How Intuit boosts sales

Intuit seeks feedback from both fans and detractors as it works to improve its products.

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Scott Cook
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A growing number of small-business owners are using Net Promoter Scores to increase customer referrals and boost sales. Fortune Small Business checked in with entrepreneurs who swear by the magic metric.

(Fortune Small Business) -- Software giant Intuit (INTU) has embraced the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to help it get closer to its 20 million customers. The Mountain View, Calif., company, best known for Quick-Books and TurboTax, tracks separate NPS scores for more than 35 lines of business and uses the data to improve its service and products and thus turn disgruntled users into happy ones.

Founder Scott Cook, now head of the executive committee, says most NPS practices are adaptable to small businesses and has tips for getting the most out of it.

Organize customers' feedback
Calculating an NPS score is simple. The hard part is making the customer comments easily accessible and understandable. Intuit uses a searchable database of its myriad NPS surveys, but even a simple spreadsheet can help you identify patterns in customer responses.

"I tell employees not to focus on the score," Cook says. "Focus on what improvements you can make in service to improve the score. For that, accessing those comments is critical."

Use promoters for marketing
When crafting a promotional message, Intuit often looks to comments from customers who are so happy with the product that they recommend it to others. The copy on TurboTax packaging now stresses ease of use, a benefit that was repeatedly voiced in NPS surveys.

"Often I find that the very best way of describing a product comes from satisfied customers," says Cook.

Embrace your detractors
Intuit has created online forums where its software designers float ideas, hoping to get feedback from the company's best customers. It routinely invites detractors to join those forums as well. Most are flattered, according to Cook, and 13% of those invited join.

For companies that don't maintain online customer forums, an e-mail exchange can suffice.

"It's easy to talk to your friends," says Cook, "but there's greater value in talking to the people who should be, but aren't." To top of page

How do you track client satisfaction? Join our discussion.

Read the full package:

Get customers to sell for you: More entrepreneurs are embracing a simple metric that measures referrals - and helps boost profits.

Ways to win customer referrals

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