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Happy Tax Season: 3 Ways Intuit Turns Customer Experience Into Business Impact


Which is worse: a) waiting on hold for two hours, or b) doing your taxes? Neither! It’s c) BOTH at the same time.
Sounds terrible, right? Well, it actually happens to some people. Let me explain.
Each tax season, accountants and tax professionals must begin the infamous “tax crunch,” which requires tireless, caffeine-powered hours until the last client’s return is submitted by the Day of Reckoning. I know this because my mom is an accountant. And each year she tells elaborate tales about the nail-biting performances required by her firm to meet those dramatic deadlines.
taxesYet surprisingly, the largest irritant for my mom during the bi-annual taxfest is not the labor-intensive work itself. Instead, it’s having to sit on hold on the phone for sometimes 1.5 to 2 hours at a time, waiting to connect with the support team of her accounting software (*Ahem* not Intuit). If an accountant needs help with difficult or unclear software functionality—say learning how to enter international estate information or complex tax codes for government officials—a phone call to support is often the only way to get that help. I never would’ve guessed that an accountant’s biggest frustration was not working, but waiting.
And for accountants, time is quite literally money. Time spent on hold with support can translate to hundreds of unbillable hours, directly impacting a firm’s productivity and bottom-line. For smaller tax firms, unbillable hours impact the company’s life-blood. We’re not just talking lost profits, we’re talking going out of business. 
Award after Award: What Intuit’s doing right.
Unlike this unnamed software company, Intuit’s Professional Tax Group (PTG)—the company’s B2B division that sells to accountants and firms like my mom’s—knows its customers inside and out. Through customer feedback, Intuit rigorously and proactively takes action to make accountants’ lives less stressful and their work more efficient. This enables tax firms to grow their business. The result? These folks continue to renew their licenses with Intuit. In fact, Intuit’s superior customer experience practices have earned the company recognition as an industry leader, winning Gartner’s CRM Excellence Award in 2013 and Temkin’s 2014 CEM Excellence Award.
Here are three trailblazing ways Intuit uses feedback to improve experiences and create business impact at the same time:
1) Proactive outreach for onboarding new customers
Intuit not only fields incoming support calls—they actually created an outbound team that proactively calls new customers. This practice was initiated through customer feedback: Intuit found that new customers—accountants that had been using the product for less than one year—renewed at a lower rate than customers who’d made it past the one-year mark. Digging deeper, the company confirmed that learning a new accounting software system could be a stressful experience, especially during the dreaded tax season.
The New Client Services team reaches out to new customers, teaches them key functionality, and points out possible service channels. The results of the program have been staggering: renewal rates for customers participating in onboarding are 49% higher than renewal rates for the customer population as a whole. Higher renewals equal more revenue—almost 50% more for 2nd year customer revenue!
2) Predictive NPS Modeling
Not satisfied with simply reacting to key feedback insights, Intuit conducts a series of sophisticated predictive NPS calculations and loyalty driver analytics to actually forecast its future NPS performance. They do this because they’ve seen that NPS directly impacts its bottom lines: Over a customer’s lifetime, promoters spend 2.5X more and renew 17% more than detractors. To keep more customers promoting, cross-functional teams review predictive NPS analytics together, size up the gap, scope the necessary scale of the projects needed to address the gap, and lead plans to improve NPS and meet desired NPS levels. Ensuring that NPS levels remain stable in this way means the company meets its quarterly revenue numbers.
3) Empower Employees to Drive CX innovation
To drive CX engagement and ownership across the organization, Intuit has instituted a cross-functional CX management program. The company has about 200 employees who are called Innovation Catalysts. They come from all roles within the company and have special customer expertise related to their particular functions, and are tasked with both representing the voice of the customer in team meetings as well as driving key customer innovations into the business. As custodians and promoters of customer-centricity, Innovation Catalysts proactively gather comprehensive customer understanding through processes like in-depth interviews and on-site observations to uncover inventive ways to make offerings and interactions productive, helpful, and delightful.
These proactive steps to manage and improve customer experience aren’t just winning awards for Intuit. They are winning the market—along with the hearts of customers and non-customers alike. Take my mom, for example. Want to know what the expression on her face was when I told her about Intuit? Go find your nearest tax professional and tell them about their approach. And step back. Or else their jaw might land on your shoes.