Intuit is a well-known, US based, financial software company, that provides financial, accounting, and tax preparation software for small businesses, accountants and individuals. Their most notable products include the Quicken, TurboTax and Quickbooks (Intuit, 2017). The company has been existent for 35 years and Intuit has been known to pay great attention and focus on the needs of their customers. When the company first started, employees were encouraged to observe their customers in the so called “usability- labs”. The employees were encouraged to try to come up with real-time solutions for the problems the customers encountered. In addition, they also implemented the “Follow me Homes” project, where they would not only observe their customers at work but also at their homes. Further gathering of customer insights were also gathered from their annual big survey (Lester, 2016).
Based on their above-mentioned initiatives, Intuit was becoming quite successful and known as a software company with their own unique approaches. However, this approach did not come without its problems, after a few years the focus started to shift in another (unintended) direction. This approach lead to the company constantly focusing on solving the problems of their customers instead of focusing on determining their customer needs. Intuit was “fixing” instead of learning and innovating (Power & Stanton, 2015).
The New Business Model
Intuit was certain that it had to change their focus, to what is was supposed to be. The new focus would be on the customer-centricity that characterized their entrepreneurial past. Therefore, Intuit launched a new initiative called the “Design for Delight” which was meant to fulfill their vision of meeting its customer requirements. This initiative was based on three core principles as outlined by Power and Stanton (2015);
- Deep Customer Empathy – Immerse yourself with customers to know them better than they know themselves. To understand what really matters to customers, you should watch them, talk with them, and put yourself in their shoes.
- Go Broad to Go Narrow – Create options before making choices. There are lots of possible answers, so to get one great idea, you need to create lots. The first idea is rarely the best.
- Rapid Experiments with Customers – Get customer feedback early and often to understand the pros and cons of options. Watching customers react to prototypes through trial and error is better than relying on our own opinions.
Due to the new initiative, Intuit was able to become a frontier in the market of tax and financial software, the majority of the American consumers uses software made by Intuit for their tax return (Aquino, 2016). As the customer shopping behavior and experiences have changed in the past decade(s), to one in which they expect their needs to be be fulfilled as fast as possible, Intuit was also impacted since these same expectations were also for financial services. Fortunately, Intuit has been able to adapt to these changes by providing the customers with instant and easy services. Their “Design for Delight” initiative provides the business with constant customers’ feedback which ensures the company of staying up to date with the needs of their customers.
Therefore, looking at the efficiency criteria, they were also able to tackle the several challenges that come a long with a business like Intuit. As the taxes and accounting business is associated with the law and reporting rules that tend to change annually, Intuit needed to stay nimble. Moreover, Their customers demanded faster and simpler tools to help them prepare their financial and tax reports, therefore Intuit needed a constant stream of effective and relevant new products. Lastly, their traditional research process took a lot of time, making it unable for Intuit to be responsive, because the moment they finally gathered all the data, it was no longer actionable by the time it was received.
With the new community that was build, Intuit got access to insights from their users, as these led to rapid and sophisticated findings, which resulted in more appropriate product development. So the overall market research spend was dropped while the number of projects increased. Moreover, the company also got the ability to translate the feedback and requests of its customers into tangible product changes, in a quick and easy way, creating a revolutionary form of dialogue between its customers.
R. Lester (2016) “4 Succesful Businesses Following A Customer-Centric Model”, available at: https://blog.bold360.com/customer-experience-insights/4-successful-businesses-following-customer-centric-model/.
B. Power, S. Stanton (2015) “How IBM, Intuit, and Rich Products Became More Customer-Centric”, available at: https://hbr.org/2015/06/how-ibm-intuit-and-rich-products-became-more-customer-centric.
“Company”. https://www.intuit.com/company/. (Accessed on 18 February 2018).
https://www.visioncritical.com/customer-stories/intuit/ (Accessed on 18 February 2018).
Aquino (2016) “How Intuit uses Customer Insights to ‘Design for Delight’ “, available at: http://www.1to1media.com/personalization/how-intuit-uses-customer-insights-design-delight