Personalized Customer Experience in SaaS: Using Customer Data For Better CX

Personalized Customer Experience in SaaS: Using Customer Data For Better CX cover

How do you enhance your onboarding efforts and delight customers? Making them feel special is a good place to start. And building a personalized customer experience is a fantastic way of doing that.

To do that effectively though, you can’t rely on guesswork. You need to build based on valuable customer data. In this article, we’ll break down the process.

Ready to get into it?

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  • A personalized customer experience encompasses any interaction with your product or service where you’ve made specific decisions based on data about the user, whether that’s user preferences, role type, or something else.
  • There are many clear benefits to introducing a personalized customer experience within your product. You can improve conversion rates by reducing friction, boost customer satisfaction throughout the customer journey, and improve customer loyalty – hopefully driving word of mouth and spreading brand awareness.
  • But as powerful as personalization is, it’s impossible to craft without high-quality customer data. You can’t base personalization on guesswork. One of the best ways to gather this data is within your product or service itself – there are many ways to do this.
  • Use the signup process to help understand what your customers’ expectations are: it’s key you and your team are synced up on exactly what they’re expecting from your product.
  • You can craft welcome screens that capture key information and help you formulate an understanding of why users have signed up and what they’re trying to achieve (their ‘jobs to be done‘).
  • Utilize product usage data to help you to understand to what extent user groups are using which features. That’ll help you build up a more accurate view of distinct segments you can target, and figure out what’s appropriate for each group.
  • Another option is gathering feedback directly: launch UX, NPS, or other surveys at relevant stages in the journey to gather direct insight from your customers.
  • Heatmaps can give you a different type of data (equally helpful): rather than just who and how many folks are using a feature, they break down how a user is engaging with a specific element.
  • Once you’ve built up a solid understanding of who your customers are and what they’re trying to achieve, you can start to personalize their experience accordingly.
  • Provide a flexible onboarding experience, use targeted tooltips to drive attention toward new features, deliver personalized customer service, leverage localization wherever you can, or let customers build their own bespoke dashboards.
  • You’ll need a tool to help you translate all this into reality. Userpilot can help you gather data, create clear user segments based on what that data tells you, and launch targeted in-app experiences aimed at helping those segments.

What is a personalized customer experience (CX)?

A personalized customer experience is defined by any interaction with your product or service where you’ve made specific decisions based on data about the user, whether that’s:

  • User preferences
  • Demographic information
  • Role type
  • Or any other characteristic

It means you don’t assume that ‘one size fits all’. A personalized customer experience looks to deliver directly to the needs of your target audience.

Key benefits of delivering personalized customer experiences in SaaS

Why is building a personalized customer experience important for product managers? Let’s unpack some of the benefits below:

Improve conversion rates from trial to paid

Firstly, personalization helps boost conversion (which should be the ultimate aim for any SaaS owner or product manager). Why?

Because personalizing the customer experience makes everything feel custom, bespoke, and importantly relevant to your customers.

The more effectively you personalize an experience, the shorter the time to value – and that’s a key driver behind users deciding to pay for your product or service.

Increase customer satisfaction across the customer journey

You’ll never drive SaaS success if you have unhappy customers. Personalizing the customer experience is a proven way to tackle (and improve) customer satisfaction.

It means your product experience can be directly targeted toward pain points across the customer journey.

You can boost the pertinent information and journeys being shown at key junctures, and simultaneously cut out the ‘noise’ (i.e. unnecessary features or product tours).

Increase customer retention by meeting customer expectations

The fastest way to ruin any relationship? Misaligned expectations: people expecting one thing, and getting another. The SaaS world is no different.

If customers sign up and start using your product hoping for a given set of features, and:

  • You don’t offer those capabilities
  • They don’t work as expected, or;
  • They’re not obvious to your customers

Any of the above could boost customer retention, and cause your users to bounce away pretty swiftly.

So personalization is a great way to tackle this risk: it helps improve the customer experience by giving assurance they are in the right place (and ultimately your product does what it says on the tin).

