As a product building organization, 2019 was a big year for maturing our processes and methodologies at Ncontracts. We dove head-first into agile, we matured our tech stacks from a development and dev-ops perspective, added version-control to our design stack, and launched the Nstyle Design System. The biggest of our changes, however, are around knowing our users and communicating with them effectively.
Where We Were
Unlike most organizations of our size, we weren’t doing a bad job at knowing our users and their needs. We have a yearly user conference where people give feedback about what they want to see or what they’d like to see changed. We have a customer advisory council that we can reach out to for feedback on our products in general. Our users also email feature suggestions to their relationship managers, so we get a slow trickle of feedback in this channel… that might get back to the Product department or might not.
In addition, our organization is filled with former risk managers, compliance officers, vendor managers… we are actually flush with subject matter experts qualified to give feedback. There’s a lot of good!
On the communication front, our upcoming features, enhancements to existing functionality, and general bug fixes are communicated in a hidden-away area. Users were just not getting the information. New features were also silently rolled out, so there wasn’t a ton of information around how to use something new or why it’s important. Also, if you hadn’t logged into the product in a while you could potentially have many changes without much insight into what or why.
Analytics on Tap
The biggest gap we had with knowing our users is information about what users are actually doing in our application. What features are actually getting used? What percent of people are adopting new features? What percentage of users took a particular journey?
We didn’t have vision into these important data points – but now we do! We’re leveraging Pendo and Full Story to surface these insights. We now have nuanced data about user journeys, pain points, rarely used features, and new feature adoption that helps us better plan for what gets built next and drive more focused conversations with our feedback cohort around what delivers value and why.
Messaging Made Better
We’ve gotten a lot better with communication as well. Listening to the different groups, one theme was clear. “I want to know more about what’s going on”.
Any large feature releases, we’re giving email heads-up as well as in-app messaging to alert users that changes are happening. Another benefit of Pendo is the ability to drive adoption and understanding through guided walkthroughs and self-serve onboarding. We will continue to grow our in-app messaging, as we see empowering users to learn at their own pace, in the actual product instead of a screenshot in a .pdf, as the way forward long-term. So far, everyone has loved the additional communication!
Direct Feedback Loop
Through the adoption of Pendo Feedback, we have a formal system that users can log feature requests, see what others have requested (and upvote them), and then be notified when their request is prioritized, put in the roadmap, and is released. No more wondering about whether or not a good idea fell on deaf ears.
As we grow our headcount, Ncontracts will be able to continue to grow our insights around customers, their needs, and how we can better serve them. We’re excited about our progress so far but even more excited about new ways we can increase our understanding!
When he isn’t cheering on his favorite soccer team or playing guitar, Ryan is Director of the Product Design team. Most days, he can be found behind his laptop geeking out about Lean UX and human-centered design practices.