Customer Insight 101: How To Collect Data and Improve the User Experience in SaaS?

Userpilot Team
10 min readAug 10, 2022

What is customer insight, and why is it essential for SaaS companies?

As a product manager, you should collect customer insights to understand how users feel about your products and services. What part of the user journey makes them happy or upset? And much more.

Collecting customer insights helps you deliver best-in-class solutions and improve customer experience.

So let’s learn how to collect and act on customer data!

TL;DR

  • Customer insight is customer data collected from different touchpoints of the user journey that the product teams use to understand what users like and dislike about the product.
  • Customer insights help you get a deeper understanding of your customer’s needs and meet them with product tweaks.
  • You will also detect crucial friction that hinders the user experience while analyzing numerous customer touchpoints.
  • You can collect consumer insights by gathering passive and active user feedback.
  • Customer interviews and different types of microsurveys (NPS, CSAT, CES, PMF, etc.) are examples of active feedback.
  • Passive feedback refers to watching and learning user behavior without engaging with customers directly (i.e., A/B testing, heatmaps, session recordings, and tracking product usage).
  • Best tools to collect customer insights:
  1. Userpilot — for gathering active feedback via multiple microsurveys.
  2. Hotjar — for collecting passive feedback via heatmaps and session recordings.
  3. Mixpanel — for collecting user behavioral data from the website and in-app.

What is customer insight?

Customer insight is customer data collected from different touchpoints of the user journey that the product teams use to understand what users like and dislike about the product.

You can use this data to improve product development, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.

Why are customer insights important?

Let’s get more granular and learn how exactly your business can benefit from collecting customer insights.

Get a deeper understanding of your customers

Here’s what you’ll find out when you really get to know your customers:

  • What is customer sentiment?
  • What do users do with your product?
  • What’s their journey look like?
  • What actions do they take to get their job done?
  • What is their path to value? Does it match what you’ve expected users to do?
  • What features and filters do users find the most valuable?
  • What features do users avoid and why?
  • How do different user cohorts contribute to revenue?
  • What customer segments have the highest customer lifetime value?

This is what you will discover about your customers, thanks to collecting consumer insights, to name a few. Eventually, you will use this data to forge great customer relationships and make product tweaks to meet your customers’ needs.

Find bugs and optimize the touchpoints of the customer journey

By analyzing the various touchpoints users take during the user journey, you will be able to detect crucial friction that hinders the user journey.

Also, you will be able to categorize those bugs based on customer segments. For instance, you may want to prioritize bug fixing for customer groups that generate the most revenue.

In a nutshell, customer insight enables you to develop the best product on the market if you listen closely to customer needs.

What are the ways to collect customer insights?

Now that you know how invaluable consumer insights are for your business to thrive, let’s learn the 4 easy steps to collect customer behavioral data.

Customer feedback

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to understand your customers. The easiest and most efficient way to learn what your users think about your product is to ask them. That’s simple.

You can do this in multiple ways:

  • Collect in-depth feedback via conducting a series of customer in-person interviews.
  • Gather customer insight through different types of microsurveys on an ongoing basis on autopilot.

Microsurveys are built-in widgets in the form of a survey. They pop up due to pre-defined triggers such as users performing tasks X, Y, Z or signups reaching the first milestones, etc. This way, you can survey customers about anything at any time.

You can start off by gathering feedback via NPS surveys. Ask customers to rate how they feel about their experience with feature X and remove the friction if spotted.

You can also ask general questions like Slack (check out the image below) to assess the overall user experience. Or you can get granular and tie the NPS survey to particular features.

slack-collects-customer-feedback
How Slack collects customer feedback.

With a tool like Userpilot, you can build microsurveys code-free.

User interviews

Customer interviews allow you to understand customer pain points on a deeper level. While NPS surveys are good for finding friction, user interviews tell the real story.

Here are the 3 most effective ways to invite customers to take part in interviews:

Use the latter if you want to target a particular customer segment.

Below is a great example of how Postfity encourages its users to participate in a customer interview. Using incentives, they show they value users’ time and greatly appreciate their feedback.

You can also replicate this tactic if you struggle to get enough customers for interviewing.

postfity-user-interview
Postfity encourages customers to participate in customer interviews.

Passively collected insights

When you ask your customers for feedback or participate in an interview, you actively collect customer insight. Passively collected insights refer to watching and learning user behavior without engaging with customers.

For instance, you can monitor what customers are doing in-app, what issues they encounter, and what parts of the user journey are confusing. You can do all this by tracking feature usage, employing heatmaps, or session recordings. We’ll touch on some of these in more detail below.

A/B testing

A/B testing helps you understand the preferences of different customer groups so that you can deliver personalized customer experiences.

With Userpilot’s A/B testing feature, you can run different experiments and learn what copy, button color, tooltip placement, or any other UI element gets positive or negative customer feedback.

a_b-testing-userpilot
A/B testing feature in Userpilot.

How to gather customer insights and improve user experience?

Analyzing customer behavior and collecting actionable insights on an ongoing basis is essential for building a great product. Otherwise, you will be guessing what features to deliver next which never bodes well.

Here we’ve laid out the most effective ways to gather consumer insight 24/7.

Let’s dive in!

Use welcome screens to capture customer data from the beginning

Welcome screens let you gather customer data right from the start. You can build this modal into the welcome flow and kill two birds with one stone.

Firstly, you will greet your customers and introduce them to your customer support team. Secondly, you will gather some data about customers’ needs, titles, etc.

Using customer data, you can create personalized experiences across their journey, showing an outstanding customer-centric approach.

Here’s what a welcome screen looks like:

Welcome_screen_survey
Postfity uses Userpilot to create a microsurvey in the welcome flow code-free.

