Customer Feedback? We’re all ears!
October 21, 2015 by Steve Sutton, Software Development Manager at FISCAL Technologies
One of the most useful inputs to developing a technology solution is customer feedback. After all, they are using the software in a real setting and can identify any room for improvement. However, for this feedback to reach the software developers, there needs to be seamless communication between the customer success team, the QA team and the developers themselves. In a growing, fast-paced organisation, how can you ensure customer feedback gets through to the development team?
For FISCAL, one of our most powerful mechanisms for customer feedback is our annual user conference, EMPOWER. By taking our entire development and QA team to run workshops with groups of end users, we are creating a unique opportunity to:
- Talk directly to the people who actually use the software we build
- Understand the difficulties and challenges they may face
- Identify the opportunities we have to better meet their business needs, and ultimately give them the best experience we can when they use our software.
The feedback we get from EMPOWER directly impacts our development roadmap, and helps shape the future of our software.
Our customer feedback doesn’t stop with EMPOWER though. Every member of the team is encouraged to attend implementation and training sessions that are held on customer sites; this presents an opportunity to observe and understand how our software is used in the real world, and gives us further exposure to the challenges faced by our user community in their working environment.
Additionally, when considering our strategic development plans, we will visit clients to understand what they need from our software to support their business needs now and in the future. This information is key in ensuring that each deliverable on our roadmap is grounded in reality and delivers true value to existing and future clients.
Finally, we work very closely with our colleagues in the business who liaise with customers on a daily basis. From Customer Support to Sales, we have an invaluable source of information about how customers are using our software, what issues they might have and what they would like it to do.
We support this with an issue management system that is open to everyone in FISCAL, allowing them to open up new product ideas to the whole of the company. These ideas are discussed and debated, prioritised and estimated, and built into our strategic development roadmap so that everyone can see how their (and customers’) ideas can shape the future of the software.
The FISCAL Development Team is dedicated to producing software that meets the needs of our customers, and all of the above are key elements in helping us do just that.
We recently received feedback from a FTSE 100 client that FISCAL’s approach to customer interaction – our partnership with our users – was a key element in our winning their business. No other vendor was able to articulate their development roadmap in the same way, nor were they able to commit to involving the customer in deeper conversations about the way forward.
No matter the size of your organisation, or the type of your customers (internal or external), your goal should be to understand their needs. Not their “wants”. Listen to feature requests with an interpretive ear. Get past the want and discover the underlying need. Show that you hear them, build what they need and earn their trust. They’ll thank you for it.