Customer Insights Platform: Benefits and Top Tools

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    Customer Insights Platform - Staircase AI

    More About Customer Intelligence

    With B2B products and services now required to be customer-first in their approach, customer success leaders need to adjust accordingly. They need to know more about usage patterns, customer sentiment, engagement fluctuations, and stakeholder changes to improve their decision-making. The Customer Insights Platform is generating customer intelligence to do just that. Let’s learn more.

    What is a Customer Insights Platform?

    The customer insights platform is a bi-directional mechanism that helps understand the customer experience (CX) and how they feel about your product or service. With CS pros managing so many accounts in parallel, it’s impossible to gather all conversations and generate insights without proper tools. The customer insights platform helps uncover blindspots from what customers are saying, without manually scrutinizing emails, calls, chats, and other pieces of data.

    You can now optimize the product life cycle by breaking down stakeholder status changes, account events, product usage patterns, communication data, and customer sentiment, while translating them into actionable insights and shareable information. Sustainable business growth is all about putting the customer first. Companies now need to understand customer sentiment in real-time to be more responsive and address critical issues. 

    Customer insight platforms are helping this very cause.

    Adopting these platforms helps companies become more customer-centric, thanks to the ability to break down the plethora of service, product, usage, and communication data. With actionable insights and trend intel derived from this information, CSMs can engage with relevant stakeholders when required to create stickier accounts and build healthy relationships that last.

    Related: The Evolution of Customer Success Tools

    The Components of a Customer Insights Platform

    With customers engaging with your product in more than one way and communicating with you via multiple channels, your customer insights platform needs to be dynamic and versatile. It should essentially be able to break down the various engagement aspects and allow you to create accurate custom profiles to help CS teams be proactive with effective and customized playbooks.

    Here are some key customer insights platform components:

    • Integrations – Businesses are using a wide range of third-party solutions for emails, direct messaging, support channels, and product communications. Integrations are important because the more data the merrier.
    • Data Processing – Harvesting and recording data from the various channels is just the first step. You’ll also need to process and analyze the siloed data to detect sentiment trends, churn risks, and growth opportunities.
    • Prioritization – Once you have ingested the cross-channel data to create unbiased customer insights, the next step is prioritizing the key ones and sharing it with relevant stakeholders, without overwhelming them.
    • Compliance and Security – Data privacy is a sensitive topic today). With GDPR and other privacy laws in full effect, topics like data processing (with audit logs), access control, and consent management need to be addressed.

    Customer Insights Platforms: The CS Benefits

    Data-driven business decisions allow customer success teams to create better retention strategies and also implement growth plans, all with a strong focus on elevating customer satisfaction levels and maximizing engagement.

    Here are three key benefits of having a Customer Insights Platform in place:

    1. Real-Time Customer Feedback

    Traditional methods like surveys are not reliable for two main reasons – participation levels are low and they aren’t real-time indicators. Customers expect a smooth onboarding experience with high levels of engagement from the get-go. 

    The Customer Insights Platform helps customer success teams feel the pulse and react to developments (positive and negative) in real-time. Customer feedback can be harvested from underlying data via multiple channels. Doing so manually isn’t realistic anymore. A modern Customer Insights Platform can help collect this siloed data, analyze it, and generate actionable business insights.

    2. Discover and Track Customer Engagement

    Gone are the days when customer success managers would call stakeholders and stay in touch. The rapid digitalization of online services and rise of SaaS offerings has triggered a massive rise in digital communications – a huge CSM challenge.

    Replying to emails and resolving open tickets is always a good idea, but today’s businesses need to dig deeper to track customer engagement. The written communications, chatbot content, slack conversations, and ticket context can reveal a lot about your customers’ engagement levels. Any drastic change can have massive implications on your KPIs, churn rates, and roadmap planning. 

    3. Improved UX with Better Cross-Department Collaboration

    CS teams use today many Customer Success Tools to gather customer feedback, understand sentiment, and monitor engagement trends to help CSMs improve performance and elevate their KPIs; but what about cross-department collaboration?

    The actionable insights and transparent data need to be conveyed to other departments, mainly the Product team, to help create the optimal user experience (UX). For example, the Customer Insights Platform has shown the CSM that users want to have a “Dark Mode” to save battery life on their smartphones. Conveying this information to the Product team can help develop and integrate this feature ASAP.

    Related: CS Strategy: Identify the Blind Spots

    Top Customer Insights Platforms in 2023

    Understanding customers requires a multi-layered approach. This means that you’ll need to assemble a customized revenue intelligence toolkit to gain a 360 view of your customer accounts and be on top of things at all times.

    There are three main components in the modern customer insights toolbox.

    Product Insights Tools

    Product insights, also known as product analytics, are key indicators of your current business. These tools can help you feel the pulse at any given time and understand how deep your customer engagement is on both the operational and strategic level.

    Two leading product insights tools should be considered for this purpose are:

    • Heap

    Price: Free for up to 10K sessions/month, Growth – $3600/year, Pro and Premier packages – Customized based on the use case

    Pros: Self-served, Good support plus Heap University, Retroactive data visualization 

    Cons: Frontend only, Comes with a learning curve, Reporting limitations

    Heap has gained a lot of traction in recent years thanks to its feature-rich solution that can help product and revenue teams break down a wide range of customer signals. While this tool is limited to tracking only frontend reactions and requires users to reconfigure reporting parameters repeatedly, more and more companies are now using Heap to highlight usage patterns and reduce friction points.

