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There's a Customer Out There with a Bullet for You: Understanding Your Customers

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My FailCon 2010 presentation on how not understanding your customers will kill your company faster than anything else. …

My FailCon 2010 presentation on how not understanding your customers will kill your company faster than anything else.

Want to better understand your customers? Read this and then sign up for http://www.uservoice.com

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  • You’re smart. We all know you can fail from lack of listeningWasabe – Spending tracker - Wesabe had a higher goal, but people didn’t want the work of balancing a checkbook - Mint acquired for $170M,Wasabe shut down
  • You’re smart. We all know you can fail from lack of listeningGoogle Wave – huge Google focus, hailed as the next big thing, nobody understood how it worked – shut down barely a year after launchSo you know to listen, but do you know to understand?
  • You’re smart. We all know you can fail from lack of listeningGoogle Wave – huge Google focus, hailed as the next big thing, nobody understood how it worked – shut down barely a year after launchSo you know to listen, but do you know to understand?
  • Transcript

    • 1. There’s a Customer Out There with a Bullet for You
      ---
      Understanding Your Customers
      Evan Hamilton
      Community Manager, UserVoice
    • 2. Agenda
      Listening failures
      Failures of understanding
      Success through understanding
      Best practices
      The importance of saying no
      Q&A
    • 3. Ideas Can Kill
      Ideas you ignore
      Ideas you don’t understand
      Ideas you shouldn’t have listened to
    • 4. Listening Failures
    • 5. Listening Failures
      Data: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    • 6. Listening Failures
      Customers said: 30-second load times suck
      Data: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    • 7. Listening Failures
      Customers said: 30-second load times suck
      Friendster focused on: VOIP
      Data: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    • 8. Listening Failures
      Customers said: 30-second load times suck
      Friendster focused on: VOIP
      Result: $30MM to ???
      Data: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    • 9. Listening Failures
      Data: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    • 10. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t want more work
      Data: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    • 11. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t want more work
      Wasabe focused on: Effort-heavy features
      Data: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    • 12. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t want more work
      Wasabe focused on: Effort-heavy features
      Result: Mint $170MM, Wesabe $0
      Data: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    • 13. Listening Failures
    • 14. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t understand it
    • 15. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t understand it
      Google focused on: “Revolutionizing” communication
    • 16. Listening Failures
      Customers said: We don’t understand it
      Google focused on: “Revolutionizing” communication
      Result: Dead after one year
    • 17. Failure to Understand
    • 18. Failure to Understand
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 19. Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 20. Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 21. 200k blind taste tests
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 22. Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 23. 200k blind taste tests
      • 24. 55% liked new taste
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 25. Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 26. 200k blind taste tests
      • 27. 55% liked new taste
      • 28. 40k letters
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 29. Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 30. 200k blind taste tests
      • 31. 55% liked new taste
      • 32. 40k letters
      • 33. 6,000 calls/day
    • Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 34. 200k blind taste tests
      • 35. 55% liked new taste
      • 36. 40k letters
      • 37. 6,000 calls/day
      • 38. Off shelf in 79 days
    • Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 39. 200k blind taste tests
      • 40. 55% liked new taste
      • 41. 40k letters
      • 42. 6,000 calls/day
      • 43. Off shelf in 79 days
      • 44. Was brand, not taste
    • Failure to Understand
      • $4MM research
      • 45. 200k blind taste tests
      • 46. 55% liked new taste
      • 47. 40k letters
      • 48. 6,000 calls/day
      • 49. Off shelf in 79 days
      • 50. Didn’t understand brand importance
      Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    • 51. Failure to Understand
    • 52. Failure to Understand
      • 500 votes for OpenID integration
    • Failure to Understand
      • 500 votes for OpenID integration
      • 53. Customers disliked it
    • Failure to Understand
      • 500 votes for OpenID integration
      • 54. Customers disliked it
      • 55. We finally understood that the issue was signing up for a new account
    • Failure to Understand
      • 500 votes for OpenID integration
      • 56. Customers disliked it
      • 57. We finally understood that the issue was signing up for a new account
      • 58. Built simpler sign-in
    • Failure to Understand
      • 500 votes for OpenID integration
      • 59. Customers disliked it
      • 60. We finally understood that the issue was signing up for a new account
      • 61. Built simpler sign-in
      • 62. 7x increase in conversions
    • Success Through Understanding
    • 63. Success Through Understanding
      • “A stupid idea”
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    • 64. Success Through Understanding
      • “A stupid idea”
      • 65. 6 months building a camera
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    • 66. Success Through Understanding
      • “A stupid idea”
      • 67. 6 months building a camera
      • 68. Traffic “went off a cliff” after 6 weeks
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    • 69. Success Through Understanding
