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When A Company Makes A Mistake: How Intuit Rebounded By Listening To Its Customers

Photo of a calculator and tax documents

When a company makes a mistake, things can go one of two ways: customers are upset and leave for the competition, or the company rebounds by listening to its customers and restoring goodwill.

The latter was the case recently with Intuit, the makers of TurboTax. I’ve been a loyal TurboTax user for as long as I can remember, and I also regularly use a free add-on service called ItsDeductible. (Use this affiliate link for 20% off the cost of TurboTax.)

ItsDeductible helps with tracking charitable donations, whether it’s cash, household goods like what you might bring to Goodwill, or even travel and mileage on behalf of a nonprofit organization.

The best part of the tool is the item valuation feature, which uses public data from sites like eBay to help accurately value donated items.  So you just enter, for example, four pairs of jeans, six T-shirts, eight sweaters and a couple of picture frames, and it tells you what all that is worth and even guarantees the valuation should you be audited. The result is consumer confidence that the item valuations are reasonable.

The Mistake

During the summer, I received an email from Intuit with the subject line: “Notice of Discontinuation TurboTax ItsDeductible Donation Valuation Tool.” The e-mail read:

Dear Customer,

We have made a decision to discontinue TurboTax ItsDeductible.

Today the tool is used by only a limited number of our customers and no longer meets the level of user experience we strive to provide, so we’ve decided to discontinue it. We want to thank you for being a loyal TurboTax ItsDeductible user and hope you will continue to be a part of the Intuit family.

We are providing you with advance notice that ItsDeductible will be discontinued on October 17, 2022. Any donation information you included in your Tax Year 2021 (or prior tax returns) will remain in those tax returns. However, you will need to export any data you have entered into ItsDeductible that you want to save for your records by October 17, 2022. After that date you will no longer have access to ItsDeductible and any data you entered into it will be deleted. We recommend keeping all tax return data for the last 3 years for your tax records.

You will be able to use your ItsDeductible account as you normally would to file your Tax Year 2021 taxes through October 17. However, please note that you will not be able to enter new data or donations for tax year 2022. If you want to find valuation data for donations for Tax Year 2022, there are several free resources online available from reputable charities.

The e-mail goes on to explain how to export the data.

Now, I have to admit I was not happy with this decision, and I made my thoughts known on Twitter. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.

The Rebound

Exactly one month and one day later, I received a second email from Intuit. This one had the subject line “Update: ItsDeductible Continued Availability” and it read:

Dear Valued Customer,

We heard your feedback on ItsDeductible and we listened!

We want to thank you for the feedback you provided over the past several weeks about our plans to discontinue ItsDeductible. We are pleased to hear how much the tool means to so many of you. Based on your feedback, we are happy to share that we have revised our decision and will continue to support ItsDeductible next year.

Your account and the data in it will continue to be available without interruption. You can sign in and add any new donations for tax year 2022 at any time.

Thank you again for being a loyal ItsDeductible customer,

Your TurboTax Team

Many companies have made mistakes, like product changes that they eventually regretted. Few have had the courage to course-correct with their customers. (The good folks at Skittles are a notable exception, having finally come to their senses by bringing back the original Lime flavor and publicly (and humorously) apologizing to everyone who had tweeted a complaint.)

What sticks out with Intuit (and Skittles) is that they made a mistake but were willing to listen to customer feedback and reverse an unpopular decision. It’s so rare these days to hear anyone say, “I made a mistake and I’d like to correct it.” But when companies listen to their customers, they can actually create more loyalty than if they hadn’t made the bad decision in the first place.

With that second email, Intuit guaranteed that I will remain a loyal TurboTax customer for years to come. And I suspect that is true of many others.

Image by Rob Owen-Wahl from Pixabay.

Related: When A Customer Wants To Cancel

Dan Gingiss is a customer experience keynote speaker and the author of The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share, available on Amazon.

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