Customer Success | 7 MIN READ

What Is Customer Intelligence and Why It Is a Key to Customer Success

Implementing Customer intelligence in your business and improving its performance is key to growth. Here’s how you can implement CI in your organization.

Shoeb Ahmed
Shoeb Ahmed
Oct 13, 2020


Customer Intelligence

In this age of increasing competition with other businesses, customer intelligence (CI) is becoming a prominent competitive advantage. We have already known that being customer-centric is paramount for the growth of any SaaS company. But there are various facets of becoming a customer-centric organization.

Many companies claim that they are customer-centric but they hardly understand the nuances of it. For being customer-centric, you need to know your customers well. It all begins with that. You need to understand their challenges, pain-points, interests, and behavior to better evaluate them for your business offerings. And this is where customer intelligence comes into the picture.

What is Customer Intelligence?

It is the process of collecting and analyzing customer data with the purpose of a better understanding of your customers. There might be a lot of data present about a customer that they leave during various interactions with your company. Through CI, you collect all of those data and glean valuable insights to understand customer behavior. This in turn is used towards taking informed actions for the growth of your business.

CI also helps in creating customer personas and holding relevant communication with them. When you interact with customers after knowing their background, it makes them feel more valued, understood, and appreciated. This results in creating a stronger bond with the customers entailing customer loyalty and long-term relationships which is essential for any successful company in a competitive environment.

Why is Customer Intelligence Important?

CI is an important tool to leverage the potential of a customer towards greater customer satisfaction, spend, and customer retention. There are various channels through which a customer interacts with your brand. This includes their web-activity, in-app activity, support calls, feedback, etc. CI is the data-driven strategy that helps you gather all these data scattered along different channels to create a meaningful insight out of those. It can be called as a 360-degree customer view.

When you truly understand your customer, you are able to talk to them in their own language. E.g. if you know their interest, you can start your conversation around that which would help you fetch their attention towards your brand. When you have a clear picture of your customer’s interests and behavior, you would be better able to communicate your message to them which makes them feel more connected to your brand. And that’s a prerequisite for any effective customer communication.

How CI Helps in Customer Success?

There are many customer success goals and activities that can be accomplished effectively through client intelligence. Few of them are:

Customer Segmentation

Through the right technological infrastructure, you can collate all the valuable customer data to create various customer segments. These segmentations can be formed based on their demography and behaviors. After segmentation, it becomes easier for you to target customers for tech-touchpoints and personalized marketing communications.

You can design your marketing collaterals around their interests, e.g. any common sports which a group of customers likes. And through the right customer success platform, you can execute your customer marketing campaign through just a few clicks.

Churn Analysis and Prevention

CI becomes very helpful in the analysis of churn and thereby preventing it. Out of all the customers who got churned, you can do a root cause analysis and find out the KPIs that majorly affected churn. You can find what were the common attributes in all those churned customers.

To find that, you need to dig into the transactional, behavioral, demographics, and usage data of those customers. A full-fledged customer intelligence management tool can help you study all these data in a meaningful way to identify patterns that are repetitive. Then you need to improvise on your customer success strategies to specifically improve those KPIs that are affecting customer churn.

Personalized Customer Experience

Personalized customer experience is key to promote customer loyalty and satisfaction. And customer intelligence solutions allow you to use the power of information towards that end. In fact, in a study, it was found that 58% of enterprise customers see a significant rise in customer loyalty through enhanced customer analysis (or intelligence).

Understanding your customer is important in helping them proceed in their customer journey. For the top of the funnel customers, it is important that you show them relevant ads to attract them towards your brand. A Swedish boy would be least interested in seeing an ad for Spanish Guitars while searching online for a skateboard. Personalized customer experience can be leveraged only through access to the right customer information.

How to Improve Customer Intelligence?

How to Improve Customer Intelligence?

Implementing client intelligence in your business and improving its performance is key to your growth. While there are numerous articles present online on this topic, here I will break down the whole process into three simple steps. This is how you can implement CI in your organization.

  1. Create a right CI strategy
  2. Invest in data analytics technology
  3. Transform data into cross-functional information

Create a Right CI Strategy

To begin with, you must list out all the possible channels through which you can access customer data. They can be social media platforms, customer service departments, customer success meetings, quarterly business review meetings, and so on.

Then you need to create the right data structures to convert all these data into meaningful information. This will involve automated rules which segregate raw data to different useful information segments.

The strategy should include all the steps from collecting data, to segregate them, to analyze them along with the goals that you intend to achieve. Goals can be customer retention, prevent churn, customer marketing, etc.

Invest in Data Analytics Technology

There are many big-data services that you can purchase like BigML or Google Cloud ML Engine. These services can help you do the predictive analysis along with data modeling to use the data towards your end-goals. Through AI-based CI tools, you can scale and manage large chunks of data and produce actionable insights for your business.

Only by leveraging the potential of AI can you make it a competitive advantage over other businesses in your niche. The earlier you invest, the more effective it will become because it takes time to learn your process and create new ones based on the behavioral data.

Transform Data into Cross-functional Information

The information you would gain from AI-based customer intelligence analytics tools can be used in multiple avenues. You must use the data towards enhancing the efficiency and strategies of different departments. These can be:

  1. Marketing and sales: Use the customer information towards marketing your upsells and cross-sells, as well as to acquire new right-fit customers.
  2. Product management: Based on customer likings and preferences, you can re-adjust your product map to become more customer-centric.
  3. Customer success: Through the right behavioral data, identify the opportunities to effectively engage with customers on a timely basis. Each touchpoint can be used as a means to add more value to the customer.

Final Thoughts

Client intelligence cannot be fully utilized without highly intelligent data analytics software. You must know where to invest in your business to maximize your ROI. Few customer intelligence examples that companies use include customizing customer journeys, creating customer personas, activity-driven recommendations, and so on.

Gone are the days when you can rely solely on MS-excel or a CRM tool to gather useful information from the raw data. A highly sophisticated customer success platform can bring you the benefits of having a 360-degree view of customers. And that, if implemented correctly, can set you apart from your competitors.

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Originally Published October 13th, 2020, Updated November 13th, 2020

Shoeb Ahmed

Shoeb Ahmed

Shoeb lives and breathes Customer Success and SaaS. He has a passion to research on the latest innovations happening in SaaS and Customer Success. Shoeb hails from a Software Architecture background where he worked for many years with Indian Tech Giants like Wipro and ITC building software solutions for their MNC clients in the UK and Denmark.

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