The 10 Best User Engagement Tools and Software for SaaS in 2021

user engagement tools featured image

Being in tune with our users is important for any SaaS product growth. But with the plethora of user engagement tools out there, how do you know which one or which few you’ll need?

Today, we’re going to share with you the 10 best customer engagement software out there highlighting the best use cases for each.

Let’s go.

TL;DR

    • A customer engagement tool is software that facilitates your interaction with users and helps to improve customer experience
    • Customer engagement platforms are used for different types of engagement like user onboarding, self-service support through live chat, bots and in-app resource centers, marketing automation, and other types of personalized engagement
    • The best customer engagement tools let you collect customer feedback through surveys and microsurveys, analyze customer behavior and communicate with your users in-app or through different communication channels
    • Customer engagement platforms worth trying: Userpilot, Heap, Mixpanel, Pendo, Hotjar, Productboard, Drip, Drift, Slack
    • Userpilot: The best all-in-one tool to drive engagement and adoption

What is a customer engagement tool?

A customer engagement tool is a software platform aimed to improve the customer relationship with your business through different types of engagement like user onboarding, customer support, customer success, self-service support, etc. Using a customer engagement tool can improve your customer experience by making your customer interactions more contextual, personalized, and relevant.

What do you need in a user engagement tool?

When we talk about customer engagement, we’re talking about listening to your users and then responding. 

It’s all about the conversation you’re having with them.

In essence, there are three main components when it comes to customer relationship management. Some tools we’re mentioning may cover all three of these components, whereas some may focus on just one.

Analyzing customer behavior (quantitative analytics)

Where are your users finding value in your product, what features do they use, where do they get stuck, where do they fall off? The right behavioral analytics tool should help you dive into the data but also translate those behaviors into actionable feedback.

Collecting qualitative feedback

Getting direct, actionable feedback to improve your product experience is extremely valuable. However, this sometimes can be very time-consuming and requires you to survey users at the right time. Some of the tools we’ll mention below have in-app micro survey features to gauge customer satisfaction, which can be targeted towards the right folks you want feedback from.

Communicating with your users

Whether it’s in-app or using a third-party platform to facilitate customer interaction, staying proactive and keeping the conversation flowing is up to the product owners.

Depending on what your immediate product needs are, you may want to prioritize certain components more than others. We generally recommend getting your qualitative feedback systems in place after identifying the main pain points through your quantitative data.

What makes some user engagement tools better than others?

Well, for starters, they need to be in-depth.

You need to be able to see more than just page views and clicks. The right customer engagement platform has to help you make sense of your users’ behaviors. Additionally, the tool you choose should also allow you to experiment, test and work towards engagement goals, so you can constantly be improving your product experience.

They also need to be quick and easy to implement.

SaaS companies, especially early-stage startups, have limited resources. Sometimes choosing the tool that is the fastest and easiest to implement will be better than the expensive, super robust platform that will take forever to learn.

Finally, they need to fit well with the team that’s using them.

Customer engagement is a key part of your product strategy and covers multiple teams such as Product and Customer Success. However, these teams often have different skillsets and different needs. Before deciding on a tool, ask who’s going to use them? Do they need easy-to-understand visuals, specific email integrations, etc?

With all that in mind, let’s dive into our list!

User Engagement Tool #1 – Userpilot: The best all-in-one tool to drive engagement and adoption

Call us biased, but we think Userpilot deserves a mention on this list of the best customer engagement software.

Your in-app messaging is a key part of communicating with your customers and engaging them with your product. Your onboarding flows are a major part of that.

userpilot dashboard

Userpilot enables you to easily build engaging onboarding flows into your product, with no code required.

This helps you to drive retention, improve customer loyalty, improve customer experience and encourages your customers to engage with your product on a deeper level and adopt your product.

Userpilot also offers NPS surveys, so you can collect customer feedback directly within your product and measure customer satisfaction.

userpilot NPS dashboard

This helps you gather valuable feedback which you can use to adapt your onboarding and increase customer engagement.

In addition to onboarding and NPS, Userpilot offers product analytics. You’re able to group your users into segments, based on how they use your product.

userpilot-segmentation-dashboard

You can compare what these different segments do in your product, and send different messaging to different groups.

