How an Army of Employees and a Man Named Abraham Led to Honor
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The road to Intuit’s award for innovative design may have begun on the
streets of San Diego.
That’s where an army of TurboTax employees fanned out a little over
three years ago to speak first-hand with folks on their turf –
practically walking in their shoes to learn more about their lives and
gain greater insights into how to make it easier to prepare taxes.
That was just the first step in an ongoing effort to make TurboTax even
more user friendly and delightful to use – an effort recognized this
week with Intuit being named No. 4 on Fast Company’s list of the
Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Design for 2017. This award
represents the focus and commitment Intuit has as a customer-centric,
design-driven, technology company, and that the collective efforts of
designers and the product management and engineering partners, that make
drop dead simple, beautiful products for some 40 million customers.
The Fast Company list is based on reporters’ surveys of thousands
of enterprises across the globe to identify the most notable innovations
of the year and trace the impact of those initiatives on business,
industry, and the larger culture.
“This honor from Fast Company recognizes our years-long efforts
to build great design into an already beloved product,” said Kurt
Walecki, Intuit’s vice president of design who headed up the program.
“Great design and product creation starts with getting to know your
customers, up close and personal, on a face-to-face basis. You learn
what they love, the problems they have, and gain insights into how
Intuit can solve these problems well and help make their lives better.”
Getting to know customers is nothing new for Intuit. Since its founding
34 years ago, the company has conducted “follow me home” visits with
thousands of people. Since Intuit’s inception, the company has developed
numerous tools and methods to understand people and customers better in
all contexts and objectively.
The TurboTax street campaign introduced employees to Abraham, a
26-year-old man working three jobs and trying to save enough money to
move out of his parents’ house and get married. Despite living
paycheck-to-paycheck, he had no problem spending several hundred dollars
a year to have someone prepare his taxes.
“Abraham became our model customer – our True North, if you will,” said
Walecki. “He reminded us that life is what’s important – not taxes. So
our products should be focused on life events. We’ve always been good
about design thinking. This led us to think more about design doing,
thinking first about customers and how they think and respond while
using our products, rather than the business.”
That brought end-to-end changes in the TurboTax product – everything
from the look and feel of the product to the wording and number of
questions being asked. The product went from one-size-fits-all to a more
personalized approach, eliminating questions that weren’t relevant.
Language itself became friendlier, taking a cue from online games and
encouraging taxpayers when they completed a task, with phrases such as
“Great job,” or showing empathy when asking for information about the
death of a family member.
The efforts have paid off. Over the past two tax seasons, the number of
TurboTax Online customers has increased 27 percent, while the product’s
share of online tax preparation grew approximately five points to help
increase the total TurboTax share of DIY tax prep to 66 percent. The
do-it-yourself category is growing by 11 percent, with TurboTax earning
high customer satisfaction ratings, as measured by Net Promoter Scores.
“The 'customer-first' approach applies to all Intuit products,” Walecki
said. “For TurboTax, it means continuing to seek and listen to the
Abrahams of the world and give them a product that meets their unique
needs. Our ultimate goal is to have customers use our products and
believe that it was designed specifically for them. That’s what
innovative design is all about.”
Intuit Inc. creates business and
financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for
small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.
Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks® and
TurboTax®, which make it
easier to manage small businesses
and tax preparation and filing.
Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and
intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Intuit's ProConnect
brand portfolio includes ProConnect
Tax Online, ProSeries®
and Lacerte®, the
company's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.7 billion in its fiscal year
2016. The company has approximately 7,900 employees with major offices
in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other
locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.
About Fast Company
Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand,
with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical
economics, leadership, and design. Headquartered in New York City, Fast
Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, one of the U.S.’s leading
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Source: Intuit Inc.