Article

What is customer segmentation software? + How to pick the right tool for your business

Start delivering better, more personalized customer relationships with the right customer segmentation software.

By Patrick Grieve

Published October 29, 2020
Last updated October 21, 2021

Seventy-six percent of customers surveyed in Zendesk's 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report expect personalized experiences. This might include engagement over their preferred contact method, account type or status, and product recommendations based on purchase and search history. Our report also found that consumers have grown increasingly comfortable with companies collecting their data—as long as those companies use it to improve their customer experience. Customers don’t want to be spammed, but they do seek and accept helpful and relevant communications.

The right customer segmentation software is key to delivering the kinds of personalized experiences customers want. Read on to learn what segmentation software is and how to choose the right one for your business and customers.

What is customer segmentation software?

Customer segmentation software helps businesses classify customer data by specific traits to learn more about the groups that make up their customer base. The more you understand your customers, the better you can serve them. From delivering more personalized customer service to creating more targeted marketing campaigns, segmentation software can be a powerful way to increase customer retention as well as draw in potential customers.

One example of segmentation software is a customer relationship platform (CRM), which connects all your customer data to make it easy to turn insights into action.

What are the types of customer segmentation?

There are countless ways to segment customers. Here are a few customer groups you might incorporate in your segmentation strategy:

  • By age
  • By location (geographic segmentation)
  • By occupation
  • By account type
  • By company size
  • By actions taken, such as the types of products they purchase, content then click on, or the cadence of their interactions with your website (behavioral segmentation)

Unless you’re prepared to keep a few thousand Post-it notes on hand at all times, you’ll need a sophisticated software solution for capturing and analyzing all that data.

What to look for in a segmentation tool

Selecting the right customer segmentation tools requires careful consideration of a few factors. Before committing to a solution, make sure you know what the platform is measuring and how easy it is to customize, visualize, and scale that data.

1. Start with powerful CRM software for capturing customer data

Before you can begin segmenting anything, you need to have all of your customer data gathered together in one place. According to Andrew Forbes, Zendesk’s Group Manager of Product Marketing, customer segmentation works only if you have a “master record” of all customer characteristics and interactions.

“This usually includes billing or subscription information, firmographic information, and other relationship-related metrics,” Andrew says.

Your company probably has all of that information on file, so to speak - but those files might not all be in the same filing cabinet.

Perhaps your customer’s average annual revenue is known only to your sales or billing department. Meanwhile, their history of support interactions is known only to your customer service team. Or, the emails they opened and discounts they used may be locked in a marketing automation tool. That sort of siloing makes it hard for your customer support agents and sales reps to fully understand the context of the customer they’re dealing with. And it makes it pretty much impossible to create customer segments for marketing or customer service analysis.

“We’re helping businesses solve this challenge with our CRM platform, which enables you to create a unified picture of who your customers are and how they engage with your business,” Andrew says.

Our CRM system has four key components that it tracks in order to provide comprehensive customer context:

  • Unified customer profiles: Bring together all of the data available about a customer, including info taken from third-party apps like LinkedIn.
  • Custom events: Automatically document every interaction a customer has with your brand, from mobile activity to virtual shopping carts.
  • Custom objects: Store and easily access all of the customer’s products and past orders.
  • Conversations: View customer conversations across every channel, from phone calls to live chat to social messaging.

No matter what CRM you use, it’s critical that your CRM document all customer details, conversations, interactions, and purchases. The more variables you track, the more ways you’ll be able to segment customers and the easier it will be to determine specific customer groups.

2. Integrate customer segmentation software to fully leverage your customer data

All of the customer data in the world won’t do you much good if you can’t dig deep into it. If a key performance indicator is shifting, you won’t really know why until you break down the numbers to see who’s driving it.

Make the most of the info in your CRM by integrating user segmentation software that has three key qualities: customizability, visibility, and scalability.

  • Customizability
  • When customer satisfaction lags, you know something is wrong. But what, exactly? Segmentation tools make it easier to carve into that KPI and pull out an answer.

    “When looking at tools and features, it’s all about customization,” Andrew says. “The ability to slice and dice your data in a variety of different ways being most critical.”

    If customer satisfaction is dropping, assess this metric across different segments. Are customers who own one product less satisfied than others? Are people calling customer support more frustrated than those interacting with answer bots? Do customers in specific age groups, subscription plans, or loyalty programs like your brand better than other brands?

    Find audience segmentation software that lets you play with the data to your heart’s content. With Zendesk's customer segmentation tool, you can monitor and analyze metrics, enabling you to fully leverage all the info in your CRM.

    Our CRM captures customer segments in custom organization fields. When you integrate it with Zendesk, you’re then able to segment KPIs like CSAT, first reply time, Net Promoter Score, and many others.

  • Visibility
  • It’s also important for the segmentation tool to provide a clear way to visualize all of the information. The more numbers you’re dealing with, the easier it is to get overwhelmed.

    “The truth is, looking at data in a spreadsheet is fine, but the data can often become stale or hard to read,” Andrew says. “When looking for a solution, look for tools that allow your business to build dynamic charts that update as data comes in.”

    Our customer segmentation tool features over 20 chart types and comes with a feature that recommends certain graphs based on the type of data you’re measuring. It also lets you incorporate those charts into pre-built or custom dashboards that you can use to keep tabs on specific customer segments and KPIs.

    These dashboards automatically update as new data comes in. And they can be quickly shared with colleagues so they have a better picture of what matters, too. You can even schedule reporting so that your coworkers get weekly updates on whatever segment you’re monitoring.

  • Scalability
  • You want customer segmentation software that’s simple to use but sophisticated enough to scale with your organization. Businesses need to grow, and your segmentation tool needs to keep up.

    The software solution you choose should start measuring table-stakes metrics the moment you start it up. But it should also give you the ability to do more niche reporting as your company expands and starts monitoring more distinctive segments.

    Zendesk has that one-size-fits-all design. Intuitive pre-built dashboards make it easy to start using the software right away. But you can also custom-build more complex dashboards to match your company’s ever-expanding needs.

    “When we built the product, we spent a lot of time to ensure we could help customers at all stages,” Andrew says. “That’s why we provide a range of functionality that caters to different companies and segments.”

    Zendesk is also built on a modern, well-supported infrastructure that gives businesses ample flexibility and speed.

    “Teams don’t need to spend hours shaping their data for reporting,” Andrew says. “We’ve already done that work, making it possible for businesses to start analyzing their data immediately.”

3. Customer segmentation tools that can keep up with your team

Your CRM and customer segmentation software should help you collect more data and analytics and wring more meaningful insights out of it. And it should give you more time to act on those revelations.

“With Zendesk, teams don’t need to spend hours shaping their data for reporting,” Andrew says. “We’ve already done that work for them, making it possible for businesses to start analyzing their data immediately.”

Start your free trial of Zendesk to see how quickly you can start measuring and improving the customer experience.

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Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020

Discover how top companies provide experiences that keep customers returning and the best practices that separate the leaders from everyone else.