    Source: SaaSworthy 

    • Mixpanel

    Price: Free for up to 10oK users/month, Growth – Starting at $25/month, Enterprise package – Customized based on the use case

    Pros: Intuitive interface, Granular insights in real-time, Cross-platform tracking 

    Cons: Not a pocket-friendly tool, Complex installation and onboarding

    Mixpanel is a popular product analytics tool that helps revenue teams harvest and analyze customer data in real-time. This tool can also help measure and predict customer usage across various segments for better analytical capabilities. Mixpanel is fully self-served by design, allowing both experts and newbies to break down product signals for quick reaction and remediation ops.

    BI Solutions

    The more you know, the better your strategy will become. This is where Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are entering the picture, allowing revenue teams to do more with less. This is all the more important in today’s challenging economic times.

    Here are a couple of solutions you must consider for 2023 and beyond: 

    • Tableau
    Source: Tableau

    Price: Creator – $70/month per user, Explorer – $42/month per user, Viewer – $15/month per user
    Pros: Real-time visualizations, Strong reporting capabilities, Easy-to-use 
    Cons: Can be laggy at times, Expensive at scale

    Tableau is a user-friendly solution with rich data visualization capabilities. This offering also includes real-time visual analytics, with an intuitive drag-and-drop  interface that allows users to spot data trends quickly. The solution supports a wide range of data sources like PDF files, Box, Google Analytics and Microsoft Excel sheets. Tableau can also connect seamlessly with most databases.

    • SiSense

    Price: Pricing isn’t available on the website. Contact the team to learn more

    Pros: In-depth sharable reporting, Easy-to-use, Multi-tenant by design

    Cons: Installation and onboarding can be tricky, Not really mobile-friendly

    Sisense is a popular BI tool that focuses on simplifying the whole user experience with extensive drag-and-drop functionality. Exporting data from sources like Salesforce and Google Analytics is a breeze and so is the data processing. Customers now also have the ability to embed white-label analytics (multi-tenancy), allowing end-users to fully customize the services and scale up easily.

    Source: Sisense

    Revenue Intelligence Platforms

    The third component is often the one that’s missing.

    Revenue intelligence is what eventually connects the dots. Customer data is everywhere – email communications, Slack conversations, phone calls, video chats, and more. Harvesting this information manually is a time-consuming process, this is before we even talk about breaking down the data for real-time insights. This is why you need a dynamic AI-driven revenue intelligence platform for your toolbox.

    • Staircase AI

    Pros:  Automated AI-based solution, Instant results on a centralized dashboard, Strong customer support, Easy-to-use platform, boosting revenue operations

    Staircase AI is pioneering the revenue intelligence space with some killer features that are helping revenue executives get unprecedented visibility into their customer base. With so many communication channels in use today and the dynamic nature of customer accounts, creating reliable, unbiased, and accurate customer insights is possible only with AI-powered tech.

    With Staircase AI, you can:

    • Automate the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data
    • Get actionable insights on churn risks using AI-based churn prediction models
    • Gain automated insights and visibility into customer health, without maintaining the CRM
    • Monitor sudden changes and trends in customer relationships, engagement and sentiment
    • Analyze conversations for topics and track moments or topics of excitement or frustration
    • Automate responses with Generative AI tech 
    Staircase AI account overview and live customer journey

    Data-Driven Decisions: More Complex Than It Seems

    The data age is here. Making informed business decisions is now a must. Unbiased and data-driven insights with your Customer Insights Platform will help you make better strategic decisions and create a better playbook. Acting upon insights and customer sentiment also helps create a better user journey that’s tailored for the specific customer types.

    Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy with a Customer Insights Platform:

    • Customer insights don’t just improve the customer experience, but also lead to new customer conversions (upselling and cross-selling).
    • You’ll also need to invest less in market research and surveys because you’ll already have data from your customers and target audience.
    • When customers feel that someone’s listening and implementing their feedback, they are more likely to be loyal. (don’t we all?). 
    • Creating more brand advocates by demonstrating value and sprinkling achievable milestones (i.e – gamification techniques).
    • Develop a granular approach towards different accounts and stakeholders from different locations – because all customers have different needs.

    While the aforementioned philosophy sounds good on paper, implementing it is becoming extremely challenging in today’s dynamic SaaS space. Online businesses are facing many roadblocks while trying to make data-driven decisions.

    Here are just a few of them:

    1. Siloed Data – Applying data to relevant stakeholders is becoming equally difficult. These siloed datasets can also be stored in different databases in multiple locations or datalakes, making it even more difficult to merge them.

    2. Different Data Quality and Formats – Siloed data is just the beginning. There’s also unstructured data in complex formats, lack of attributes in chat records, and voice recording transcriptions with questionable quality/clarity.

    3. Manual Process Fatigue – Accessing customer data, filtering the required information, and updating everything into the CRM platform can become extremely time-consuming and error-prone. A true roadblock.

    Related: Customer Sentiment Analysis

    Staircase AI – An AI-Driven Customer Insights Platform

    Staircase leverages AI to analyze millions of customer interactions and turn them into insightful information that is impossible to spot with the naked eye. This next-gen technology also helps tackle the data problems by merging all datasets smoothly and accurately for consistent data-driven insights created especially for customer success managers, all in a user-friendly and centralized dashboard.

    This Customer Intelligence Platform reveals deep human signals and uncovers customers’ health, sentiment, journey events, risks, and opportunities to build an optimized user experience, minimize churn. and create sustainable growth.

    Get More Customer Insights with Staircase AI