For example, you can use a Welcome screen and segment users based on their responses, then build different onboarding paths for each based on their specific needs.

welcome-screen-built-with-userpilot

NOTE: Userpilot will be adding even more analytics functionality in the near future. Schedule a demo with our team and get a full overview on how Userpilot can help you engage your customers and grow your SaaS.

As an all-in-one solution, Userpilot is a clear choice.

Why choose Userpilot?

Userpilot is really user friendly and has a low learning curve. I use Userpilot for our new user onboarding but you could it for plenty of other use-cases to drive user adoption and engagement with your product. It took me less than an hour to create my first experience and deploy it on our production site.” — Nik K

User Engagement Tool #2 – Heap: For Analyzing Behaviour

heap dashboard

Mixpanel has been the market leader for a while but now there’s a new kid on the block, and its name is Heap.

Heap is a product analytics tool that captures and analyzes all user interactions without waiting for data or shipping code. Big companies like Twilio and Cloudflare use this customer engagement software solution to better understand how their users engage with their products.

Heap prides itself on its usability. It claims that you can get set up in a matter of minutes. Once you install the code into your website or platform, it will automatically start capturing all of your product data. With this tool, you can monitor every event, such as page views, gestures, clicks, form submissions, etc.

Not only that but hardly any coding is required to track in-app behavior. Rather than having to manually add tracking code to new features or improvements, you can sit back and let Heap do the work.

It means you can start gathering insights quicker, without having to rely on your devs to install the tracking code each time.

As for the actual analytics, you’re able to see an overview of product usage. You can also create segments based on user personas, and see how behavior differs. If you want to dig even deeper, you can analyze an individual user’s behavior.

When you can capture all user interactions on this customer engagement platform, you’ll be able to understand your users better. You can integrate both mobile and web sessions into Heap and tie everything to a single user. You can also analyze a user based on their customer data: age, email address, payment plan, and total revenue, among others.

Heap is a fantastic product analytics tool. It’s easy to set up, and even easier to start gaining valuable insights into your users’ behavior. That’s why it deserves a place on our list of the best customer engagement software.

Why choose Heap?

“I like Heap because of its ability yo gather data from users interactions in your platform or website and generate useful infographics, heat maps, funnels and more. With this tool you can collect ton of relevant info to understand your customers and the way they interact with your site.” — Mauricio G

User Engagement Tool #3 – Mixpanel: For customer behavior and customer journey insights

mixpanel-dashboard

If Heap is the new up-and-comer, then Mixpanel is the wise old hermit, and we mean that in the best possible way.

Mixpanel is an advanced analytics platform that was designed to help companies and organizations of every size to monitor and analyze customer actions. It measures the steps taken by people who enter your app and shows you everything they are doing in it.

Mixpanel has long been the leader when it comes to product analytics, and with good reason. You can use Mixpanel’s in-depth analytics to drill down into different segments and understand how they’re using your product.

You can also compare segments to see which are more engaged or which use a certain feature more frequently.

Where Mixpanel truly shines is with its “data science models”.

These models can help you to predict users’ actions and identify any correlations. This feature adds even more insight and gives you a view of the future, not just the past.

While Mixpanel is not a communication management tool, it does venture into the communication side of user engagement. You’re able to send notifications or other messages, targeted to specific users. You can also A/B test your messaging, all within Mixpanel.

Having said that, Mixpanel requires a little more coding to implement. You need to have the resources ready to make the most of Mixpanel. But once you’re up and running, the insights are invaluable.

ready to make the most of Mixpanel. But once you’re up and running, the insights are invaluable.

Why choose Mixpanel?

“Mixpanel will be ideal for you if you need a simple, yet powerful tool for your SaaS product. One of their features that I’ve found most useful (and I haven’t really seen it in the competitors’ apps) is Signal. Once you apply it to your events, it shows you which ones you should encourage your users to do, and predict behavioral trends within your product. A must-have for a modern product marketer!” — Matylda C

User Engagement Tool #4 – Pendo: For customer analytics, feedback, and in-app engagement

pendo-dashboard

Pendo is one of the all-in-one customer engagement platforms, like Userpilot.

