The 5 stages to building the ultimate Customer Analytics Experience
Posted On 09/06/2022
The sweet spot of a great Customer Analytics Experience? It combines good user experience, personalized insights and supports the end-user’s success. But how do you reach that ultimate level of experience?
Building a Customer Analytics Experience is like going through the 5 stages of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People need food, water and sleep to survive, but relationships, self-esteem, and doing what we love give our lives more meaning.
Similarly in business, people need insights to make smart and confident decisions. But the more fun, engaging and interactive your analytics experience is, the more fulfilled your customers will feel. And more engaged customers will lead to more product usage and a stickier product.
Based on our experience, we’ve defined 5 stages of Customer Analytics Experience to help you build engaging analytics for your customers step by step.
What is Customer Analytics Experience?
Customer Analytics Experience (CAX in short) is a new perspective on the SaaS analytics feature set. It’s where UX, customer success and end-user empowerment meet.
When customers get to discover their own insights in an easy and playful way, your SaaS product empowers them to make confident, data-driven decisions.
Consider CAX as the Fitbit for software usage. CAX makes your users more aware of their actions, informs desirable behavior, and most importantly, makes them successful. If done right, the productivity gain deepens engagement with your product and will position you as a trusted partner.
Building the ultimate CAX is an incremental process. Like in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you need to start with the basics. Depending on your situation, it can make sense to tackle multiple steps at once or build out your analytics stage per stage.
The 5 stages of Customer Analytics Experience
Stage 1: Generic insights
The first step is to have general, basic metrics in place that anyone can easily access and interpret. Start with the data you already have at hand. At this stage, you don’t have to worry about the individual customer’s context just yet. Start with the metrics relevant to your entire customer base.
At this stage, it doesn’t matter what your insights look like. Think number charts, table views or simple non-interactive bar charts. Because any form of insight is better than flying blind. Share them via email, on your blog or website, or whichever channels your customers use.
For example, the Statbel Bureau of Statistics did a study on the most popular baby names in Belgium. They shared the statistics on their blog to help anyone find the perfect name for their newborn.
Stage 2: Customer-specific insights
Each of your product users face different challenges. To make the right decisions faster, your customers need insights tailored to their personal context. The more relevant and personalized your insights, the more value your customers will get.
In this stage, try leveraging customer feedback from user profiles. This strategy will help you surface the problems each user profile faces, and understand which metrics can support solving these problems. Based on the feedback, you can create a set of ‘template’ dashboards to serve a broad range of customer profiles.
Pro tip: if you’re dealing with personal data, you can populate these templates with only the personal data of a specific user. By applying user authorization, you can securely personalize insights at scale!
For example at Wara, an electronics retail store, sales reps receive a daily email report with their personal sales performance. These reports motivate each team member to go the extra mile to reach their target.
Stage 3: Embedded insights
The next step to a better user experience is embedding personalized insights into the main interface of your product. Customers get access to valuable information for decision-making, right when and where they need it.
When your dashboard’s styling, language and device display are all seamlessly adapted to your platform’s look and feel, your customers get access to a single user interface, boasting a great UX.
Offering analytics as a native part of your SaaS product is a great way to boost product engagement and associate insights directly with your brand. Real-time alerts or email notifications on interesting metrics can add an extra layer of engagement. If the insight matters, your customers will be triggered to return to your product and dig deeper into their data.
For example in finance, banks are embedding charts in their digital apps or portals to help customers understand their current financial situation or historical spending. Apps like Revolut let you set spending limits and notify you when overspending in certain categories.
Stage 4: Interactive and actionable insights
Once analytics are a native part of your platform, you can start actively empowering your customers. They can interact & take action on the insights immediately.
In this stage, analytics are integrated with the day-to-day workflows of your customers and burst out of your typical reporting section. Charts, dashboards and insights now appear in several places in your application where key decisions are made. By adding interactivity to your charts, you’ll incentivize customers to slice, dice and explore their data on their own.
To enable actions and decisions immediately, you can let customers trigger a workflow in your product, directly from a chart.
For example, think of a marketing segmenting tool that lets marketers slice and dice historical customer behavior or demographics, and create a new target list with a single click while visually exploring their data.
Charts become more than a visualization: they are now an essential part of business operations. For market innovators, this overlooked approach is an opportunity to set their product apart from the competition, and offer a richer, more empowering customer experience.
Stage 5: “Choose your own adventure” analytics
To reach the ultimate analytics experience, customers need the ability to cherry-pick their insights, like choosing their own adventure. There are two solutions: either laser-focused automation, or a large degree of freedom to play around with data.
SaaS platforms can use business rules, machine learning or other approaches to predictively signal personalized insights for their customers to action on. The product does the heavy lifting while customers run their operations data-driven, barely aware they are consuming analytics.
By completely automating the optimization of ongoing operations, customers now have more time to actively analyze new domains of business. By letting your customers create free-form reports in your SaaS product, they get all the freedom to explore new, unknown business opportunities.
Not only do your customers get all the power to tackle their business challenges, you also increase product adoption and free up time for product builders and client-facing teams. If customers can mine their own insights, your team no longer has to.
HubSpot is a great example of the ultimate analytics experience. Did you know 80% of their users prefer creating custom reports instead of using the default dashboards? Data-savvy marketers love the ability to completely take charge of their data and hand-pick the insights that matter to them at that moment in time.
Which stage of the Customer Analytics Experience have you reached?
There’s no excuse to treat analytics as a secondary feature set. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, and 6 times as likely to retain them.
As a result, personalized insights embedded in your SaaS application are becoming the norm to stay in the game. Products that ignore the first three stages of the analytics experience will be outrun by their competitors.
On the flip side, SaaS products that invest in the final stages of CAX will outperform competitors fast. Interactive and self-exploring capabilities bring a new level of innovation to the analytics experience. If you’re ready to take your customer analytics experience to the next level, our team is here to help. Book a free consultation or guided product tour with one of our experts.