Customer Intelligence: A Customer Success Playbook Essential

Customer Intelligence
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    Customer Intelligence (CI) is a relatively new concept that’s allowing Customer Success executives and teams to connect the dots in an increasingly complex ecosystem that has multiple stakeholders, communication channels, fluctuating sentiments, and other underlying dynamics. Let’s take a closer look at this upcoming methodology. 

    What is Customer Intelligence?

    Customer Intelligence is a methodology that allows the ongoing analysis of customer data that’s harvested from cross-channel conversations and interactions. Unlike conventional methods, these insightful and actionable human insights are derived from text, verbal, and video channels between customers and internal company personas, all previously considered to be huge blind spots.

    Why is Customer Intelligence so crucial today?

    The reason is simple. Product analytics paint an incomplete picture when it comes to gaining visibility into customer accounts. These product-based insights are different from customer activity-based insights, which is what CS teams need today.

    By adding human analytics to supplement product and usage data, CS teams can dissect communications with stakeholders, understand what internal personas are currently engaged with accounts, and uncover sentiment blind spots. By doing so, Customer Success teams are creating more and more bridges between the organization and the customers for a more robust book of business.

    Related: Relationship Intelligence Matters

    Customer Intelligence Benefits

    Customer Intelligence is helping Customer Success teams gain a bird’s eye view of their accounts and internal operations for added clarity. This is proving to be a true game changer, especially in complex use cases and companies scaling up fast.

    Here are some more benefits:

    1. Identifying At-Risk Accounts

    Human insights are crucial in recognizing sudden customer sentiment drops, communication frequency issues, and other underlying account risk factors. Recognizing at-risk accounts helps reduce churn and boost key KPIs like NRR. Risks include sudden champion departures, underlying negative sentiment about specific features or services, or ongoing deterioration in CSM-stakeholder communication.

    1. Recognizing Growth Opportunities

    Besides reducing risky stakeholders and accounts, CS teams can now also leverage this methodology to identify champions, nurture key stakeholders, and create more brand advocates to promote sustainable growth. For example, a stakeholder who the CSM is not in close touch with may talk about an upcoming team expansion or mention a feature that the customer needs, both golden growth opportunities. 

    1. Customer and Account Segmentation

    Every use case is different and is also changing with time as new business or operational requirements come up. Segmenting accounts helps CS teams create a more granular and targeted approach to identify each account’s needs. and unlock customer happiness. This is achieved by creating personalized user journeys based on the actionable insights gained from the Customer Intelligence solution.

    1. Crucial Roadmap Inputs and Optimizations

    Product analysis tools and marketing solutions can help point roadmaps in the right direction, but none of them provide any insights into customer communication trends and relationship dynamics. Customer Intelligence is helping on that front. For example, if the overwhelming majority of your customers has a specific view about some feature, you can navigate your product in that direction. Besides the obvious business benefits, you can also add more brand advocates to the ranks.

    Customer Intelligence: The Main Challenges

    Now that we have established the benefits of having a Customer Intelligence solution in place to generate insightful human insights, it’s also important to understand the main challenges that come with its implementation. 

    Spoiler alert: It’s not as straightforward as it may seem at first.

    • Communication Data is Siloed – All the B2B businesses today are using multiple communication channels to engage with their customers. This can include in-app chatbots, ticketing systems, Slack chats, Zoom video calls, phone conversations, and of course email communications. Is your Customer Intelligence solution capable of digesting this fragmented information?
    • Too Many Xs and Ys – There are often too many blind spots when it comes to company-customer communications. You can have multiple focal points in an account, along with a dozen of internal personas engaged with them at any given time. Tracking these Xs and Ys on an ongoing basis is extremely crucial (and very challenging) when it comes to Customer Intelligence.
    • One Too Many – One focal point (for example, the CSM) communicating with an account that has multiple stakeholders, has all the visibility. But this CSM doesn’t have the capacity to keep track of everything, nor the ability to constantly share vital data with other personas (for example, CS executives). One person owns all the data and others have no idea what’s going on.

    Related: Customer Relationship Score

    The Future of Customer Intelligence: Building Bridges

    Customer Intelligence is not going to be a niche or optional concept for long. Online businesses are realizing that they need human insights to create separation from the competition. While product and usage insights will always have a place in the grand scheme of things, Customer Success teams need to bridge the gap between customers and teams in the organization – sales, marketing, product, and more.

    These internal and external bridges will become primary “churn busters” and also “NRR boosters” by helping in creating more upselling and cross-selling opportunities. With go-to-market concepts like Product-Led Growth (PLG) gaining traction, extra attention needs to be given to the customer experience and user journey. Customer Intelligence will be an integral part of this shift in coming years. 

    Furthermore, Customer Success is also expected to evolve from just tracking customer sentiment and relationships to evaluating customer commitment. There will also be a need for automated feedback loops rather than manual feedback loops that creates a lot of overhead.  This will be possible only by implementing AI-driven Customer Intelligence solutions. Enter Staircase AI.

    Staircase AI: Pioneering Customer Intelligence 

    Although Customer Intelligence is a newly introduced concept that’s still not being used universally, its benefits are being recognized by more and more Customer Success executives. Staircase AI is pioneering this growing technology with its customer-centric solution that can work in a wide range of use cases. Customer Success teams can now shift to a proactive approach – the holy grail.

    Creating sticker accounts was never easier. Our AI-powered and data-driven platform analyzes millions of customer interactions and converts them into actional human insights that previously fell between the cracks. This is allowing Customer Success executives to cut through the noise and get more information on customer health, sentiment, risks, journey events, and also new growth opportunities.

    Get Started with Customer Intelligence Now 

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