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How to use customer segmentation to improve CX and create delight
The first step to creating an easy and enjoyable experience for your customers is understanding their profiles, preferences, and pain points. But at scale, getting to know who your customers are and what makes them tick is easier said than done.
By dividing your customers into groups with similar attributes—from household income to an interest in rock climbing—you find ways to address each segment’s needs and ensure they feel understood. Segmentation improves the customer experience (CX), creating happy customers that stick around.
Last updated17 Aug 2023
Reading time5 min
This guide gives you a simple four-step framework to segment your users and develop a satisfying CX. Learn how to spot and solve issues with your website or product, replacing friction and frustration with customer loyalty and delight.
Segmentation helps you create an effortless CX for your customers. Follow this four-step customer segmentation strategy to empower them to purchase from your site and get value from your product:
Identify relevant customer segments: look at your buyer personas and customer journey map, and decide how to divide your audience base
Gather customer experience data: collect data from multiple sources, including interviews, analytics, heatmaps, recordings, and surveys
Analyze your data: look at quantitative data (the what) and qualitative data (the why) to get a full understanding of each customer group
Personalize and improve experiences by segment: optimize your user experience (UX) design, marketing campaigns, and customer support based on each segment’s needs
4 steps to create a smooth, personalized experience through segmentation
At its core, segmentation is about finding similarities or patterns in who your customers are, what they want, and how they behave. This simple act of sorting creates benefits for your company—like increased empathy, retention, and loyalty—and, more importantly, for your customers.
Your products or services alone provide value to your users. But in a crowded marketplace, your CX, the sum of all the interactions a customer has with you over time, is what sets you apart.
Segmentation lets you create personalized moments that better match customer needs, turning them into enthusiastic and loyal fans. Let’s look at four steps to improve your CX through segmentation.
1. Identify relevant customer segments
Start by looking at what kind of groupings make sense for your industry, company, or team.
Customer characteristics relevant to another company may have no bearing on your goals. For example, a marketer at an ecommerce beauty company might segment by skin type, an attribute that’s irrelevant for a marketer at a software-as-a-service company.
So, how do you decide where to start with segmentation? Think about who uses your product or service—and where, when, why, and how.
As a starting point, pull up any existing user personas (profiles of your target audience) and your customer journey map (a visual representation of a customer’s touchpoints with your brand).
Once you’re clear on your target customers, note any commonalities or differences between personas. For example, you might create groups or segments based on
Demographics: age, earnings, education level, job title, marital status
Firmographics: industry, company size
Geographics: country, population
Psychographics: psychological traits like goals, interests, or values
Technographics: iOS or Android phone, preferred browser
Behavioral data: date of last visit, rage clicks indicating frustration
Segmenting your customers is easy when you adopt a tool like Segment, a customer data platform (CDP), or HubSpot, a client relationship management (CRM) platform. Both have user segmentation features (and integrate with Hotjar 👋).
💡 Pro tip: find out who your customers are and what they care about by asking them with a survey!
Save time with Hotjar’s user profile survey template—whether you’re starting from scratch with new user personas or just want to update existing ones.
The template comes with questions like:
Are you using our product/service for personal or business use?
What’s your industry and role?
What use cases do you have for our product?
Ask these questions as-is, customize them, or add your own. To save even more time, use Hotjar’s AI technology, our free-on-all-plans research assistant, to create a survey for you.
For example, you could ask AI to generate a survey to 'identify customer segments for [your business type or industry]’. It creates questions for you, ensuring you get the actionable insights you need.
Use Hotjar AI to generate survey questions specific to your project
2. Gather customer experience data
Once you’ve decided which segments to target, get to know exactly who the different customers in those segments are.
Say you’re a product manager, and you want to split your customers into free-version users and paid subscribers, who have very different needs. Now it’s time to dig deeper into those customers’ barriers, goals, interests, and issues.
Collect data from a wide range of sources, including
Customer interviews for in-depth insights and the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. (Tip: easily source interview participants from a pool of more than 200,000 people with Hotjar Engage.)
Analytics for segment-specific metrics like retention, churn, renewal, and customer lifetime value (CLV), the amount they spend with your company over time
Heatmaps to visualize aggregate data like users’ mouse clicks, moves, and scrolls
Recordings to watch how individual users interact with your site
💡 Pro tip: send Hotjar recordings and survey responses to your HubSpot contact timeline automatically with the Hotjar 🤝 HubSpot integration.
Say you want to see how high-value customers interact with and experience your site. In HubSpot, you could set a filter for ‘total revenue more than $5k’ and another for ‘rage clicks’, multiple clicks in a row that signal frustration or confusion on your site.
