(Please note: This blog is an excerpted version of our guide. Get the full guide, “Make Customer Insights Actionable with Product Usage Data” here.)
Product usage data tracks what your customers do with your product, when, and for how long. It contains important insights for post-sales processes, like rapid account provisioning at scale, just-in-time customer messaging, and product usage patterns to gauge customer engagement.
That is...if you can get to it.
Most businesses’ customer data is siloed, “dark,” or otherwise inaccessible. Do you have clear, unfettered access to all your product usage and user behavior data today, in a format you can immediately use to inform what you do every quarter?
Marketers - Are you sending the right messaging to the right leads at the right time?
Product managers - Do you understand exactly what your customers are doing with your products and which new features must be prioritized?
Sales professionals - Do you know which happy customers are ready to be upsold, and when?
Support professionals - Do you know which unhappy customers are about to churn, and when?
Unfortunately, the answer is probably “no.” Here’s why.
Consider how much data is already being produced by businesses worldwide. Studies suggest that global data produced doubles every 1.2 to 2 years, with some estimates going as high as an increase of 4,300% by 2020. Obviously, not all data is valuable, but research firm IDC estimates that “high-value data worth analyzing to achieve actionable intelligence will double.”
More data might not be a problem if it were usable. Yet a recent survey found that 57% of data professionals need days, if not weeks, to access important data. Another survey polling hundreds of global business executives reports that 51% of companies feel their data is too scattered or siloed - locked up in dozens of different applications in their technology stack. Yet 55% of companies believe that disruptive innovation will come from actionable customer insights.
To access the hidden value of actionable customer insights locked away in your product usage data, you need the following components:
You’ve already got the tech stack you use today. You may even have, or be looking at, a data warehouse. The final piece of the puzzle flowing data freely through all your applications to centralize and take action on it. This means you’d still need an ETL solution and an integration solution to connect your data warehouse with your stack.
Until recently, each of these important business needs would have been handled by two separate solutions, each exclusively the domain of developers. But now, there’s a better way.
A General Automation Platform (GAP) seamlessly connects your tech stack components to your data warehouse, and can also handle ETL. It also adds an automation layer to enable users to automatically act on crucial business data. (Learn more about GAPs in “The Beginner’s Guide to General Automation Platforms.”)
GAPs perform these important functions by:
We'll wrap up with quick overviews of some of the specific, actionable use cases for product usage data you can build with a General Automation Platform, below.
Learn how to build these use cases, with full diagrams and walk-throughs, in the full guide.
Automated account provisioning at scale is an increasingly crucial use case, particularly for direct-to-consumer businesses that seek to not only add new customers to their customer pool, but also to then continuously re-engage those customers for repeat business.
Using a General Automation Platform, you can integrate your payment processing solution, CRM, data warehouse, and even marketing platforms to create a fully automated account provisioning process:
An important concern for both direct-to-customer and for B2B firms is appropriate messaging at every stage of the customer journey. By utilizing product usage data, companies can rapidly identify customers by stage and usage patterns.
With the help of a General Automation Platform, you can integrate applications such as your CRM, customer data platform, lead enrichment, data warehouse, and marketing platform to rapidly deploy messaging appropriate to customers at any stage in their journey:
Losing customers to churn not only means losing recurring revenue, but also a higher burden from ongoing customer acquisition cost as your company must replace churned customers. Conversely, having happy customers means a larger market for upselling (upgrading customers to higher-priced tiers), expansion (growing billable customer usage), and reactivation (renewing existing customers). Research suggests that upselling is 2x cheaper, and retaining customers is 7x cheaper, than acquiring new customers.
A General Automation Platform can manage all these processes by connecting data warehouse and user analytics to determine whether engagement patterns are normal, then running a series of follow-up automated processes incorporating helpdesk, CRM, project management, internal chat alerts, and marketing automation to trigger the appropriate follow-up.
You should now have a clearer picture of what product usage data is, and what it can do for you. Utilizing product usage data gives you full visibility into your customers’ usage patterns across the entire customer journey, from onboarding to ongoing customer health, and gives you a powerful advantage to fight churn and retain and expand your most important customer accounts.
Get complete diagrams and step-by-step walk-throughs of each use case in the full guide, “Make Customer Insights Actionable with Product Usage Data” here.