Jennifer Jones, host of PodTech's outstanding "Marketing Voices" series, just posted a terrific podcast with Scott K. Wilder of Intuit. Wilder, friend and fellow board member on the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), heads Intuit's Quickbooks online community program,
which over the past year or so has grown by leaps and bounds. Scott and
I were talking the other night and he noted that Intuit communities
have tens of thousands of members, and that this conversational platform acts as a de
factor customer support center. Indeed, he noted, nearly 75% of all
questions posted to the Quickbooks communities are answered by other
community members. Some topics, like payroll, are more robust than others. Community members can set up profiles,
and they even access to
map locators, so you can find local resources, not unlike how social
network sites work.
“Our goal is to build an infrastructure to help small business owners get their questions answered by other users,” explained Wilder. “Our community website is a tremendous way to learn about what small businesses need?”
In many respects, Intuit’s focus on
community is an extension of founder Scott Cook’s philosophy of what he
called the ‘follow-me-homes.’ Way back in the beginning, Scott asked
product managers to follow consumers home (with their permission, of
course) to see how they used the products. By watching and learning,
and absorbing a continuous flow of feedback, Cook and team were able to make key, value-added changes to Intuit products. Interestingly, the Harvard Business School cases study on Intuit describing Cook's approach had a big impact on my thinking about the power and potential of consumer feedback loops. The case study author, Professor James Heskett, ended up serving on the board of my first start-up out of P&G, PlanetFeedback.com, which was all about, not surprisingly, feedback loops.
Anyway, it goes without saying that Scott K. Wilder and team are sitting on a mountain of feedback. Again, here's a link to his podcast.