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7 customer insights tools businesses need to use in 2023

Just as Hansel and Gretel left behind a trail of breadcrumbs to help them find their way home, customers today leave behind precious insights for us to find on search engines, websites, and social media platforms. 

A customer’s digital footprint helps reveal the insights you need to improve your product experience (PX). But since getting useful customer insights involves collecting and analyzing a mix of qualitative and quantitative data—like shifts in customer behavior and market trends—it can be hard to know exactly which tools will give you the full picture.

Last updated

7 Oct 2022

This guide helps you understand what customer insights platforms are, with a list of the best tools and how you can use them—so you can dive deeper into understanding your customers and their buying behavior.

Want to go deeper into your customer insights?

Hotjar’s tools give context to your insights for a fuller understanding of your customers

The 7 best customer insights platforms to improve CX

Understanding and acting on customer insights help you improve how buyers think and feel about your product and customer experience (CX). Customer insights tools help you collect and analyze different types of data from different  sources, including:

Customer insight tools offer a reliable read on how customers feel about your business. These findings weigh heavily on internal decision making, as they shed light on the kinds of issues your customers are facing with your product—without the need for guesswork.”

Max Wesman
COO at GoodHire, Goodhire

Remember: each tool offers its own set of insights, and your business needs a unique blend of tools to understand your customers. Use our list to inspire your own customer insights strategy, collection process, and tech stack:

Google Trends helps you analyze popular search queries online by giving you a list of trending user searches and keywords across multiple languages and regions. It tells you what people are searching for and where, so you can better position your product as the best solution to user problems. 

Revealing trends in customer and purchasing behavior among different audiences, Google Trends helps you design content and campaigns targeting the interests and needs of your users.

Use data from Google Trends to: 

  • Spot event-triggered increases in keyword search volume to better predict customer needs and inventory requirements

  • Conduct comparative keyword analysis to see what’s trending with particular audiences —and tailor your product and messaging accordingly

  • Discover trending topics and build compelling content around them to attract traffic and build authority in high-interest topics

#Google Trends monitors the top user search queries across multiple regions for valuable customer insights. Source: Google Trends
Google Trends monitors the top user search queries across multiple regions for valuable customer insights. Source: Google Trends

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you rich customer insights by tracking and reporting website traffic. It monitors metrics like conversion rate and time on page to alert you to important shifts in customer behavior and engagement

By analyzing your website’s performance, including how users interact with your website, you can experiment with UX design, website copy, and CTAs that elevate the user experience (UX).  

How to gather and analyze data from Google Analytics to uncover valuable customer insights: 

  • Track customer engagement metrics, like average time on page, session duration, and scroll depth, to determine if your website engages your audience. For example, after noticing a low average session duration on your software-as-a-service (SaaS) website, analyze metrics like average time on page to understand which pages perform poorly—and take steps to improve them. 

  • Track referral traffic from outside sources to your website to better understand and map the customer journey, and find out what brought visitors to your site. Use these insights to streamline customer paths and touchpoints to conversion and understand if you need to optimize any channels like social media platforms. 

  • Segment website data by customer region, device, or behavior. View how many customers visited a specific page on your website—or purchased the same product—to determine whether you’re meeting user needs across different segments.

Pro tip: combine insights from Google Analytics and Hotjar for a deeper understanding of customer behavior. 

For example, if GA helps you discover a spike in customer churn after a product launch, watch Hotjar Recordings to understand why. You might find that users can’t onboard properly because they don’t know which icons to click on. Then, you can either add tooltips to show users what to do or redesign your icons to make them easier to spot and reduce customer churn. 

#Hotjar Recordings give context to standard web analytics metrics and user behavior.
Source: Hotjar

Hotjar Recordings give context to standard web analytics metrics and user behavior. Source: Hotjar

3. Hotjar

Hotjar (that's us👋) is a product experience (PX) insights platform that shows you how users experience your website or digital product—and tells you the 'why' behind their behavior. It gives you access to qualitative and quantitative data—like direct customer feedback (qualitative) and heatmaps (quantitative), which show user activity, like where customers click and how far down your site they scroll.

Hotjar lets you track how users interact with your product or site and asks them about their customer experience, so you can prioritize the right updates or features.

How to collect and analyze data from Hotjar and use it to get customer insights: 

  • Get a high-level view of user metrics with Hotjar's Dashboard to quickly spot any issues and analyze the impact of product changes. If you notice an interesting insight, like a high number of rage clicks on a landing page, you can go directly to the relevant heatmaps and recordings for deeper analysis. 

  • Save key insights with Highlights: extract the most relevant customer insights by highlighting behavior that stands out—for example, you might create a Hotjar Heatmap of an important landing page, where you discover low clicks on your main CTA. Create 'collections' of important customer insights grouped by product features or user issues, or create clips of user behavior to help filter out the noise. Support your insights with evidence of customer interactions and behavior—and drive user-backed design changes and updates. 

  • Collect user feedback with Feedback widgets and customer experience Surveys. Ask your customers to rate their experience using your product and provide a reason for their score, so you can take action to improve it. 

#Hotjar Surveys give you key customer insights about how users experience your product and why. 
Source: Hotjar
Hotjar Surveys give you key customer insights about how users experience your product and why. Source: Hotjar

4. Mixpanel 

Mixpanel is a product analytics tool that gives you insights into which features users value the most, who your power users are, and the journey customers take within your product. 

Mixpanel measures key user events and actions to help you predict product adoption among different user segments and optimize the customer journey. 

How Mixpanel helps you collect and analyze data to form valuable customer insights: 

  • Use interactive reports to learn about your customers, test your hypotheses, and see instant visualizations of your data. See who sticks around, how people use your product, and what's leading users to convert into paying customers. 