      • “A stupid idea”
      • 70. 6 months building a camera
      • 71. Traffic “went off a cliff” after 6 weeks
      • 72. People said: “I want to broadcast”
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    • 73. Success Through Understanding
      • “A stupid idea”
      • 74. 6 months building a camera
      • 75. Traffic “went off a cliff” after 6 weeks
      • 76. People said: “I want to broadcast”
      • 77. Now 3MM visitors/month
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    • 78. Best Practices
    • 79. Best Practices
      • Email doesn’t scale
    • Best Practices
      • Email doesn’t scale
      • 80. Wastes your time
    • Best Practices
      • Email doesn’t scale
      • 81. Wastes your time
      • 82. Wastes your customers’ time
    • Best Practices
      • Email doesn’t scale
      • 83. Wastes your time
      • 84. Wastes your customers’ time
      Solution: Aggregate and prioritize
    • 85. Best Practices
      • Avoid the vocal minority
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/
    • 86. Best Practices
      • Avoid the vocal minority
      • 87. Not representative
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/
    • 88. Best Practices
      • Avoid the vocal minority
      • 89. Not representative
      • 90. May not be your best or stickiest customers
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/
    • 91. Best Practices
      • Avoid the vocal minority
      • 92. Not representative
      • 93. May not be your best or stickiest customers
      Solution: Limit votes so everyone is at the same volume
      Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/
    • 94. Best Practices
      • Avoid the J-Curve
      Photo & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    • 95. Best Practices
      • Avoid the J-Curve
      • 96. Y! properties: average 4.5 out of 5 stars
      Photo & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    • 97. Best Practices
      • Avoid the J-Curve
      • 98. Y! properties: average 4.5 out of 5 stars
      • 99. YouTube tried like/dislike, still had the J-curve
      Photo & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    • 100. Best Practices
      • Avoid the J-Curve
      • 101. Y! properties: average 4.5 out of 5 stars
      • 102. YouTube tried like/dislike, still had the J-curve
      • 103. (Almost) nobody rates badly
      Photo & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    • 104. Best Practices
      • Avoid the J-Curve
      • 105. Y! properties: average 4.5 out of 5 stars
      • 106. YouTube tried like/dislike, still had the J-curve
      • 107. (Almost) nobody rates badly
      Solution: Only allow up votes, don’t default to top ideas
      Photo & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    • 108. Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
    • Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
      • 109. Domain aliasing: 12% engagement increase
    • Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
      • 110. Domain aliasing: 12% engagement increase
      • 111. Logo: 25%
    • Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
      • 112. Domain aliasing: 12% engagement increase
      • 113. Logo: 25%
      • 114. Custom design: 55%
    • Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
      • 115. Domain aliasing: 12% engagement increase
      • 116. Logo: 25%
      • 117. Custom design: 55%
      • 118. SSO: 124%
    • Best Practices
      • Avoid steep on-ramps
      • 119. Domain aliasing: 12% engagement increase
      • 120. Logo: 25%
      • 121. Custom design: 55%
      • 122. SSO: 124%
      Solution: Integrate your ideas tool completely
    • 123. The Importance of Saying No
    • 124. The Importance of Saying No
      • Don’t forget your vision
      Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 125. The Importance of Saying No
      • Don’t forget your vision
      • 126. StackOverflow had a clear vision
      Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 127. The Importance of Saying No
      • Don’t forget your vision
      • 128. StackOverflow had a clear vision
      • 129. Completed 30% of ideas, declined 62%
      Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 130. The Importance of Saying No
      • Don’t forget your vision
      • 131. StackOverflow had a clear vision
      • 132. Completed 30% of ideas, declined 62%
      • 133. 0 to 6.5MM monthlies in 2 years
      Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 134. The Importance of Saying No
      • Don’t forget your vision
      • 135. StackOverflow had a clear vision
      • 136. Completed 30% of ideas, declined 62%
      • 137. 0 to 6.5MM monthlies in 2 years
      • 138. “educating customers”
      Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 139. The Importance of Saying No
      • StackExchange let anyone create a StackOverflow
      Data: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 140. The Importance of Saying No
      • StackExchange let anyone create a StackOverflow
      • 141. For every 1 successful site, there were 20 sites with 3 users
      Data: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 142. The Importance of Saying No
      • StackExchange let anyone create a StackOverflow
      • 143. For every 1 successful site, there were 20 sites with 3 users
      • 144. The vision was missing
      Data: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 145. The Importance of Saying No
      • StackExchange let anyone create a StackOverflow
      • 146. For every 1 successful site, there were 20 sites with 3 users
      • 147. The vision was missing
      • 148. New sites have to prove themselves before launching now
      Data: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    • 149. Conclusion
      You have the tools to win:
    • 150. Conclusion
      You have the tools to win:
      Actively solicit feedback
    • 151. Conclusion
      You have the tools to win:
      Actively solicit feedback
      Avoid the vocal minority and the J-curve
    • 152. Conclusion
      You have the tools to win:
      Actively solicit feedback
      Avoid the vocal minority and the J-curve
      Spend the time understand what people are really saying
    • 153. Thanks!
      @evanhamilton
      evan@uservoice.com
      understanding.uservoice.com

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