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How GoDaddy is helping small businesses stay open during the crisis

She had never seen numbers like this before. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit and businesses were increasingly locking down, longtime customer experience leader Laura Messerschmitt, GoDaddy’s VP of Customer Experience, was responsible for gauging the impact on GoDaddy’s 19M+ customers around the world – and acting fast to help them.

GoDaddy is part of the backbone of the Internet, hosting more domains than any other provider in the world and providing entrepreneurs with all of the tools necessary to succeed online. Many of its customers are entrepreneurs and small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. “57% of the small businesses that we heard from said that COVID had a very high impact, like the top, top, top box, which is unheard of,” Messerschmitt said.

Priority one in this crisis is helping customers stay open. “We’re all about keeping our customers open online during this time and helping them to drive their business forward, even when their front doors might be closed,” Messerschmitt said. Qualtrics has helped determine how.

Finding Signal in the Storm

GoDaddy has always gauged customer sentiment on a daily basis, regularly asking its customers for feedback, including a subset of customers who ask to cancel. But when the coronavirus hit and customers flooded the website and call center, it was no longer enough to hear from some of them. GoDaddy began to ask all of them what challenges they were facing and, more importantly, how the company could help.

“One of the awesome things with Qualtrics is, as soon as we started realizing what was going on, we had the ability to just pop an extra question into our cancellation study,” said Lori Iventosch-James, Senior Director of Customer and Market Research. “We asked about the financial impact of COVID. And then, if they chose, we could offer a phone number so we could help. It was flexible and we could turn it on the very same day.”

Right away, the results were sobering. Many of the businesses GoDaddy heard from expected sales to decrease over the coming three months, and they were looking for ways to grow their online businesses in a cost-effective manner.

Safety in the Storm

Using customer sentiment data from Qualtrics helped GoDaddy act, rolling out a collaborative response to the crisis: Up less than a week after the GoDaddy team started hearing from customers, GoDaddy’s  involves partners like GoFundMe, Inc. Media, PayPal, Salesforce, and Slack – all with resources and offers to help small businesses during the crisis. The video has already been viewed 16.5 million times.

GoDaddy’s own offers flowed directly from customer ideas. Qualtrics helps GoDaddy collect open-ended feedback, which is critical with so much uncertainty. Customers asked for help with things like financial relief during the crisis, getting new exposure and new shoppers, online promotion offers, and high-converting ad templates.

The company’s free offers, informed by this experience data were taken up by thousands of users in just the first week. They are tailored to cover as many of the identified needs as possible:

  • A free website builder with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing
  • Three free months of marketing tools with email and social outreach
  • Three additional free months of premium social media design templates

The company’s own business Guides, support and advisory representatives, have become even more important. “When you buy from GoDaddy, we have Guides that are really, really helpful. And [customers] said they want to make sure that we keep that up and running, and that seemed to be a big concern. We wouldn’t have known that without having the data from Qualtrics,” Messerschmitt said.

Beyond the generally available offers, some customers have more specific needs. And GoDaddy has trained its Guides using feedback from the data. “Our GoDaddy Guides have always had flexibility to do what is right for the customers – but, we’re giving Guides even more flexibility than they had in the past,” Messerschmitt said.

The ability to listen quickly, understand customers’ specific concerns, and then act even more quickly has been essential for GoDaddy during the COVID-19 crisis. “More microbusinesses around the world rely on GoDaddy for bringing their businesses online than any other company. Qualtrics has been an essential partner for us to hear sentiment directly from our hardest-hit customers during this pandemic. With Qualtrics tools, we can analyze customer data immediately and act on those insights to keep small businesses open and moving forward in these challenging times,” Messerschmitt said.


Ben Rogers
Ben helps businesses around the world show how they are closing experience gaps with Experience Management. A reader, a skier, and an erstwhile researcher, he leads the customer marketing team at Qualtrics.



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