Pendo is a very powerful engagement tool that deals primarily with product analytics. Like Heap, you’re able to get up and running quickly and with minimal coding required. You can then delve into how your users interact with your product. You can measure different segments and compare different types of users.

Pendo also enables you to collect feedback. The feedback module gives your users the ability to submit feature requests, as well as tell you what their highest priorities are. You can then use this information to determine what you work on next.

Another aspect of Pendo’s feedback collection is sentiment analysis. You can add an NPS survey and other targeted polls to figure out what your users think about your product and gauge customer satisfaction.

Finally, you can also use Pendo for customer engagement with in-app messaging. These messages can be used to guide users through a complex part of your product or to market a new feature.

As an all-in-one platform, Pendo is one of the best customer engagement software to keep an eye on in 2021. However, it can be fairly expensive for early-stage startups, and perhaps more complex than you need. If it’s not within your budget, you can consider some of Pendo’s competitors here.

Why choose Pendo?

“Pendo allows you to track customer visits and clicks on page elements, pages, or a set of pages. It’s been very helpful to find out if customers are following the intended journey, and if not, where they are going astray. This has allowed my team to implement UX improvements quickly and easily.” — Allie J

User Engagement Tool #5 – Typeform: Collecting customer feedback and measuring customer loyalty

typeform-dashboard

One of the easiest ways to start collecting feedback is to send a survey out to your customers. There are plenty of customer surveys tools out there, but one of the best is Typeform.

There’s something about Typeform’s surveys — maybe the clean and minimal styling, or the simple user experience they provide — that makes them stand out from the likes of SurveyMonkey and Google Forms.

While Typeform may be a bit more costly, you do get access to some useful features you can use to engage customers. You can, for example, create logic jumps to adapt the survey to a user’s answers. You can also use “hidden fields” to greet users by name and personalize their experience.

Typeform’s conversational approach can help you increase your response rates. It also tends to improve the quality of the feedback you gather.

If you’re looking for a high-quality customer engagement solution to collect customer data through surveys, then Typeform is one of the best.

Why choose Typeform?

“We’ve been using Typeform surveys to collect data continually from our customers all over the world, continually, 24×7. We transfer survey data to our systems via Typeform’s API. In terms of design and usability, the surveys are way ahead of the competition. It’s great value for money too.” — Dave O

User Engagement Tool #6 – Hotjar: Analyzing user behavior, collecting feedback

hotjar screenshot

Of course, the kind of qualitative feedback you can get from surveys is only one type of customer satisfaction data you can collect from your users. Hotjar offers a way to collect even more data and translate raw user behavior data into actionable insights.

Hotjar enables you to monitor what your users are doing when they use your product. You can access heatmaps that show where people click or scroll.

You can even see a full recording of someone’s interaction with your product. It shows you where they move the cursor and which pages they navigate to. This is a great resource for product managers or UX designers. You can see where people get stuck and areas of your product that need improving.

You can also easily get instant feedback from users, see how users are using your app and make the right changes based on accurate insights. You can add a feedback portal to your app or product and collect ideas from your customers directly. If NPS is more your thing, then you can gain insights that way instead.

Collecting feedback within your app makes people more likely to respond.

Hotjar can help you see what your customers do, and understand why they do it. That’s why it’s on our list of the best customer engagement software and survey tools.

Why choose Hotjar?

“Hotjar adds a much-needed type of analytics to your arsenal. It allows you to see exactly what your page-viewers (potential buyers) are doing, seeing and spending time on your landing page or funnel. It allows you to test different design cues or features and see how your targets react.” — Jeffrey H

User Engagement Tool #7 – Productboard: Collecting feedback, communicating with users

productboard-dashboard

One of the biggest problems with collecting feedback is that it often ends up spread out across different channels. If you’re looking for customer engagement solutions to consolidate all that data, check ProductBoard.

Productboard helps you to consolidate all the feedback in one place, making it a great customer engagement platform.

With Productboard, you can link all your channels together. Email, social media, Intercom, Zendesk — all your feedback will be fed into one place. This makes it far easier to gain valuable insights and to identify any patterns or trends.