Track feature usage and see how users are behaving in the product

Knowing what customers are doing in the app allows you to refine first and secondary onboarding and make informed decisions about product updates.

With Userpilot’s feature tracking, you’ll see what features users use more or less frequently. How do they interact with newly introduced features?

For instance, if you capture that only a few customers use a specific feature, you can build the onboarding flow and get users to discover this feature.

In short, tracking feature usage allows you to improve feature adoption.

userpilot-feature-tagging
Feature tracking tool in Userpilot.

Use heatmaps to identify common behavioral trends

The heatmap is a color-coded illustration of the areas of your site where your users are most engaged (and least engaged). When users click heavily or move a cursor on one particular spot of your website, this element captures their attention the most.

Blue zones, meanwhile, display areas that have been scrolled past and ignored.

Use heatmaps to optimize marketing positioning, visuals, and CTA placement. Product managers can also use heatmaps to detect broken areas like forms, dropdowns, buttons, etc. There’s a term “rage clicking” that means an enormous amount of clicking on specific elements of your website that are not supposed to draw such attention.

By default, such customer behavior may signalize a bug.

Website-Heatmap-Example
See what website’s areas draw the most attention with Hotjar.

Use microsurveys across different touchpoints to collect feedback

You should use different types of microsurveys to collect customer feedback across different touchpoints and gauge different metrics:

  • CSAT or customer satisfaction surveys — for gauging customer satisfaction regarding a particular feature or experience. CSAT surveys are context-specific and accurate.
  • CES or customer effort score — for understanding how difficult it is for your users to perform a particular task. CES surveys highlight the existence/absence of product friction.
CES-customer-effort-score-survey
Customer effort score survey.
  • PMF or product-market fit surveys — for uncovering the hidden needs of your customers that you can address with product updates. In a PMF survey, product managers usually ask how customers would feel if they could no longer use this product. The answers might be eye-opening for further product development.
product-market-fit-survey
Product market fit survey example.

Now you might be interested in how to implement all these types of microsurveys in your product. If you opt for Userpilot, you’ll be able to build any of these microsurveys code-free.

Use NPS surveys to measure user sentiment and act on

NPS surveys are a reliable means for collecting user feedback and measuring the overall percentage of customer happiness and loyalty.

NPS surveys can go beyond just asking, “How likely would you recommend our tool to a friend?” When creating an NPS survey with Userpilot, you can add a qualitative follow-up question to understand the reason behind the grade a user has given you.

When analyzing the answers, you will understand what upsets your users. The next step is to address all the issues. Once bugs are fixed, you can target customers with a low NPS score one more time and see if there’s a change.

Here’s an example of Slack’s NPS survey for inspiration. Notice how Slack humanizes a dry NPS survey at its core by adding a friendly description.

slack-nps-best-practices
Slack NPS survey

Segment customers based on the collected data and group them by shared characteristics

Not every customer feedback is valuable. Sometimes you will get negative answers from those who don’t match your ideal customer profile or bring the lowest revenue but demand the most attention. Thus, you need to sort all the data collected before acting on it.

To do so, segment customers based on shared characteristics:

  • The customer journey stage
  • Customer lifetime value
  • The NPS and CSAT scores
  • Completed/uncompleted milestones
  • Company size, etc.

This will allow you to determine valuable consumer insight and act accordingly.

For instance, if you notice that customers with a low NPS talk about a steep or messy learning curve, then you should consider fine-tuning onboarding experiences.

With Userpilot’s advanced segmentation, you can segment customers by their user data, company data, feature usage, custom events, user feedback, and much more.

userpilot-smarter-segmentation_
Userpilot advanced customer segmentation.

Best tools to collect customer insights

Let’s go through the 3 market-leader tools for conducting consumer research and choose the one that completely fulfills your needs.

Userpilot

product-tool-userpilot-nps
How to create NPS surveys with Userpilot.

Userpilot is an all-in-one tool for improving customer engagement, product adoption, and product growth. Although it has over 20 different features, we will focus on those for customer insights.

What can you achieve with Userpilot?

  • Run multiple microsurveys tailored to any in-app event.
  • Track product feature usage and completed milestones (goals) within the customer journey.
  • Group users based on shared characteristics.

Pricing:

  • Free 14-day trial
  • Starting at $299/mo, paid monthly

Hotjar

hotjar-insights-tool
Hotjar heatmaps.

Hotjar is a tool for tracking users’ activity on websites and in-app. It has two main features for gathering customer insights — heatmaps and session recordings.

What can you achieve with Hotjar?

  • Understand what UI elements on the website capture more attention and what remain ignored.
  • Watch how users navigate and use your product via session recordings.
  • Identify unique product usage patterns.
  • Find friction points across the website.

Pricing:

  • Free (up to 1,050 sessions/month)
  • Paid plans start at 39 euros/month

Mixpanel

mixpanel-insights-tool
Mixpanel product analytics dashboard.

Mixpanel ties Google Analytics with product analytics under one roof. For instance, you can analyze purchase history across different customer groups and draw insights into how different customer segments are making buying decisions.

What can you achieve with Mixpanel?

  • Break down the marketing funnel and customer journey and analyze them together.
  • Analyze the signup flow in great detail and identify which steps cause drop-offs.
  • Track in-app events such as hitting specific buttons, engaging with product features, etc.

Pricing:

  • Free ( up to 100K monthly tracked users)
  • Paid plans start at $25/month

Conclusion

Excellent customer experience is what drives your business growth. The happier customers are, the longer they stick to you, and the more revenue they generate. Plus, happy customers advocate your product and bring new customers.

To achieve this and build a customer-centric product, you should collect and act on customer insights.

Want to collect invaluable customer insights and see what customers are doing in the app? Book a demo call with the Userpilot team and see how you can do it.

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Userpilot Team

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com