Groundswell Award 2008: Talking

QuickBooks Community: www.quickbooksgroup.com

Intuit's QuickBooks Online Community website provides a place where users can engage with each other to answer QuickBooks product-related questions and obtain general small business information. With three million visitors per year, the site is a central hub for people to talk about QuickBooks and small business issues while offering a wealth of user created content.

Along with connecting QuickBooks users, Intuit also actively talks with members via blogs, discussion forums and webinars. By engaging with members on the site, Intuit can also get valuable user feedback on products while giving them inside information on existing and new products.

While the QuickBooks Community team is engaged on the site, it does not edit or block any content unless a comment threatens another user. It also does not directly market any of its products or services on the site. It is a safe heaven for users, where they can learn from others.
The site's features include:

  • Discussion Forums: Forums cover a variety of topics from QuickBooks Tasks and general Small Business topics, to Classifieds where members can market their services and offer discounts to other members.

  • Blogs, Podcasts and Webinars: Both Intuit employees and third-party experts use these online communication methods to cover everything from tips and tricks to grow a business, to how to get relief from payroll tax headaches.

  • Local Help and Events: Here, members can offer assistance and find local help such as an accountant, lawyer, marketing coach or Small Business Development Center. They can also find and highlight their own online and offline events and workshops.

  • We Hear You:  A place on the site where the Intuit product development team listens and responds to user suggestions for improving Intuit products and services.

How the QuickBooks Community helps accomplish Intuit's business goals:

Establishes Intuit as a small business resource:
With over four million small business customers, the community site gives Intuit customers, small business owners and experts a central place to connect with one another. These include everyday business owners, accountants, IT consultants, educators, developers, etc. The site provides a place for them to share best practices, information and answers. With three million visitors a year, site membership is steadily growing by 50 percent year over year.

Helps Intuit offer more customized service:
The QuickBooks community site enables Intuit small business customers to get almost any type of product or small business answer they need. Intuit products and services are used in many different ways by many types of people. They range from novice to expert users spanning a variety of industries from non-profit and construction to retail.  By leveraging the 'Wisdom of the Crowd,’ the community provides more accurate information than Intuit as by itself could provide.

Reduces support costs:
The community site has proven successful in answering 90 percent of user questions and thus reducing calls to Intuit call centers. To continue to monitor the success of the site in reducing support calls, Intuit regularly tracks the percentage of users who get their questions answered online vs. the call center.

Generates sales:
Though Intuit does not actively market products and services on the site, it does indirectly help generate sales. Many people come to the site to learn from others about what products they should upgrade to and what other Intuit products might solve their business needs. This information is especially important for people in a specific industry who want to learn more about what products can help them in that industry.  To help monitor this, the site tracks how information from the community helps a user in their purchase decision.