Intuit Learns Why Customers Do What They Do

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The best way for Intuit to understand the root causes of customer behavior online was to ask.

Many companies that have perfected the process of analyzing data about customer's behavior still fall short when it comes to determining the root causes for the choices customers make and the actions they take.

Such was the case at Intuit. The provider of QuickBooks, Quicken, and TurboTax, has used a Web analytics solution for a few years. Although the system produces volumes of behavioral data, it doesn't offer insight into why people are doing what they do on the website. "With Web analytics, you don't get the answers to real questions where you need to know the 'why,'" says Lance Jones, manager of the user experience team at Intuit Global.

Intuit manages 20 websites; the content of each needs to be continuously improved and optimized. According to Jones, doing so effectively meant that Intuit needed to know why some customers were coming to the site and abandoning it before completing a purchase. "We wanted to understand who was coming to the site, why they were there, what they wanted to do, and if were they successful at what they wanted to do," he says.

Using Text Analysis from iperceptions, one in four visitors to the website are shown a gray overlay message that reads, "Would you mind helping us improve the experience on our website? When you're finished using the site, come back and answer a few questions for us." If the person agrees, the survey itself doesn't appear until after the person checks out.

The survey features 15 questions ranging from, "How did you hear about us" to "Did you accomplish your goals?" Intuit has discovered that the majority of customers are coming to fulfill an expectation, research a product, or to seek support for an existing product. "We're talking about a lot of traffic to the site," Jones says. "We need to know if we are delivering on their expectations and if we're not, we need to know what to fix." Jones says that acting on specific issues customers have cited is improving customer satisfaction.

Insight uncovered
Shortly after introducing the website surveys Intuit discovered one root cause for site abandonment. The problem was related to password retrieval. Visitors who needed to go through the process of retrieving their passwords landed on a page that didn't give them an easy way to get back to where they had been on the site. "It created a dead end for them" Jones says. "We read people's feedback related to checkout and saw these clues."

Another change involved redesigning the tabs on its product pages. Intuit learned that visitors didn't notice the tabs and as a result were not clicking on them. "We simply went back to the designers and asked if they could make the tabs more visible and obvious," Jones says. Afterward, Intuit saw interaction with tabs increase 30 percent.

Since deploying the online survey and making changes based on the feedback, Intuit has also improved conversion-a 15 percent increase on average. Additionally, the company has experienced a 10 to 15 percent increase in satisfaction rates, which Jones attributes to the ability to provide a more engaging experience to customers.

Collaborative approach
Intuit's success stems not only from analyzing the information, but also from sharing it. Jones says that many of the improvements come from creating reports about the feedback and sending product-related issues to the product managers and service-related issues to the customer service team. "It's important that a lot of groups can make use of that data."

Jones adds that Intuit will continue building out the survey to its India and Asia-Pac and expanding it in terms of linking the qualitative and behavioral data. "Right now they're separate. Qualitative is in one tool and behavioral is in another tool," he says.

He is also considering asking visitors while they're on the product page to offer suggestions on how to improve that page. "It would be great to prompt them when they're on those pages."

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