When rage clicks happen during a high-value customer’s session on your website, the integration automatically triggers an event. Your team members receive an alert that they should follow up with the customer and see how they can help. (How’s that for a better customer experience? 🤩)
With the Hotjar-HubSpot integration, relevant Hotjar recordings automatically populate your HubSpot contact timeline
3. Analyze your data
Once you’ve collected your data, it’s time to interpret your quantitative and qualitative results. Quantitative data is numerical (think metrics and heatmaps); qualitative is opinion or text-based (think long-answer survey and interview responses).
Data analysis isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Some teams may start their process with qualitative data, while others may prefer to review quantitative first. If the latter’s more your style, analyzing your funnels is a good place to start.
Try this approach to funnel analysis that moves from quantitative to qualitative:
Take in the big-picture overview in Hotjar Funnels so you can spot issues like drops in conversion fast—these often coincide with a dip in satisfaction
Apply filters in Funnels to see how users in different segments move toward conversion
Click on a data point to jump into relevant recordings and see the story behind the numbers
As you analyze, keep your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points top of mind. By staying customer-centric, you increase your sense of empathy and figure out how to problem-solve for your customers, who just might thank you with their loyalty.
💡 Pro tip: filter your data by Hotjar User Attributes to get segment-specific insights. Once you create your segments, you can filter your Hotjar recordings, heatmaps, and feedback to get insights into those groups (on Plus or higher plans).
For example, you could
View recordings of users who created an account in the last 30 days
Look at feedback left by churned customers
Compare heatmap data of new and returning users to discover how each group interacts with your website or product
Bonus tip: if you have a go-to set of filters, store them for future use. It’s a huge time saver!
Use Hotjar to apply up to 100 user attribute filters to segment and analyze your data
4. Personalize and improve experiences by segment
Now that you have your segments and data, decide how you want to improve the way customers experience your brand, product, or service. Personalization lets you engage your customers and build relationships with them, helping your users get more value from your offerings.
Depending on your department and role, you might personalize through
Website or product UX design: use location-based personalization, like designing different landing page experiences based on the user’s country, or navigational personalization, like creating a ‘product recommendations for you’ carousel to reduce friction
Marketing emails and content: reward high-value customers with exciting promotions; establish rapport with new leads through a welcome sequence; create blog content that appeals to decision makers’ interests
Customer support channels: call your customers by name or meet them on the platforms they’ve demonstrated interest in
💡How eShopWorld leans on customer segmentation to create a better ecommerce experience
If global retail platform eShopWorld sees a drop in their conversions, they know something’s off with the user experience.
With this four-step process—using Hotjar’s behavior analytics tools—they create a smooth, personalized experience for each group in their customer base:
Check data from the feedback widget (like the red button on the right-hand side of this blog →) on their checkout page and look for issues
View analytics data to see which customer segments the issues affect
Filter recordings and heatmaps by segment (like the browser they use or the country they’re in) to determine why the current checkout flow isn’t working for them
Find a way to remove friction and make the experience better for users and customers in that segment
“Hotjar has been a valuable tool for our analysis, and the insights we’ve learned about shoppers have been highly beneficial,” says Noelle Smith, Conversion Analyst at eShopWorld. “I recommend it to anyone who cares about customer experience and values how their audience spends time on their site.”
eShopWorld reviews feedback left on their site to find UX issues. Then, they turn to analytics data to discover which customer segments are affected.
Create experiences that delight
Once you’ve segmented your customers, continue to monitor, iterate, and improve your segmentation strategy and personalization approach.
Your customers and segments evolve as your company does. By working toward continuous improvement, you create an incredible customer experience that satisfies and delights.
FAQs about how segmentation improves the customer experience
How to improve your online reputation to acquire more users and customers
A good online reputation inspires your users to share positive reviews that make your business more trustworthy in the eyes of potential customers, and, in turn, increases sales.
But it takes more than a good product to build and maintain an effective online presence. You have to actively listen to customers to understand how they feel and make changes to improve the user experience (UX).
How to improve UX to ramp up your website conversions
When you want to improve your conversions, the secret is simple: focus on the user experience. You’ll hit your goals when you solve real problems for users and deliver a helpful, enjoyable, and friction-free website experience.
How to use rage click maps to reduce friction and increase conversions
Users don’t always tell you when they experience frustration on your website or product, but they often show you. With repeated mouse clicks, they signal that they’re trying (unsuccessfully) to take action.
Rage click maps let you visualize problem spots that irritate your visitors, helping you find simple solutions to improve your user experience (UX) and conversion rates.