Customer intelligence (CI) is the process of gathering and analyzing data from various customer interactions to generate actionable insights. It helps businesses understand their customers’ behavior better—allowing them to personalize or adjust selling strategies. Customer intelligence data comes from customer relationship management (CRM) analytics, customer service data, purchase history, and web activities.
Customer intelligence can empower you to create more data-driven business decisions. We’ll discuss why your business needs it and give examples of its usage.
Defining Customer Intelligence & Its Importance
Customer intelligence offers highly personalized insights into your customers’ behavior, preferences, and actions. It answers the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where”—and most importantly, the “why”—about your customers. Understanding your customers on a deeper level gives you a profitable advantage because you can adjust the different aspects of your business. It empowers you to design your selling approach in a way that best resonates with them.
Below are some interesting statistics on the importance of customer intelligence:
Customer intelligence influences strategies when developing products, creating campaigns, crafting marketing messages, and discovering your customers’ pain points. Collecting various types of customer intelligence data and translating them into your business operations will enhance your customers’ purchasing journey. It can also contribute to business growth as well as increase customer retention and loyalty.
Types of Customer Intelligence Data
Below are the types of customer intelligence data you need to collect to understand your customers or target market better:
This includes the base profile of your customers, including their income bracket, age, profession, and geographical location. You can collect this information through webforms, surveys, or lead tracking tools that extract publicly available information, such as details from social media accounts.
A behavioral profile shows a customer’s purchasing or browsing behavior. Analyze how they engage with your brand through different touchpoints, such as purchases done through your website or online store, as well as their engagement with your email marketing materials.
A psychographic profile tells you about the customer’s personality, attitude, interests, and lifestyle. Knowing the psychographic profile of your customers helps you craft messages that appeal to their emotions or complements their lifestyle choices. You can get psychographic data from surveys and questionnaires as well as customer reviews and testimonials. Social media sites, websites they visit, and ads they click are also excellent sources of this data.
Out of all types of customer intelligence data, information on their transactions is the easiest to track. You simply need to dig through the information you already have, such as their past purchases, items wishlisted, items added to the cart but not purchased, devices used, as well as preferred payment methods.
Sources of Customer Intelligence Data
Actionable, insight-driven, and well-rounded customer intelligence data comes from an ecosystem of available customer data sources. Insights from these sources contribute to enriching customer profiles, so businesses can tailor their services, products, marketing outreach, and customer service in the most effective way.
Below are samples of data sources where you can get insights to contribute to your customer intelligence.
Using CRM analytics to gather customer intelligence helps businesses see where most of their leads are coming from or which communication channels they are using are most effective. It lets them identify top customers through sales figures, determining their most and least engaged customers. CRM analytics also help businesses see their top-performing products and services, guiding sales agents on which ones to offer customers.
Freshsales offers visual reports that provide users with a look into various areas of their business, including revenue and lead sources. It enables them to track customer interactions in various communication channels. Data reports also allow sales teams to monitor deals over different periods of time and see how they convert, evaluate sales trends, and analyze win and loss rates to develop better selling strategies.
Find out more ways on how CRM software can improve your customer service operations.
Customer Service Data
Data from customer service software is also a robust source of customer intelligence. It offers businesses a look at the sentiments of their customers about their products, services, and level of support.
By looking at past customer logs, previous issues, and reviews, businesses can identify the areas they need to improve on when providing support to their customers. It also shows the communication channels their customers use the most, enabling them to reach out to them more effectively.
Zendesk keeps detailed communication history with customers, including responses from actual representatives and customer interactions with chatbots. A customer’s profile is updated with recent cases and issues, feedback, or comments based on their last interaction with a customer service representative, as well as scores or ratings for the support they received.
One of the most effective ways to gather highly accurate customer data is to send surveys or feedback forms. They make it easy to ask your customers targeted questions you want specific information for, such as insights on existing products and services, or suggestions on products they want you to develop.
HubSpot Service Hub has a customer feedback tool that lets you run various types of surveys, which you can easily send to your email distribution list. It provides a pool of ready-made templates users can further customize based on their preferred aesthetics or branding.
Email Marketing Automation Data
The way your customer interacts with your email marketing campaigns says a lot about their behavior and preferences. By using information from your email marketing activities, you can see the types of content your customers engaged the most with, links they clicked that led to a purchase, and emails that didn’t get much traction. Knowing this type of information gives you a good idea of your offerings that convert and types of content that garner interest.
Mailchimp provides rich insights into how customers interact with the user’s email marketing activities, whether collectively or individually. It has growth, engagement, and revenue reports that help users discover patterns in their audience’s behavior and see what’s working with their marketing activities. It also shows them what actions have led to a purchase and lets them leave notes about customers’ individual preferences when integrated with your CRM.
Social Media Activities
Monitoring customers’ social activities assists businesses in better understanding their customers’ wants and needs. Social media encourages people to express themselves or voice opinions about brands and services, and thus, it’s a great place to listen. Businesses often find out what products their customers are raving or complaining about. They can also view conversations where customers talk about what they want to see from your brand.
Sprout Social provides insights into your customers’ social activities, including their engagement with your content, direct interaction with your team, or personal interests. Through its integration with popular social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, users can add notes to enrich customers’ profiles, which provides context to future interactions.
Web Activity Analytics
Tracking customers’ web activities is an effective way to gather customer intelligence. By monitoring your customers’ web activities, you can collect insights about their interests and preferences. You can also identify top pages they visited on your website, links clicked, and products viewed and purchased. It doesn’t only give you an idea of the kinds of products that are most popular, but also the kind of content that attracts their attention.
Agile CRM’s web analytics capabilities let users track their web visitors and see in-depth, contact-level analytics. Its web analytics include various data like the source of a visitor, pages visited, time spent on each page, and browser or device used. This helps users segment customers and visitors based on activity and interests, enabling them to run highly targeted promos and identify hot leads when they browse their website.
How to Leverage Customer Intelligence
Knowing your customers’ demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and transactional profiles enables you to improve different aspects of your business. Below are some ways you can leverage and maximize your customer intelligence data:
Developing & Improving Products
Through various sources of customer intelligence, businesses gain a comprehensive understanding of their customers’ wants and needs. This information can be used to either improve existing products or develop new ones. For example, social listening lets you discover how your customers are talking about your products. Meanwhile, surveys can give you direct feedback on what new products or services they would like to see and buy from your brand.
Tailor-fitting Marketing Campaigns
Evaluating how your customers or contacts engage with your content aids in tailor-fitting marketing messages that could be compelling to them. Take a look at your top-performing email marketing materials in terms of content and determine what kind of messages convert. You must also determine the optimal time to send emails to make sure that they read your emails.
It’s also important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing. While some messages are meant to be sent to your entire distribution list, segmenting your target audience based on their past actions and preferences is key to increasing the engagement.
Improving Customer Service
Customer intelligence data contributes to improving the quality of your customer service. Through customer reviews, feedback forms, and testimonials, you can discover and measure how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are with your products or services, as well as the quality of your customer support.
Customer intelligence is a crucial part of running a business. In a business landscape saturated with players competing for the attention of potential customers, standing out from the crowd is a must for your business to grow. To do this, offer products and services that address their specific needs and develop content that engages them. Having access to accurate customer intelligence data helps you hone your message and best serve your customers.