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.

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

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

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