  • Spot important trends with engagement reporting and analysis. Look at patterns in product usage breadth, depth, and frequency to better understand the user actions that lead to product adoption (and those that don't). 

  • Segment customer journeys and experiences and find out the opportunity cost when a customer takes a separate route. Then, use this information to optimize the user experience and limit the number of steps it takes a new visitor to find value in your product.

#Mixpanel's dashboard showcases customer insights into product usage and user activity. 
Source: Mixpanel
Mixpanel's dashboard showcases customer insights into product usage and user activity. Source: Mixpanel

Pro tip: use Zapier to send information automatically between Hotjar and Mixpanel. When a user submits a Hotjar feedback response from your site, the Zapier integration automatically creates or updates a user profile in Mixpanel. You can also find out more about this particular user’s experience and what led them to send you feedback by watching their Session Recording.

5. Zendesk

Zendesk is a customer service platform that makes it easy to communicate with your customers over social messaging apps, email, chat, etc. It organizes all your interactions with customers into a single source of truth. 

Zendesk also collects and groups customer service interactions into relevant customer profiles, so you can track patterns in customer requests and product complaints to prioritize requests based on ticket volume and update your product backlog to better meet customer needs.

How data from Zendesk helps you gather customer insights: 

  • Communicate with customers on their preferred channels and provide self-service resources to educate them on how to use your product. Use their feedback to detect any bumps or frustrations in the customer journey, so you know what to improve. 

  • Categorize customer service requests based on product, issue, or user type for granular insights into the customer experience. Then, use qualitative data analysis tools like Cauliflower or NVivo to make sense of your customer service data. 

  • Combine customer service insights with your CRM for a unified view of your customers. Then, use your insights to better predict user needs and personalize their customer journey.

#Zendesk's dashboard reveals crucial customer insights like customer satisfaction scores and support ticket rates.
Source: Zendesk
Zendesk's dashboard reveals crucial customer insights like customer satisfaction scores and support ticket rates. Source: Zendesk

6. Sprout Social 

Sprout Social keeps all your social media campaigns and interactions in one place and lets you monitor brand mentions in real time—so you never miss a mention, tweet, comment, or like. This gives you insight into social media product trends, as well as customer sentiment about your product or brand. 

Staying on top of time-sensitive social media trends helps you create a more personalized experience for your customers. For example, you can build trust among your users with the support of a micro-influencer or offer up-to-date information on trending topics.

How to gather customer insights using Sprout Social: 

  • Track and respond to messages and comments across channels with 'Smart Inbox' and get an overview of your incoming insights. See what's trending with your followers, how your product stacks up against competitors, and how to better address customer needs. 

  • Convert comments into tasks so customer insights don’t get lost. See what you’ve already responded to and what can be delegated to other departments. For example, after receiving a comment about a buggy product feature, your developers can act quickly to fix the bug without waiting for instructions from another team.   

  • Track social media engagement with data analytics. See what causes spikes or drops in engagement across channels and remove any roadblocks. Use your engagement metrics to inform your insights. 

  • Tap into conversations with social listening. Uncover business-critical insights to help you identify and fill industry gaps, and improve the health of your product. 

  • Employ social media sentiment analysis to find out the context behind user comments on social media. Use it to understand how people feel about your customer experience, and better frame your insights. 

#Sprout Social's 'Listening' dashboard gives you customer insights into potential topic impressions, total engagements, and average engagements per message. 
Source: Sprout Social
Sprout Social's 'Listening' dashboard gives you customer insights into potential topic impressions, total engagements, and average engagements per message. Source: Sprout Social

7. Kissmetrics  

Kissmetrics gives you important insights by linking customer journey data to a real person. It tells you how customers engage with your product, who your biggest spenders are, and which features drive conversions. 

Seeing a user’s full customer journey across devices and tracking their characteristics help you determine which features are most valuable to your customers—and which of those customers are most valuable to your business. 

How Kissmetrics helps you monitor data and gather customer insights: 

  • Identify dedicated customers who need more attention with the 'People Search Report' feature. Then, send targeted messages to re-engage inactive customers and get them back in your pipeline.

  • Use A/B test reports to monitor customer responses to different page layouts, color schemes, or elements. Use these insights to optimize your pages and create a brilliant user interface and experience your customers love.

  • Discover drop-off points and disruptions to the user flow within your website or product. Compare website conversions to product conversions to determine what you could do differently to retain customers and reduce churn. 

  • Measure monthly recurring revenue and customer lifetime value by customer type or persona, so you know which customers and characteristics drive the most profit, and which you need to target. For example, after noticing a specific customer type is more likely to abandon their cart at checkout, you can take steps to engage that customer persona during the checkout process with personalized product recommendations.

#Kissmetrics Revenue Overview gives you detailed customer insights into your highest paying customer types.
Source: Kissmetrics
Kissmetrics Revenue Overview gives you detailed customer insights into your highest paying customer types. Source: Kissmetrics

Combine customer insights platforms for stellar insights 

The right customer insights platform helps you create a better product and customer experience shaped by your customer’s pain points, feelings, and drivers.

When choosing a customer insights platform, home in on data that'll help you reach your specific business and user goals. For example, if you’re running a SaaS product that requires a lot of support for new users, it might be more beneficial to use tools that collect and analyze customer service data rather than social media mentions. 

Use a combination of different customer insights tools, so you can draw on insights from a wide range of data sources to get a deeper understanding of your customers and how to meet their specific needs.

Want to go deeper into your customer insights?

Hotjar’s tools give context to your insights for a fuller understanding of your customers

FAQs about customer insights platforms