Serving customers you rarely interact with face-to-face often leaves your organization and customer base disconnected. According to recent research, only 21% of customers believe the companies they do business with are good at providing a tailored, relevant experience. In addition, 54% of customers are ready to “break up with brands” due to the barrage of irrelevant messages and impersonal engagements. (CMO Council)
With numbers like these it’s no wonder many online businesses struggle to convert and retain customers – they simply don’t understand their customer base. As an online vendor, you likely face one or more of the following challenges:
- Sales teams engage leads blindly and generically, with little meaningful insight into their interests or intent
- Support has no way of quickly understanding customer problems, consequently wasting resources and creating disgruntled customers
- Retaining and up-selling customers has not been optimized due to little visibility into customer lifecycles
- Marketers lack a true understanding of how customers are using their products, hurting everything from high level messaging to everyday decision making
- Each department has a different silo of customer insight, none of which connect to each other, making it impossible to get the “full picture” of each customer
The good news is: You can turn these challenges into an opportunity.
Unlike purely bricks-and-mortar businesses, you can automatically track every customer’s behavior to build detailed customer profiles that are completely unavailable otherwise. As a SaaS, eCommerce, or other online business or business unit, you have a unique advantage when it comes to collecting data that will help teams across your organization more effectively understand and interact with your customers.
Customer analytics is often the missing link for many online businesses struggling to understand, sell to, and support their customer base.
Without customer analytics, how can you truly understand what your customers and leads are doing, their needs, and their intent? This lack of insight can mean the difference between a closed sale and an irritated lead, a quick resolution time and an escalation.
Again, there’s good news: You can easily implement a solution that will positively impact how you interact with customers. Below, we outline three keys to using customer analytics to ensure customer success.
Key #1 Track Individual Customer Behavior
Any businessperson will tell you that understanding your customers’ behavior allows you to interact more effectively with them. A salesperson who has insight into a lead’s interests and intent stands a far greater chance of closing a sale. Similarly, a support representative who knows immediately what a customer is having trouble with will be able to provide the most efficient assistance.
Your organization may be using analytics to understand trends in your customers’ behavior, but few organizations track at an individual level and make this insight available directly to customer-facing teams, despite the fact that they are the ones who can take the most direct action on it. By tracking each customer’s behavior on your website or application, you can uncover their experience and engagement with your product, ultimately leading your organization to more relevant and effective customer interactions.
Without this technology, online businesses struggle to capitalize on sales opportunities, provide efficient support and retain customers. The aggregate cost in missed opportunities and wasted resources is tremendous, especially when left unaddressed for years.
Key #2 Track Full Lifecycles
The research phase of the buying cycle is becoming longer and longer with the increase of options and available information online. A customer may visit your website tens of times before ever signing up or making a purchase, but this anonymous behavior is a window into what drew them to your company and led them to sign up or contact you. It’s imperative to track customers throughout their entire lifecycle, from anonymous visitor to identified customer.
The activity from “anonymous” visitors is extremely important for sales, support and marketing. Sales teams can use this behavioral information to spot hot leads, such as those who show strong interest and come from large companies, while anonymous behavior helps marketing teams understand how potential customers engage with their brand pre-sales.
Simply consider this statistic: 92% of business buyers go online to research products and suppliers (Forrester Research). There is a plethora of “anonymous” visitor activity happening on your website that can give your organization deep insight into pre-sales behaviors. Failing to take action on this information leaves you at a competitive disadvantage.
On the other hand, some organizations only track visitors anonymously, failing to identify visitors within their analytics systems once they create an account or submit a form. Doing so robs you of a huge chunk of important customer insight and is a complete nightmare for support teams. Organizations should prioritize automatically identifying visitors whenever possible (e.g. via a signup, form submission etc.) in order to track customers accurately throughout their entire lifecycle.
Key #3 Make Insight Available Across Your Organization
Leaving data in disconnected silos is like having all the ingredients you need for a recipe without any way to combine them. The separate parts are of little use to you on their own, but when brought together create an entirely new and invaluable masterpiece.
Many organizations track customer behavior differently within each department. Marketing may be tracking website traffic with one tool while customer success teams use another tool to monitor customer health and retention. Organizations need to bridge the departmental gaps in order to gain a single, full view of the customer lifecycle. For example, using customer analytics, marketing is better able to increase the ROI of investments by tracking the performance of customers throughout the lifecycle, such as during a pilot or when renewals are on the table, rather than solely at the very beginning of the lifecycle.
Even the organizations that do a good job of tracking and analyzing customer behavior rarely make this insight available across the organization. However, it seems obvious that all customer facing teams and departments should have access to customer insights.
Sales, support and marketing all require a strong understanding of customer behavior to do their jobs effectively. Give each department the customer analytics information they need to deliver results.