Karri Bishop
Karri Bishop 24 July 2017

Using Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience

Customers often only use a portion of the software they pay for — they may use email marketing but not lead scoring, or a keyword checker but not a backlink research tool. Understanding what your customers use most often can give you insights into how to deepen their engagement. Customer engagement analytics can reduce costs by reducing churn and building advocacy for your product.

Before you begin, get your team together to define your objective. Some possible objectives for your analytics are:

  • Reduce churn
  • Deepen engagement
  • Build more targeted personas
  • Ensure cohesive experience across your site

Once you’ve defined your outcomes, you can go back and choose the types of data that best help your team achieve this objective. Consider metrics that your team already tracks in addition to metrics you’ll need to start tracking. Beginning with a plan of where you want to end up will help your team work cohesively to build valuable data sets. It will also help you define a limited set of metrics to track on your way to that objective; having too much data can muddy your outlook.

Objective planning is also a really good time for your team to take a look back over your buyer personas. These will help you understand the types of users your site will target, but may also bring in some insights on how to update those personas. You may find you need to retire or build new personas because your product and its audience have changed.

Narrow your Focus

Many of these metrics can be found simply with your website analytics tools, but some will require a more involved customer analytics tool that assigns trackable user numbers and identifies repeat users. These tools place a cookie in the user’s browser to track lots of different metrics, and can also connect to your CRM or customer rolls to more closely identify users, especially behind a login screen.

Location, click, usage stats across your entire platform and website: These metrics can help you understand who uses what parts of the website, and maybe understand why. Combining Google Tag Manager and analytics tools can give your team deep insight into which buttons users click and which forms they prefer. Your team can take this information to define your user stories and your development plans to drive engagement, advocacy, and reduce churn. It can also work directly with your A/B testing tool make incremental changes to your website.

If your SaaS product requires your users to log in, you’ll require a more sophisticated tool that tracks your users with cookies and provides feedback on the most-used features of your platform. Understanding the tools that users engage with and those that they seem to ignore can help you define your education efforts.

Do your users even know of the social media sharing tool, or do they just come to your site for one purpose and leave? Combine these insights with customer surveys and interviews; your team can increase awareness of tools and hopefully build some advocates in the process. If you want to scale your efforts to a higher level that compares web and customer analytics against other data sets and specific business goals, you might consider implementing a business intelligence tool.

Movement, page depth, and bounces: Any web analytics app will tell you your bounce rate and page depth, and even the free version of Google Analytics will tell you general customer behavior from landing page to exit. If all this data is readily available, why don’t people use it? Well, probably because it takes work. It’s also helpful to add some sort of heat mapping program to help you understand the points in your pages that cause your customers to leave completely.

Again, for a gated platform behind a login screen, you’ll need to investigate on-page analytic tools that provide metrics about your user journeys. These tools can identify the parts of your platform where users engage for long periods of time, where they get bored and log out, and even buttons that don’t work and cause customers to rage click. These indicators might cause your team to make some easy UX changes that improve customer experience:

Insert a progress bar where customers rage click on a button that requires a wait for data transfer.

Use hover-over tool tips to help guide users through new or confusing tools

Build educational materials to define terms and train users on new or seldom-used tools

Change the font size/color/location of often-overlooked links.

With the help of your analytics tools and some careful planning, your team can begin to understand what blocks your users from fully engaging with your website or platform.

Remember to define your outcomes and work back from there to truly build a roadmap that works for a better customer experience. And don’t forget the power of the interview. Follow up your analytics research with conversations with a set of power users, a set of brand new users, and a set of churned users to understand the motivations and pain points.

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