Boost customer loyalty and drive word of mouth (WOM)

Get the customer experience right, and your users can become one of your most powerful marketing tools.

The better their experience – often leaning on the perks of personalization – the more likely a user will be to recommend you to their friends, colleagues, and throughout their network.

Word-of-mouth marketing is effective for one core reason: trust.

Don’t take that for granted. It’s absolutely worth investing time in personalization efforts to build customer loyalty and strive for customer delight.

Ultimately, it could pay dividends.

How to collect customer data to personalize experiences in-app

So we know why personalization is so powerful, and how it can help you and your SaaS.

But you can’t base personalization on guesswork and shaky hypotheses.

The personalized customer experience you create will only ever be as good as the customer data you gather leading into it.

In this part of the article, we’ll cover how you can gather invaluable insights – from multiple data sources – within your SaaS itself.

Understand what customers expect during the signup process

The first order of business? Aligning on customer expectations.

Use the signup process to figure out exactly what customers expect. That way, someone’s first foray into your application is transformed into a massively valuable treasure trove of data.

Be careful to get the balance right.

Filter questions seamlessly to your UX (or customers might feel bombarded before they’ve even had the chance to orient themselves).

Visual of welcome screen info gather
Gather valuable information right from the get-go.

Use welcome screens to identify the user’s JTBD

“The key to learning is an awareness of where you lack understanding.”

The next opportunity to gather data?

Any product welcome screens you have. It’s a good chance to understand a customer’s ‘why’. They won’t be using your SaaS without reason.

If you figure out what they’re trying to achieve – their jobs to be done – you’ll be able to craft a personalized customer experience far more effectively. It ensures any personalization you undertake is laser-focused on helping them achieve their objectives.

Screenshot of Userpilot interface
Identify what your user is trying to achieve.

Track product usage to find usage patterns across different user segments

So, you understand user expectations and what they’re hoping to achieve from your product. What’s next?

Looking at actual usage data across user segments can be a treasure trove.

It’ll help you to understand to what extent user groups are using which features. That’ll help you build up a more accurate view of distinct segments you can target, and figure out what’s appropriate for each group.

Screenshot of Userpilot interface
Analytics data can help you understand customer behavior (and how to target them accordingly).

Remember that you don’t use this data in isolation. Pair it with JTBD and other feedback to form a robust picture.

Once you’ve got that foundation of knowledge, you can easily build custom events to track important milestones (i.e. macroconversion). Once a key milestone is hit, consider personalizing the response (i.e. a celebration screen for rewards).

User heatmaps to understand feature usage

Product analytics is a ‘swiss army knife’ for product managers. There are lots of tools to help you tackle different problems.

Heatmaps are slightly different from overall usage data: rather than just who and how many folks are using a feature, they break down how a user is engaging with a specific element.

One similarity though is understanding how different segments use a feature (i.e. power users will likely have clear product usage patterns – which other users might learn from).

Heatmaps can help you understand a customer’s path to value (and remove blockers they face along the way).

Animation of heatmap
Understanding how your customers use your product is vital to making the right personalization decisions.

Collect customer feedback and understand user sentiment

The key to creating (and maintaining) a personalized experience is remembering it’s not a ‘once and done’ activity.

You need to utilize ongoing customer feedback to help you figure out the underlying reasoning behind customer decisions.

Capture that data at different points in the customer journey: launch UX or NPS surveys to help inform your view of user sentiment.

Screenshot of Userpilot survey
Ask users directly: they’ll share valuable insight.

That data will help you build targeted segments, directly tackling elements raised in the feedback surveys. That virtuous feedback loop means you’ll forge a close connection with your customers and boost product outcomes.

Screenshot of Userpilot
Create segments with Userpilot.

Bonus: Use data for micro-segmentation and highly personalized customer experiences

Here’s another powerful tool for collecting customer data (and building a personalized customer experience): micro-segmentation. Stratify down to an extremely detailed level to deliver in-depth personalization.

Animation of segmentation
The more specific you get with your segmentation, the more effective it’ll be.

