Innovation Driven by Customer
By Rohit Gajjela, Director, Head of Customer Service, Intuit
In today’s world, customers want answers at their fingertips and they prefer not to call for help. Increasing efficiency for both the customer and the call center, while, delivering high customer satisfaction is the holy grail of customer care organizations. In a perfect world, our products are perfect and no one ever needs help. But back in the real world, things go wrong.
At Intuit, our secret sauce to customer delight is a combination of processes we call Design for Delight and Customer Driven Innovation. We start by observing customer behavior to determine where the greatest needs lie. Using these observations in conjunction with data, we set to work finding great ways to solve for those needs, and then test the solutions as quickly as possible. When done really well, these solutions help deliver on business outcomes.
Let’s look at two examples where we leveraged this model to solve customer problems.
Alexa, I Need Help
Emerging technology is opening new avenues up for customer care. With the growing popularity of Amazon Alexa, we saw an opportunity to provide our customers a way to quickly and conveniently get important information.
Imagine if you could simply ask for the news that matters to you while you fix your morning coffee? Our customers are saturated with more information than they need. There’s too much to sort through to get to what they really care about – trade newsletters, emails, industry white papers, IRS bulletins and more. During tax season, time is short and the to-do list long.
Thanks to Alexa, that’s now a reality. We launched the first daily briefing to keep our professional tax customers informed of product and industry-related topics, allowing the customer to integrate this information into their routines seamlessly. To build the best product for their needs, we sent 30 Amazon Dots to select customers to collect feedback.
Start by observing customer behavior to determine where the greatest needs lie
From this, we learned what topics they cared most about and how to offer the greatest convenience and efficiency based on their workflows.
Some things we heard from customers:
“It's a relief to get information in a verbal or oral format. I like that it highlights the big point, then I can decide if I need to search out more information and can make a decision as to whether or not I want to dive deeper.”
“Security is the most helpful topic--news and potential scams the IRS is warning about, changes in protocol, etc.”
“I can listen to the Dot and read my emails at the same time and process both—I can basically do two things at once.”
While our initial test covered limited topics and only one of our professional tax products, based on positive customer feedback, we have now expanded our daily briefings across all three of our products.
Point of Need Guidance
In tax year 2014, we observed that more than half the customers who called customer care for assistance needed help with how to enter common tax scenarios.
We saw that customers were in the right input areas, they just couldn’t figure out where to input the data to get the results that they needed. We also saw that they called customer care before expending the effort to find it themselves. For the customer, this equals extra time spent outside of their normal workflow. This means more time on the phone and less with clients.
To solve this, the product development teams and the customer care teams collaborated to create point of need guidance (or PoNG) in the product. PoNG is a series of targeted self-help links that are strategically placed within the input screens in the customers’ “Critical Work Zone” – the area of the screen where they are currently looking when they need the answer. After testing the accuracy and placement of the links, we launched the program in tax year 2015. By keeping the links dynamic, we were able to easily monitor and refresh as needed throughout the year.
And it worked. Point of need guidance had customers clicking help links more than 737,000 times and, compared to prior years, prevented the need to call customer care 175,000 times. That’s more time doing work for clients, and less time on the phone.
More to Come
Delighting our customers through continuous innovation is something we take great pride in. While these are only two examples, we have many more ideas we plan to test and implement.
Customer-backed thinking is the key to innovation. And there is no one in an organization closer to the customer than customer care. We interact with customers all day, every day and have great insights into where their pain points are. By helping solve for those pain points, we help customers achieve success.