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 aBullet for You---Understanding Your CustomersEvan HamiltonCommunity Manager, UserVoice
    2. 2. Agenda1. Listening failures2. Failures of understanding3. Success through understanding4. Best practices5. The importance of saying no6. Q&A
    3. 3. Ideas Can Kill1. Ideas you ignore2. Ideas you don’t understand3. Ideas you shouldn’t have listened to
    4. 4. Listening Failures
    5. 5. Listening FailuresData: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    6. 6. Listening FailuresCustomers said: 30-second load times suckData: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    7. 7. Listening FailuresCustomers said: 30-second load times suckFriendster focused on: VOIPData: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    8. 8. Listening FailuresCustomers said: 30-second load times suckFriendster focused on: VOIPResult: $30MM to ???Data: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/business/yourmoney/15friend.html
    9. 9. Listening FailuresData: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    10. 10. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t want more workData: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    11. 11. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t want more workWasabe focused on: Effort-heavy featuresData: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    12. 12. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t want more workWasabe focused on: Effort-heavy featuresResult: Mint $170MM, Wesabe $0Data: http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint
    13. 13. Listening Failures
    14. 14. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t understand it
    15. 15. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t understand itGoogle focused on: “Revolutionizing”communication
    16. 16. Listening FailuresCustomers said: We don’t understand itGoogle focused on: “Revolutionizing”communicationResult: Dead after one year
    17. 17. Failure to Understand
    18. 18. Failure to UnderstandPhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    19. 19. Failure to Understand• $4MM researchPhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    20. 20. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetestsPhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    21. 21. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetests• 55% liked new tastePhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    22. 22. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetests• 55% liked new taste• 40k lettersPhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    23. 23. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetests• 55% liked new taste• 40k letters• 6,000 calls/day
    24. 24. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetests• 55% liked new taste• 40k letters• 6,000 calls/day• Off shelf in 79 days
    25. 25. Failure to Understand• $4MM research• 200k blind tastetests• 55% liked new taste• 40k letters• 6,000 calls/day• Off shelf in 79 days• Was brand, not taste
    26. 26. Failure to Understand• $4MM research•200k blind taste tests•55% liked new taste• 40k letters• 6,000 calls/day• Off shelf in 79 days• Didn’t understandbrand importancePhoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/4649102556/ Data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
    27. 27. Failure to Understand
    28. 28. Failure to Understand• 500 votes forOpenID integration
    29. 29. Failure to Understand• 500 votes forOpenID integration• Customers disliked it
    30. 30. Failure to Understand• 500 votes forOpenID integration• Customers disliked it• We finallyunderstood that theissue was signing upfor a new account
    31. 31. Failure to Understand• 500 votes forOpenID integration• Customers disliked it• We finallyunderstood that theissue was signing upfor a new account• Built simpler sign-in
    32. 32. Failure to Understand• 500 votes forOpenID integration• Customers disliked it• We finallyunderstood that theissue was signing upfor a new account• Built simpler sign-in• 7x increase inconversions
    33. 33. Success Through Understanding
    34. 34. Success Through UnderstandingPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview• “A stupid idea”
    35. 35. Success Through Understanding• “A stupid idea”• 6 months building acameraPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    36. 36. Success Through Understanding• “A stupid idea”• 6 months building acamera• Traffic “went off a cliff”after 6 weeksPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    37. 37. Success Through Understanding• “A stupid idea”• 6 months building acamera• Traffic “went off a cliff”after 6 weeks• People said: “I want tobroadcast”Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    38. 38. Success Through Understanding• “A stupid idea”• 6 months building acamera• Traffic “went off a cliff”after 6 weeks• People said: “I want tobroadcast”• Now 3MM visitors/monthPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tychay/513991272/in/photostream/ Data: Personal interview
    39. 39. Best Practices
    40. 40. Best Practices• Email doesn’t scale
