Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Posts Tagged ‘customer engagement’

Customers Engage with TurboTax

Posted by Becky Carroll on April 15, 2008

by Amit Gupta Today is the day many Americans dread: the day when their income taxes are due to the government.  TurboTax decided to make it fun for their customers with some cool contests which promote customer engagement.

TurboTax is made by Intuit and is a tax preparation software program.  TurboTax’s focus is on making taxes easy.  Intuit’s focus is squarely on the customer. 

I recently spoke with Brian who does online marketing for Intuit.  Brian shared information with me about the two customer contests run by TurboTax, TurboTax Rap (2007) and Tax Laugh (2008). 

TurboTax Rap was a contest to promote customer engagement, with rapper Vanilla Ice as their celebrity spokesman.  Consumer submitted their own original “rap” video about TurboTax.  The contest site included all the rules/tips for submission.  Here is an example:

“Props are always good.  We are not just talking about a leaf blower or a hairbrush microphone.  But actual shoutout’s to TurboTax or Vanilla Ice.  Let them know how special they are.”

The entries were then also posted on YouTube.  The results were unexpected.  It generated lots of interest, curiousity, as well as some awesome content!  There were 450 entries, and although most were not stellar, about 30 of them were really quite good.  Per Brian,

“These customers were passionate.  They included the core reasons to believe in their videos.  I am not sure an agency could have done some of this!”

The winning entry has had over 330,000 views on YouTube (and the winner took home $25,000 to boot).  It didn’t cost Intuit much money to put on this contest, and they had a lot of customer engagement as a result.  For your viewing pleasure, here is the winning video:

Of course, just like any social media activity, customers have the opportunity to share their thoughts.  Some viewers didn’t like the winner (“Too many special effects”) and preferred the low-tech video which won 2nd place.  A learning for TurboTax was to have customers and other viewers rate the videos or vote on them.

This year, TurboTax created a TaxLaugh contest, with the tagline, “Comedy is hard.  TurboTax is easy.”  The top 20 videos/finalists were chosen through voting on YouTube.  Fewer entries this year (hey, comedy is hard), but again, great quality and passion that can only come from customers.  I especially liked this one, which wasn’t really comedy but was very clever and still promoted TurboTax – using ping pong balls!  You’ve gotta watch this (which has had over 500,000 views):

This year, TurboTax also sponsored a Promoter Contest.  Those viewers who were the best at promoting a video won prizes like a trip to Southern California to see the TaxLaugh celebrity comedian spokesman Jay Mohr or a Flip video camera.  Winners included the most viral TurboTax promoter and the most viral TurboTax choice.  The winning promoter had over 100,000 views!  Talk about using word of mouth to get things buzzing.   Also, check out the interesting viral map put together by Brickfish, who helped with the viral promotion.

While taxes may not be a laughing matter, TurboTax has found a cool way to connect with their customers, to promote themselve to non-customers, and to increase engagement in both categories.  Plus, they are part of a very customer-focused company.  You rock, er rap, TurboTax and Intuit!

(Photo credit: Amit Gupta)

Posted in Customer experience, Customer loyalty, Customers Rock!, Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Starbucks: Getting Customers Engaged

Posted by Becky Carroll on January 21, 2008

custom-latte.jpg Here at Customers Rock!, I talk a lot about getting your customers more engaged in your organization.  One way that some consumer organizations do it is by having customers submit their own photos or ideas for corporate use.  For example, at Jones Soda, their bottle labels are actually photos submitted by their customers.

How can an organization do this more locally in order to connect with regular customers?  I saw this sign up at my local Starbucks in front of the espresso machine.  It usually has info about an upcoming event at the store or a new drink flavor.  On this day, the “drink of the day” was actually the Customer Latte of the Week: Mary’s Latte.  There was no contest for this recipe; it came from the information this Starbucks has about its customers.

This signs does two things.  One, it acknowledges Mary and her repeat business, making her feel great!  Two, it tells other customers that the baristas here know their customers well, so well that they can recommend the best drink combos they see on a daily basis.

When you have information about your customers that your competitors don’t have, that is a potential competitive advantage.  When you use that information to do something for your customers, now you are creating a stronger customer relationship.  This is the foundation for loyalty.

Kudos to my local Starbucks for reaching out to customers and making them feel special.  You rock!

Posted in Customer experience, Customer loyalty, Customers Rock!, Marketing | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Customer Engagement Online

Posted by Becky Carroll on September 26, 2007

conversation.jpg I have talked with many companies who tell me they aren’t sure if they want to start an online conversation with their customers.  Cord Silverstein asks this question in his post Engage customers or die. He says,

Is it a good thing for companies to try to engage their customers online? Does the good outweigh the possible repercussions that could come from it? And finally what are some of your ideas on how companies can engage online with their customers?

Cord’s post and comments start a great discussion on this topic!  I think part of the concern companies have about engaging their customers in conversation online is that they have not already been engaging in ANY conversations with customers.  Rather, marketing and PR have often created one-way communication vehicles (advertisements, press releases, articles/white papers).  Ongoing, two-way interaction with customers is how we build customer relationships.  The online channel, ideally, is just one more channel by which to reach out and build relationships with customers.  It is a great channel to use because it enables immediate, two-way conversation!  Therefore, if your customers are interacting online, you need to be out there talking with them and learning from them in the online space.

With or Without You

Customers are having conversations about companies, with or without the company’s involvement with those discussions.  Someone in Cord’s comments suggested the way to engage with customers online is to have your PR department be new media-savvy and do the correspondence.  Having the PR person be the one to respond concerns me, as I believe customers are looking for authentic responses, not carefully crafted company statements. 

Creating a place on your own site, such as a blog, is a great way to keep the conversation in your backyard – as long as you allow comments and take the time to respond.  Southwest Airlines has done a good job of engaging with customers online, and they use their blog as a feedback channel for ideas, concerns, and questions.  Everyone at SWA takes the time to write and respond, including pilots and the CEO.  For example, their recent business decision on whether or not to assign seats was put to their customers in a few different blog posts; the most recent one elicited over 360 comments!

Check out Toby Bloomberg’s Diva Marketing blog or Mack Collier’s The Viral Garden for more on corporate blogging tips and best practices.

Conversation is Key to Customer Relationships

Think about it.  Can you get to know a new person you meet without having some kind of conversation?  Whether it be in person, over email, or on a Facebook wall, there has to be some type of interaction in order to progress the relationship.

Customer relationships are no different!  It is important to go where your customers are (be that online, at a retail store, in their own place of business), get to know them, find out their needs, and start doing something different based on what you learn.  Customer trust and relationships will build, and the best ones will lead to more customers as they tell others about you.

Start the conversation!

Posted in B2B Marketing, Customer experience, Marketing, Voice of the customer | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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