Posts tagged “intuit”

Get Out Of The Office

Refreshing piece in the NYT (since it omits the usual players and the jokes about anthropology) about the importance of getting out of the office and getting to where your customers are.

Once a year, though, he organizes a different kind of hunt – which he calls a “branch hunt.” In it, the entire organization turns its attention from the suite to the street – and, by scrutinizing the fine details of how banks interact with their customers, sees the market from a new perspective.

“The most thoughtful and articulate strategies tend to come from the big banks,” Mr. Brown explained. “But their actual results seldom bear that out. When you walk the streets and look at what’s happening, the gap between strategy and execution becomes obvious. We can’t just listen to what executives say. We have to see with our own eyes what customers are experiencing.”

The dress code for a branch hunt is casual, but the approach is rigorous. For its fourth annual hunt, Second Curve pinpointed the location of every branch of every bank on the East Side of Manhattan, from 25th to 86th Streets.

All the firm’s employees – the analysts, the compliance officer, the computer geek, the receptionist – divided into teams, were assigned specific avenues and streets and set out with digital cameras, audio recorders and four crisp $100 bills for each team. They spent time at the branches, chatted up bank employees, opened checking accounts with the company-issued cash, snapped photographs – not a popular practice with bank security – and captured the flesh-and-blood experience of being a customer.

After the hunt, the teams returned to headquarters and described what they saw, from stories about horrible or remarkable service, to reports on flat-screen televisions that were meant for customers’ viewing but were occasionally found in truly bizarre places where the public could not see them.

Opening Plenary of CHI2006: Scott Cook – Intuit

The Scott Cook (Intuit) CHI2006 plenary has been blogged

How one creates a culture of innovation.
GO out to your customers first and design from that.

This plenary is the story of why customer connectivity is hugely important – Cook insists this means not doing surveys which can reinforce the company’s existing mindset, but to get out into the customer’s actual space – to get out the old ideas and let new ideas come in

‘before you can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes you must first remove your own’

This way, claims Cook, lies innovation.

Conference blogging is the shit these days, especially liveblogging. This seems like it may have been an inspirational talk, but it’s a lot of work to plow through the (typical for this sort of thing) sloppy notes. Does this format/behavior add value? Is it buzz-generating (don’t you wish you were here?) or is it content sharing?

Update: An amazingly well-written essay based on this talk has been posted by Antonella Pavese.

AAA relocating 200 IT positions to Arizona

AAA relocating 200 IT positions to Arizona

The California State Automobile Association is moving 200 of its information technology jobs to a new call center in Arizona but has delayed further plans to relocate its remaining 1,000 San Francisco workers.

Last autumn, the association, a branch of the AAA travel and insurance club, announced plans to relocate most of its IT department out of state and shift most of its administrative operations to other parts of the Bay Area. AAA officials said now the 200 IT positions will be relocated to a new call center in Glendale, Ariz., that will open early this summer and eventually be manned by up to 1,400 workers.

What do I know? I was telling someone recently how 10 years ago a friend temping at an Intuit call center in Palo Alto saw their office close while the work was sent to Santa Fe. I knowingly announced that there was no way that would be happening now, that this would all have gone overseas since that was soooo long ago. Looks like I was way off base – there’s still jobs in call centers (and no doubt other similar types of commodity work) that is being re-sourced within the US.

I stand corrected. Or at least more informed.

Intuit Customer Survey

I’m doing an online chat with a customer support agent at Intuit about a problem wtih getting a refund for buggy software. At the end of the session, I get this

550 Ernie : You will be asked to complete a survey after this chat. One of the questions asks if I have completely resolved your issue today. Can we agree that the solution I’m providing will accomplish this for you?

In fact, all they’ve done is have me tell them AGAIN about my problem (after all the software problems, they agreed to issue a refund, but then don’t, and so I follow up by email and they tell me to call or chat and I have to go through the story again and so they’ve opened up a case with a case number and presumably in 8 weeks I should have my refund. Who knows?).

550 Ernie : I am very sorry to interrupt you. I am awaiting your response, Steve.

Obviously they need to game the system and try some social engineering to get me to agree to fill out the survey properly. I’m sure there’s documented evidence that if I agree to say something there’s a higher likelihood I’ll grade them higher. From some customer research into this sort of metric, I realized that the score is more important than the actual problem solving. As long as numbers can demonstrate adequate performance, people keep their jobs. I don’t mean Ernie, I mean someone who manages 1000 Ernies.


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