    41. 41. Best Practices• Email doesn’t scale• Wastes your time
    42. 42. Best Practices• Email doesn’t scale• Wastes your time• Wastes yourcustomers’ time
    43. 43. Best PracticesSolution: Aggregate and prioritize• Email doesn’t scale• Wastes your time• Wastes yourcustomers’ time
    44. 44. Best PracticesPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/• Avoid the vocalminority
    45. 45. Best PracticesPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/• Avoid the vocalminority• Not representative
    46. 46. Best PracticesPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/• Avoid the vocalminority• Not representative•May not be your bestor stickiest customers
    47. 47. Best PracticesPhoto : http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096801@N05/4581041971/in/photostream/• Avoid the vocalminority• Not representative•May not be your bestor stickiest customersSolution: Limit votes so everyone is at the same volume
    48. 48. Best Practices• Avoid the J-CurvePhoto & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    49. 49. Best Practices• Avoid the J-Curve• Y! properties:average 4.5 out of 5starsPhoto & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    50. 50. Best Practices• Avoid the J-Curve• Y! properties:average 4.5 out of 5stars• YouTube triedlike/dislike, still hadthe J-curvePhoto & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    51. 51. Best Practices• Avoid the J-Curve• Y! properties:average 4.5 out of 5stars• YouTube triedlike/dislike, still hadthe J-curve• (Almost) nobodyrates badlyPhoto & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    52. 52. Best Practices• Avoid the J-Curve• Y! properties:average 4.5 out of 5stars• YouTube triedlike/dislike, still hadthe J-curve• (Almost) nobodyrates badlySolution: Only allow up votes, don’t default to top ideasPhoto & Data: http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2009/08/ratings_bias_effects.html & http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2009/09/five-stars-dominate-ratings.html
    53. 53. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps
    54. 54. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps• Domain aliasing:12% engagementincrease
    55. 55. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps• Domain aliasing:12% engagementincrease•Logo: 25%
    56. 56. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps• Domain aliasing:12% engagementincrease•Logo: 25%•Custom design: 55%
    57. 57. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps• Domain aliasing:12% engagementincrease•Logo: 25%•Custom design: 55%•SSO: 124%
    58. 58. Best Practices• Avoid steep on-ramps• Domain aliasing:12% engagementincrease•Logo: 25%•Custom design: 55%•SSO: 124%Solution: Integrate your ideas tool completely
    59. 59. The Importance of Saying No
    60. 60. The Importance of Saying No• Don’t forget yourvisionData: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    61. 61. The Importance of Saying No• Don’t forget yourvision• StackOverflow had aclear visionData: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    62. 62. The Importance of Saying No• Don’t forget yourvision• StackOverflow had aclear vision• Completed 30% ofideas, declined 62%Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    63. 63. The Importance of Saying No• Don’t forget yourvision• StackOverflow had aclear vision• Completed 30% ofideas, declined 62%• 0 to 6.5MMmonthlies in 2 yearsData: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    64. 64. The Importance of Saying No• Don’t forget yourvision• StackOverflow had aclear vision• Completed 30% ofideas, declined 62%• 0 to 6.5MMmonthlies in 2 years• “educatingcustomers”Data: UserVoice internal & http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    65. 65. The Importance of Saying No• StackExchange letanyone create aStackOverflowData: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    66. 66. The Importance of Saying No• StackExchange letanyone create aStackOverflow• For every 1successful site, therewere 20 sites with 3usersData: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    67. 67. The Importance of Saying No• StackExchange letanyone create aStackOverflow• For every 1successful site, therewere 20 sites with 3users• The vision wasmissingData: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    68. 68. The Importance of Saying No• StackExchange letanyone create aStackOverflow• For every 1successful site, therewere 20 sites with 3users• The vision wasmissing• New sites have toprove themselvesbefore launching nowData: http://mixergy.com/stack-exchange-joel-spolsky-interview/#transcript
    69. 69. ConclusionYou have the tools to win:
    70. 70. ConclusionYou have the tools to win:1. Actively solicit feedback
    71. 71. ConclusionYou have the tools to win:1. Actively solicit feedback2. Avoid the vocal minority and the J-curve
    72. 72. ConclusionYou have the tools to win:1. Actively solicit feedback2. Avoid the vocal minority and the J-curve3. Spend the time understand what peopleare really saying
    73. 73. Thanks!@evanhamiltonevan@uservoice.comunderstanding.uservoice.com

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