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The Tools Early-Stage Startups Actually Need to Understand Their Customers

After 18 months of struggling to get traction with two product ideas,Segment started its turnaround. What followed was a two-year stretch of growth from four to 60 people, thousands of new customers and $44 million over several rounds of financing. What was the trigger for such a significant inflection point? In the lead up to the sea change, Co-founder and CEO Peter Reinhardt and the team at Segment started to heavily lean into qualitative feedback tools like live chat widget Olark. It was embedded on each page and everyone from the newest hire to the co-founders were constantly learning from everyone using their product.

It’s hard to pin all this momentum on tools, but knowing how to leverage them is at the core of Segment’s business. The startup makes it easy to collect customer data and send it to any tool for any purpose, from analytics to marketing automation. That’s why Reinhardt has become intimately familiar with every tool that he can find that enhances customer data, personally test-driving about a tool per week for the last three years. Segment has integrated hundreds of tools to help over 6,000 customers, including Product HuntAtlassian and Instacart, build and refine their toolkit.

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