Intuit Accounts for Positive Experiences via Customer Feedback

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Gathering and acting upon an extensive array of customer input has helped Intuit drive higher satisfaction and renewal rates.
Gold: Customer Experience

Business Boost: From 2009 through 2012, transactional NPS has increased 18 points for service and support.

Intuit has some pretty audacious goals for wowing its customers. The maker of financial software has set a goal for each of its flagship offerings to achieve a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that is at least 10 points higher than each of its competitors. Impressively, more than 70 percent of these products reach that goal.

Customer experience has strong business ramifications for both Intuit and customers of its Accounting Professional's Division (APD). For accountants and tax preparers, time is money. Time that's wasted navigating a poorly designed system or holding for support can translate into hundreds of dollars of un-billable time or lost business opportunities. The customer experience strategy for Intuit's APD group is set up to enable the organization to design product offerings and experiences that deliver time savings and crackerjack execution while retaining a customer-focused mindset. The group's customer experience program focuses on continuously elevating NPS and customer retention as its primary business goals.

APD's ability to deliver great customer experiences doesn't just happen by chance. Although APD product managers are the end-to-end custodians of the customer experience, the Customer Experience and Business Excellence (CEBE) team for APD supports products managers and functional groups by providing market insights and to help them gauge and understand the state of customer experience and identify areas for improvement. CEBE has developed a methodical approach to gathering, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback to improve the customer experience. The group has developed a three-pronged approach for delivering exceptional customer experiences: 1. providing accountability during the product design, 2. creating a structured approach for driving excellence, and 3. fostering a high-performance culture that's passionate about serving the customer.

In the first approach, Intuit has created a design for delight (D4D) group that uses a set of tools and processes to support customer experience design. Intuit has more than 200 employees with D4D expertise, known as "innovation catalysts," who are also available for coaching and consultation during product design initiatives.

The second prong that supports APD's ongoing commitment to customer experience is a structured approach the group has developed to drive execution for excellence. Components that help drive successful execution include the use of an effective process management methodology, continuous improvement efforts, and a closed-loop system for gathering, acting on, and communicating back to customers how their input has been used to improve the customer experience.

Third, in order to ensure that it is delighting customers, Intuit's APD group gathers and acts on customer feedback in a variety of ways. In addition to conducting regular surveys of the accounting professionals who leverage its software using Medallia's customer feedback and reporting platform, APD also hosts a number of forums throughout the year to obtain customer feedback. These include an accountant council, a group of 12 to 15 accounting and tax practitioners who are invited to one of Intuit's campuses twice per year to learn about and provide feedback on APD's strategy, roadmap, and products. Intuit also administers a panel of about 10,000 accountants and tax professionals who share their input through in-depth interviews and topical surveys.

The company's online suggestion box is also a valuable mechanism for gathering customer insight. "We get feedback from all the different channels, we review the customer voice weekly, and we identify areas where we need to make improvements and then teams take action on making those improvements," says Alice Chu, a former senior customer experience business partner at Intuit.

Unifying the feedback loop

To close the loop with the online suggestion box, the CEBE team may share with customers how a particular suggestion was acted upon. One way the company does this is through its marketing communications. After customers receive their contract renewal notices, they can, and often do, suggest product or customer experience improvements in their renewal forms.

Customer comments from promoters, neutrals, and detractors are also distributed through a weekly Listen2Me document that Intuit product managers and others are able to share. Chu points to a customer of Intuit's tax services who had complained about the amount of time it took to connect with a customer service agent. Working off this feedback, the company took action to reduce the customer wait time for an agent. The percentage of customer comments regarding wait times has continued to shrink since implementing this process, Chu says.

Through its efforts to listen to the voice of its customers and respond to their comments and requests, APD has been able to generate strong business benefits. From 2009 through 2012, transactional NPS has increased 18 points for service and support. Meanwhile, renewal rates for most customer segments continue to grow. In addition, under Intuit's closed-loop feedback process, detractors who were called and spoke with an APD employee have 9 to 10 percent higher renewal rates than detractors who weren't contacted.

Looking ahead, Intuit continues to explore ways to gather and act on customer feedback in real time without making the process onerous for its customers. "We're sensitive to survey burnout, so we're actively looking for ways to readily glean customer feedback where we might be able to use technologies from a conversational standpoint that can draw on a conversation in real time" without the need to conduct a survey, says Tim Rollins, APD customer experience leader.

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