You can then link these feedback trends to relevant feature ideas. This enables your product managers and designers to understand what they should work on next.

You can also communicate any decisions back to your customers with the public road-mapping feature. This way your customers know what to expect from your product in the future.

Why choose Productboard?

“Productboard is an excellent customer engagement tool to help you make sure your roadmap is driven by real user feedback and value to your customers.” — Andrew H

User Engagement Tool #8 – Drip: Communicating with users

screenshot of drip

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for engaging customers, improve the customer experience and help your users down the customer journey. One email marketing tool worth mentioning is Drip.

Drip is a CRM software and email marketing automation platform that helps users customize and automate their email marketing workflows. Drip supports email campaigns that suit the different promotional and marketing needs of individuals, teams, and organizations. This variety provides them with the opportunity to send targeted emails to their subscribers.

With Drip, users can connect their favorite communication channels, applications, and solutions through the API or the built-in third-party integrations. This helps them expand the functionality of Drip and gain valuable insights to grow their product.

Unlike other email customer engagement tools, Drip focuses on segmentation and sending the right email flows to the right customers. This means you can automatically communicate with your customers based on their behavior.

Drip isn’t fully focused on email though. It also enables you to send targeted, personalized messages via social media, SMS, and even direct mail to your customer base. You can also split-test any messaging so you hone in on the right copy or imagery.

Drip is a great customer engagement software for when you want to keep customers in the loop and automate some of your communication.

Why choose Drip?

“Drip is hands down the easiest, most intuitive software for us for creating automated email sequences. The templates, along with ease of use, and integrations with all the other platforms and software we use makes it so valuable for us.” — Cliff H

User Engagement Tool #9 – Drift: Collecting feedback, customer relationship management

drift screenshot

Chat widgets and chatbots for live chat are the future of communicating with your users. 2021 will see them become even more popular, so you better start looking for a customer success platform that enables these customer relationships.

Drift is the leader when it comes to customer engagement platforms that provide chatbots. While it’s mostly focused on helping sales teams, you can also use it to help customers who are confused with your product.

You can integrate your chatbot with your knowledge base (Zendesk, Helpscout, etc.). You can then automatically engage customers and nudge them in the right direction.

It also makes it easier for customers to contact you if they have any problems, or if they want to give you some feedback.

Not only that, but you can connect to other customer engagement tools like Salesforce or Hubspot. This way your customers’ answers are added to their user profile, giving your CS and Sales teams more information.

Why choose Drift?

“Drift has maximized our ability to interact with customers on a deeper level. Being able to customize and personalize our messages to cater to various pages on our site allows our users a unique & smooth customer experience throughout their visits, and in turn, allows us to engage the conversation!” — Haley S

User Engagement Tool #10 – Slack: Communicating with customers

slack screenshot

Slack is a communication software that offers real-time messaging. It is designed to help teams compress their communication into one platform that is instantly accessible and searchable.

A new trend we’ve seen recently is creating a Slack customer community to foster customer engagement. We think more and more companies might start doing this in the next year or so while looking to improve customer experience.

Chances are a lot of you already have Slack set up for internal use. This method works in the same way, only you invite your customers into the workspace instead.

You can have different channels for different products, you can announce updates and new releases, and you can be on hand to help customers with any issues.

It also means your customers can form a community of their own, sharing best practices. This will increase engagement with your product.

Slack provides a great way for you to keep in touch with your customers, and to involve them with your product.

Why choose Slack?

“Slack is very easy to pick up and use. Most people are used to some form of online chat or comms and Slack is familiar in short order and easy to work your way around” — Damien T

The Best Customer Engagement Software Tools for Your SaaS

There are plenty of great tools out there. The ones we’ve covered in this list will all help you to improve your relationship with your users. However, user engagement looks different for every Saas, so choosing the right tool for your product may depend on some research but also trying them out for fit!

If you’re looking for an all-in-one customer engagement platform to drive in-app engagement and product adoption as well as tracking user behavior and collecting feedback, get a Userpilot demo and see how easy it is to get started.

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Joe is a UX and content writer, with several years of experience working with SaaS startups. He's been working with SaaS startups that are focused towards product management and customer success for the past couple of years.