Brad Smith, President & CEO, Intuit
Brad Smith of Intuit gave us a preview of what a mature Net Promoter Discipline can look like in a company…and how it can be an underpinning of transformative work that is focused on delighting the customer. He opened by explaining that 81% of new sales for Intuit are attributable to Word of Mouth…so this isn’t just a nice to have. Having more promoters is central to their growth strategy. How did Intuit get to this point? It was clear from hearing Brad’s talk that he personally, and Intuit as a whole, had been using NPS and the core concepts of Net Promoter since the early days. He gave a compelling and concrete description of the phases of NPS adoption that they had passed through since starting with it in 2003. These phases may sound familiar to many companies who have been using Net Promoter: Phase 1: focused on the score. This is the ideas that most companies here about first…the Net Promoter Score. It’s obviously just a tiny part of what the concept is about, but it is the starting point for most companies who hear about Net Promoter. Phase 2: the verbatims. Brad pointed out that the next thing they did was dig into the verbatim comments. The big takeaway from this was that the customer experience was not just about the product. It was about the end-to-end experience for the customer. That’s the view from the outside in.
Phase 3: process mapping. Fix those detractors! That’s what happens next in nearly all companies. They see the feedback, and the squeaky wheels obviously need grease. In Intuit’s case, Brad described major investments they made to map out processes, improve them, and drive down the number of detractors. Nothing bad here, but it’s not the end of the story.
Phase 4: how to get more promoters. This is a big shift, and it requires a different mind set. Employees need to think about the things they can do to delight customers and generate more promoters. It’s usually hard for companies to focus on this until they have detractors under control. But it is crucial.
So, at this point, I would have thought the story was over. These are the four phases most companies talk to me about. But I think Brad appropriately added a fifth phase of adoption, which is critical to getting things right out of the gate (rather than going back to diagnose, fix, and improve)…
Phase 5: innovating with customers. Intuit focuses today on getting customers and employees to participate together in innovation. What’s interesting about this is not only the outcome you get in terms of the product and the customer experience, but also the fact that you can build more promoters by having them involved with your company in this process. They know they have a voice. It can also be a huge motivator for employees.
As a takeaway, Brad stressed three things to consider. The importance of leadership, the power of harnessing employee creativity, and the impact that co-innovation can have on word of mouth. Where is your company on this adoption path?
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