speech patterns, it can group customers and match agents with similar patterns, providing a favourable experience for both the customer and the call center agent.
Pricing: Contact vendor for pricing info.
Brandwatch is a deep listening and social media monitoring tool that lets you track mentions across social media, as well as get insights into what conversations are happening around your product, service, or industry. By setting up and sending queries, you can get social intelligence on certain terms, twitter handles, or even individual sources.
Pricing: Contact vendor for pricing info.
Alteryx offers a robust customer analytics solution that helps you anticipate customer demand, pinpoint prospects, and analyze data by demographics. By collecting and analyzing data from sources including Tableau, you can get a 360 degree view of every customer in order to dive deep into individual customer profiles, as well as get an overall picture of behaviours and trends in order to drive strategy.
Pricing: Starting at $1500 per user per year.
Whether you're just starting off, or are looking to get more into customer analytics, the end result will be the same: giving your customers more of what they want and keep them coming back.
Says Shep, "when you start to be able to predict behavior and deliver an experience based on what we know the customer liked before and what they're going to like, I think you've got a really strong opportunity to engage with them and start to build a loyal relationship. People love to do business with companies that they know, like, and trust. When I feel that a company knows me so well that I want to do business with them over and over again as a result of that, I think that's pretty powerful."