Best personalized customer experience examples

At this stage, you’ll have gathered a whopping load of valuable customer data, used it to understand a broad set of customer needs, and identified user segments. What next? Now, it’s time to create custom, contextual, relevant in-app experiences.

Let’s dive into some examples.

The personalized customer onboarding experience

A personalized customer experience can start immediately as a customer enters your application: start with the onboarding experience.

You can create separate ‘forks’ or paths in a journey – based on a customer’s ‘jobs to be done‘ – using data collected on a welcome screen.

You can do this in many ways, either by crafting a customer journey for them based on their decisions or by letting them navigate their own journey.

Screenshot of onboarding journey
Onboarding can be a great place to gather valuable info.

Personalized customer experience for more value using tooltips

Tooltips are another excellent instrument at your disposal. Remember that not all your customers need to engage with the same set of features to obtain value from your product.

They’re also a subtle and tactful way of gradually prompting customers to discover functionality that’s relevant to them (based on their JTBD and underlying needs).

You don’t need to clog the UI up to effectively personalize the experience.

Think of this as a personalized shopping experience.

Just like Amazon, where users are recommended products that they might find valuable based on their purchase history, tooltips can help encourage users to try features that might offer value based on their specific use cases.

Screenshot of tooltip in Slack
Draw your customers’ attention where it’s needed.

Offer personalized customer service in-app

Providing personal customer service is extremely important. In fact, it’s one of the most important customer service principles.

When you have a problem you need solving, the most frustrating thing is receiving generic, unhelpful advice.

So, instead of enormous – and to your customers, scary – self-service portals, only show what’s relevant. That could be based on their user profile, the stage they’re at in the journey, product usage, or other attributes.

The important thing is to avoid overwhelming them.

Visual of resource center
Help customers solve their own problems with in-app resource centers. See how you can build one with Userpilot.

Use localization for a more personalized customer experience

Here’s another mechanism to use when crafting a personalization strategy: localization.

That means you make your product experience feel like it’s geared toward the local experience in multiple ways:

  • Tooltips (i.e. ‘EU discount today’)
  • Modals (i.e. ‘Webinar kicking off at XX GMT time’)
  • Other UX elements (time, language elements)
  • Customer satisfaction (could reduce customer friction)

Personalized experiences with customer dashboards

Dashboards work best for products that offer a broad range of features, tackling multiple use cases. Why?

Because not every feature will be relevant to all your users. By giving customers the option to personalize their dashboard, the entire customer experience feels far more focused, relevant, and personal.

Toggling between color schemes (or light vs dark modes) might seem a relatively small element, but it can make a big difference to the overall experience.

Visual of personalized dashboard
Configurable dashboards can be a powerful tool.

How to automate a personalized experience in SaaS using Userpilot

Now, of course, you’ll need a tool to transform these ideas into reality. Userpilot has all you need when it comes to crafting personalized interactions in-app.

Let’s explore how it can help with three key steps:

#1 – Collect customer data

As discussed, you can’t craft a personalized experience without a firm supply of customer data.

You can capture that data in many ways with Userpilot. Through the welcome screen, via general product usage, or through customer feedback data with surveys (user experience surveys or NPS).

Animation of Userpilot interface
Userpilot is a powerful tool.

#2 – Segment users based on data

One of Userpilot’s most impressive areas of functionality is user segmentation.

You can segment based on multiple attributes: feature engagement, responses to surveys, loyalty via NPS score, in-app interactions with flows, custom events data, and more.

That’ll allow you to distinguish between different types of customers and personalize the experience accordingly.

#3 – Trigger automated in-app experiences relevant to each user segment

Finally, you can actually launch targeted (and automated) in-app experiences that have direct relevance to the segments you identified in the previous step.

Remember to choose the type of UI pattern carefully: think about the context, and how to create the most unintrusive experience possible.

Set specific triggers for each use case rather than going for a blanket approach.



So, let’s wrap things up.

We’ve covered why a personalized customer experience can be so effective, how to gather the data you need to create one, examples of how to personalize an experience… and the powerful tool that will help you get the job done.

What are you waiting for – do you want to build product experiences code-free? Book a demo call with our team and get started!

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