This document is authorized for use only by KYLE MATTICE in MGT 509 Spring 2015-1 taught by Keith Yurgosky, University of Scranton from March 2015 to August 2015.

This document is authorized for use only by KYLE MATTICE in MGT 509 Spring 2015-1 taught by Keith Yurgosky, University of Scranton from March 2015 to August 2015.
For the exclusive use of K. MATTICE, 2015.
eHarmony
709-424
initiate an interaction, leading to the conversion of non-paying members to subscribers. However,
some paying subscribers felt frustrated by this system. “If I am a paying user and you are not, I can
send you a message and you might never respond because you don’t want to pay. And then I don’t
know—did you not like me? Did you even see me? I want some kind of feedback. Otherwise, it feels
like I am investing all this time to start communication but after all this investment, I never hear
back,” reflected an eHarmony user. To address this concern, eHarmony was considering adding a
feature to allow users to see which messages had been read.
Guided Communication Unlike the matching algorithm which was the result of intense
study, Warren came up with the initial design for Guided Communication, which led potential
couples through a set of questions before allowing them to communicate directly. Based on his years
as a clinical psychologist, Warren believed that people, when left on their own, would “gravitate to
the most superficial questions, like sports or activities, not to what really matters in relationships.”
Waldorf echoed the sentiment: “you need to give people a way to talk about deep issues such as
children and ideal locations. Guided Communication allows for such information-seeking without
the social stigma.”
Guided Communication comprised three distinct activities. First, each member in the pair was
asked to choose five easy-to-answer questions from a list provided by eHarmony, and send them to
their match. Questions such as, “If you were taken by your date to a party where you knew no one,
how would you respond?” would be followed by multiple-choice answers, such as “(a) Stay close to
my date, letting him/her introduce me, (b) Find a quiet spot and relax alone, (c) Strike out on my
own and make friends, or (d) Ask my date if I could skip the event.” Once both parties answered,
they moved to the next stage where they were asked to exchange their personal list of “must haves”
and “can’t stands.” In the final stage they were asked to exchange three open-ended questions to
allow for more detailed description of both parties’ values. eHarmony provided some sample
questions, such as “What person in your life has been most inspirational, and why?” or “Tell me
about your closest friend. How long have you known them, and what do you like best about them?”
But members could also write in their own questions. Once this exchange was completed, and a
message from Warren was displayed, the two parties could move into Open Communication. During
Open Communication the pair could send emails to each other, exchange photos, and prepare for
their first meeting. A potential couple could then decide when, where, and how to meet in the offline
world if they wanted to pursue a relationship. Buckwalter commented, “When people meet in
person, they have all this collective history and discussion, and it’s almost like they know each other
right off the bat.” The company estimated that on average a successful subscriber took four to six
months to get matched to someone they would eventually marry.
At any point in the process, either party could “close” the match and cease any further
communication. Given the number of opportunities to drop out, only 20% to 30% of matches ended
up in open communication. Upon mutual agreement, the pair could also elect to Fast Track their
interaction directly to Open Communication, without going through Guided Communication. Only
10% of eHarmony members used Fast Track. Though men had most frequently requested the Fast
Track feature before its introduction, they were less likely to use it, because within the standards of
eHarmony it could be seen as intrusive. The company recently allowed users to state their preferred
communication method, leading to a tripling of Fast Track requests. Members who used Fast Track
communicated with more potential matches and renewed their subscriptions more often, leading to
higher lifetime value. “These people come to us because they want to meet somebody, and they want
to interact to determine whether they would like to get to know their matches better. The first step is
emailing back and forth, then talking on the phone, or meeting in person. Our members who are able
to do this more quickly have a higher satisfaction rate and stay on the service a lot longer”
commented a senior Product team member.