We have been making some of the industry’s most flexible survey tools for over 25 years. We’re always evolving our powerful multichannel platform, which includes launching new products, major releases, and regular maintenance and feature updates. Through it all, we’ve definitely become experts in the craft of survey software.
But savvy product managers know that there’s a gap between the knowledge that comes from creating and refining a product as a developer, and as an end user who is actively using it daily. To close that gap, our Voxco Online product team has long been tapping into the user perspective – what features do they need the most, how do they spend their time on the platform, what would they do differently?
Informally reaching out to users for feedback had always been happening, but just last year, our product team formalized a client outreach program that maximizes the impact of the feedback on the final product. The outreach has been invaluable; not just for our team, but for clients who could help shape the product’s development.
Now that it’s a formal part of our process, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our client outreach programs – how they work, and how much of an impact they have had on the online survey tools. Let’s take a peek under the hood:
We make survey software, so it was a natural jump to use the platform to ask our own clients for feedback. To gain quantitative data about in-demand features, the surveys asked multiple choice and ranking questions that aimed to prioritize the relative importance of new features. At the end of each survey, qualitative data was collected via a series of open-ended questions that asked users to precisely describe what key features would maximize their organization’s use of the tool, and how existing functionalities could be further enhanced.
Post-survey, we wanted to continue the qualitative conversations, and dig deeper with active users on how they could maximize their productivity on the platform. So we assembled a team of 15 of our most active clients, representing varying industries, organization sizes and survey types. In the pursuit of more qualitative insights about specific upcoming features, we formalized this group into a client advisory committee.
When we are in the early planning stages of a major new release, we can now approach a team of active users as a sounding board. The conversation starts as an overview call to get their input on how they use a specific feature set. We then use this rich feedback to further define product requirements and create interactive mock-ups of the new feature set. We hop on a second call to present the mock-ups to their teams, and fine-tune the details over time.
It was nice to see complimentary patterns from our varied client types that helped validate our internal team’s existing direction. The client survey offered instant clarity on which new features were must-haves, which helped the product team to immediately start prioritizing the next few releases.
We were amazed by the long, detailed answers given to the open-ended questions. It was clear that clients were very open to the communication channel and were excited to have their voice heard. The responses helped stimulate new ideas for future features and started many active discussions among the development team.
We have witnessed very high involvement levels from all members of the advisory committee, and the resulting conversations feel very collaborative. The members often choose to gather project-specific suggestions from their larger team, and even share the feature mock-ups with them for more robust user feedback. It’s quite clear that the advisory committee enjoys being consulted and collaborating on feature development.
Overall, the entire process has helped us define a very solid road map for the next year worth of updates, and with the help of many of our users, we have populated our first 2 major releases with many of their most commonly requested features.
The earliest major release that was directly impacted by the new client feedback is coming out in just a couple of months! And the client feedback team has already moved on to collecting data on a future release that will enhance our reporting tool. Next month, we’ll share with you some of the results of the first few client outreach initiatives right here on the blog.
If you’re a user of the industry’s most flexible survey platform, keep an eye out for our surveys to join in the conversation – you could help us define the future of Voxco Online. Stay tuned!