How Customer Feedback Becomes Features
Our customers have a strong voice. Remember Perch’s first customer was not too long ago. Starting with that very first one we have always catered to the needs of our customers. Since the beginning, our goal has been customer experience and satisfaction. This extends past the users of our products and into the customer’s overall experience with Perch. It’s not just our stakeholders guiding our roadmap and pushing new features, but our customers as well.
We offer our customers (more specifically at this point we are referring to users) many ways to communicate their feedback with us. Feedback can be as simple as a Slack message, email, all the way to offering feedback during our monthly (-ish) users call where we invite all of our users to join. As a startup, we have a unique opportunity to cater to our customers more than say a large enterprise that would probably automatically turn your feedback into a ticket in some backlog somewhere. We will have conversations and even meetings to listen to your feedback.
This applies to all users, not just our external customers, but our internal users as well. Currently, the heaviest users of the app are the users of our own Security Operations Center (SOC) . We have done a lot to improve their workflow which in turn improves the app for all users.
What do we do with that feedback?
We make a ticket and shove it deep into our backlog. Kidding (that’s the other guys 😉). Like I was saying, we take the time to understand your wants and needs. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes it requires larger discussions. We then take that feedback and turn it into acceptance criteria in our ticketing system. These tickets are all hand written by a member of our team.
Here at Perch we encourage tickets and even have fun little automated messages to remind our team members that tickets 👏🏻 are 👏🏻 encouraged 👏🏻.
After the ticket is written, we place it into our backlog. All tickets are looked at agnostically, whether it came from a large stakeholder or our smallest customer. Your feedback, turned ticket, may actually go to the bottom of the list after all; but it may also go right up to the top. Especially, if many users share similar feedback about a particular item.
Okay it’s a ticket, now what?
Not all tickets are features. Bugs or things that don’t work quite right are also ticket-ized, as well as a handful of other tasks. This feedback is just as important. For the sake of this article, let’s assume the customer is requesting a new feature.
Depending on what the feature is, it may land in the lap of the design team (aka the best team aka my team 👨🏻🎨🌈) to interpret the feature visually before development begins. Sometimes it’s just a mockup, but can also include user flows, mind maps, and animated prototypes. The designers work closely with the developers as a singular product team, constantly comingling (because we don’t like silos ☹️). This assures the customer’s feedback is correctly translated at all stages.
We will often share these mockups during the users call I mentioned earlier. We may even reach back to the customer who originally gave us the feedback for their thoughts on the design. We want as much input as possible before development even begins to streamline the process.
Once it’s ready to develop our engineers (which is what coders like to be called these days 😉) will turn it into reality with their magic-like skills.
Launching new features
Once it’s ready to go we push it to our QA environment where we do a bit of testing. From here we push it to production where we get it into the hands of our users. We will even release beta features to production because we want it in our users’ hands to give us more feedback and help improve the feature.
We admit we are not perfect and don’t always nail it 100% of the time. That’s not realistic, especially for a fast-moving startup. We release features knowing that even if we think it’s perfect - there is always room for improvement. Another reason why we happily invite feedback.
Real world examples
One feature from the app that comes to mind is the Since You’ve Been Gone feature released not too long ago.
A few users - particularly ones that did not log in often - wanted to see what has happened since they were gone. If you don’t already know, our SOC works around the clock fighting off threaty threats for you. So even if you don’t take any action within the app, a lot might have happened while you were gone.
We went through the whole process mentioned above to get this feature into our app - all starting with customer feedback!
All of this to say
All of us at Perch want our customers to be happy. Tell us what you want to see in our app and we’ll build it for you (probably 😝). It’s a simple idea, certainly not a novel one, but one that not many companies can actually achieve. At least not with our level of love and care ❤️.