It’s About the Customers

  • Posted February 19th, 2008 at 9:30 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search

A few months back, I shared some anecdotes from a customer field day that the Yahoo! Search team participated in. “A Day in Their Shoes” is what we called it. Our customers are the centerpiece of our organization, so I’d say it’s really more than one day a year that we spend in their shoes. As the lead of the Customer Insights team, it’s my job to directly connect with our customers, learn how they use search in their daily lives and then make sure that the products and features we build address their needs.

You might remember Search Assist, a feature we announced back in October, which was conceived and designed to help alleviate a key end user pain point — the process of formulating and refining a query. We learned that for many queries, particularly more specific ones, users had difficulty finding the right query terms and this difficulty was preventing them from utilizing the full value of search.

We recently had the opportunity to review the latest Keynote Customer Experience study on search engines. The study, done twice yearly for the past four years, compares search engines from a direct user experience and customer satisfaction perspective. Keynote uses a panel of 2000 representative users to study how the major search engines stack up in terms of performance, relevance and customer satisfaction. The report also looked at how the major engines performed in terms of providing search assistance and suggestions. Keynote found that since launching Search Assist, our ranking jumped by 41 points to 878, taking us from third to first place in this category.


Overall, the Keynote study measured customer experience across four major indices — overall customer experience, brand impact, future usage, and customer satisfaction. While we recognize that the evolution of the search experience is far from complete and user expectations will continue to increase, it’s another proof point that Yahoo!’s made significant improvements in scores across all of Keynote’s major indices. In fact, Yahoo! saw the biggest jump in overall customer satisfaction amongst the other search engines in the study.

Keynote indices

Taking a step back, I think the Keynote study provides some nice 3rd party validation that by focusing directly on a key user need and building a solution that addresses it pays dividends to our users.

Now that you’ve had some time to play around with Search Assist, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Michael Kronthal
Customer Insights Team, Yahoo! Search

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