Intuit’s Brad Smith Shares Customer Experience Insights

I’m speaking tomorrow at the Net Promoter Conference in San Francisco. After my flight today, I was able to catch a couple of sessions. One of those was a speech by Brad Smith, Intuit’s CEO.

(For some more background, read my post: Net Promoter And Satisfaction Battle For King Of The Ring).

Intuit has been one of the most active users of the Net Promoter methodology (focusing on customers’ answer to a single question: Would you recommend Intuit to a friend?). It started when Intuit’s founder Scott Cook championed the deployment of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) across Intuit in 2003. I’ve had several meeting with Cook since then and can attest to his strong commitment to NPS. One of Smith’s initial statements was very telling:

Net Promoter is core to the company… it’s part of who I am as a leader.

Smith also said that 81% of sales are directly attributable to word of mouth. He then went through three lessons that Intuit has learned on it’s Net Promoter journey. Here are a few of his interesting comments on those lessons:

1) Leaders Must Chart The Course

  • He discussed “True North” as the direction towards customer experience that everyone in the company shares
  • One of the firm’s goals is to have an NPS at least 10 points more than the nearest alternative
  • They use customer feedback to rapidly change the Turbo Tax product; they changed more than 90% of the code during the tax season.

2) Delighting Customers Makes Employees Hearts Beat Faster

  • He said that employees need hear customer feedback; whether they’re complaints or applause. Without it, he said, was like giving a show day after day in an empty theater.
  • To empower employees to unleash ideas, 10% of employees time is “unstructured” and meant for finding ways to improve customer experience. They’ve created an online “Brainstorm” tool to facilitate idea sharing across the company. 

3) Innovation Fuels Customer Delight

  • He suggests that you need to question long-held beliefs; and gave several examples of ideas from Gen Y employees. One of those ideas was to put the live support community inside of Turbo Tax. It turns out that 40% of the questions customers had were being answered by other customers.
  • The company created Intuit Labs to facilitate innovation.
  • One great example was a problem with Intuit’s IVR (the menu of options customers hear when they call). Customers were getting incorrectly routed 40% of the time. Since it took 10 days to reprogram the IVR, they couldn’t try a lot of things in the normal way. So one engineer said let’s do this the old fashioned way; and they did. People answered the phone and spoke the menus. By trial and error, they found a menu structure that worked before reprograming the IVR.

The bottom line: Would you recommend this blog to your friends and colleagues? 🙂

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

4 thoughts on “Intuit’s Brad Smith Shares Customer Experience Insights”

  1. I work in the Innovation Lab (iLab) at Intuit. We built Intuit Labs so users would have a way to check out the cool stuff teams at Intuit are working on and share their feedback and ideas directly with the developers. We really want to know what you think!

  2. The apps on Intuit Labs come from teams across the company, not just the iLab, although we have some of our own work on the site as well. My current favorites are Expense Control and Cash Register Plus.

    Expense Control was built by one engineer using his unstructured time to develop a windows mobile app to help consumers and small businesses track their expenses. We’re getting great engagement and feedback from users which is the whole point of Intuit Labs

    Cash Register Plus is cool because it turns a regular PC into a cash register with extra functionality you’d find on more expensive POS systems with no additional hardware and it’s FREE software.

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