Customer Empathy Program

I worked with the platform technology group at Intuit, a 500 person organization, deeply understand their customers in order to make better products. The impact of the program was broad-reaching and over time enabled teams to understand who they were serving and when and how to engage with them.

Problem.

The platform technology group at Intuit was positioned to be a great strategic asset for the rest of the company. They were newly given the responsibility of creating experiences for Intuit customers that spanned the entire product line. However, the vast majority of their 500 employees were engineers, and they had very little understanding of their customers and their needs. It was critically important for those employees to learn who they were serving and what they needed in order to create great experiences for the entire company.

Results.

Over the course of two years, I drove the initiative called our "Customer Empathy" project, which brought customer insights and empathy to our large organization in methods that scaled, such as large group training sessions and hands-on activities. I oversaw the entire program and executed it along with one user researcher who worked for me. This deck includes an overview of the program and my approach. We trained all 500 of our engineers in understanding all of Intuit's key customer segments: small business owners, accountants, and consumers. We used a variety of methods, including large group trainings, self-service trainings, customer office hours, and workshops to develop interview skills. The program was designed to be lead over a multi-stage, multi-year journey. I managed the roadmap for the program and assessed where the maturity of the organization was in relation to empathy and what methods would be best to meet our program goals. We piloted and iterated on every method we rolled out to learn how to become more effective over time.

customerempathysteps

Process and Documents.

Everything we created for the Customer Empathy project was meant to have broad reach over our entire organization. In fact, many other groups at Intuit heard what we were doing and wanted to leverage our materials, so it actually became necessary for everything to scale company-wide, so we had a self-service aspect to this program. These samples show examples of artifacts and experiences we created.

  • VIDEO: A small business user, Mary. We showed this to all 500 of our employees as part of a small business training.
  • VIDEO: Accountant empathy exercise. We conducted hands-on training in group sessions where employees went through a simulated experience to feel the pain of an accountant during tax season: stressed, rushed, and overwhelmed. The employees were able to related to accountants in a meaningful way after this experience.
  • SLIDES: Listening Workshop We created this in-person training that got rolled out to all 500 employees which shared best practices on how to listen to your users to get insights.

Public Speaking.

I have spoken frequently on the topic of "empathy" as it relates to organizations. In these presentations, I've explained the methods I've used and the successes I've had.