This interview with Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Segment, provides a lot of information to help you select the tools to better understand your startup's customers, and the best way to use them.
Segment is a customer data platform that has integrated hundreds of different tools, and continues to test them every week.
So Reinhardt is of course interested in having you as a customer one day or another when he does this interview, but that doesn't take away the value of the information distilled in this very comprehensive text.
Reinhardt describes the different layers of tools available, and gives advice on the decisions they imply:
Should I use an existing tool or build my own?
When should you decide to integrate each type of tool?
What logic should be applied to switch between qualitative and quantitative tools?
How to calculate the real cost of the tools?
How to evaluate the success of their use?
There comes a point when you’ve got a sense for where there’s a leak in the funnel, such as when people are signing up, but aren’t activating. At this point, we’ve found that qualitative feedback is much more interesting and impactful than quantitative analysis, especially when you have a statistically insignificant number of customers. Consider live chat tools like Olark, Livechat and Intercom. I'm not sure how you would even get started building a web or mobile product without some sort of really high bandwidth communication mechanism to your customers.