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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.

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

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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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