By Josh McDaniel
I joined roundCorner as a consultant and transitioned to the Product team in late 2011. We were only a team of four at the time. Our team has grown over the years, but our goal today is the same as it was then: changing the way people change the world. Our focus has always been on our customers, and over the life of our products and evolution of product management we’ve formalized the concepts and processes that drive Customer Success.
We’ve continually added and improved the channels that we use to get the feedback that drive customer success. We’ve scraped our knees more than a few times as we’ve gone through several stages of customer success at roundCorner – from re-envisioning our product in 2011, to completing our first big implementations, to engaging and enabling partners, to hearing from customers and the community; each time learning, getting back up on our feet, adjusting, and moving forward.
The 1st Stage: Personal Experience and Intuition
We started off by developing a product based on what we had seen from early charter customers. We were able to build and release quickly, taking core functions of roundCause and building a series of packages that encapsulated core nonprofit fundraising tools. Our inputs were primarily based on the team’s experience and intuition. The number of organizations using roundCause were relatively few and there wasn’t a lot of diversity in use cases.
Types of feedback: Internal Opinions, Charter Customers.
Customer Success focus areas: First 360 degree view of Constituents – building the foundation for Households, Organizations, Donors, Preferences, Relationships, Salutations.
The 2nd Stage: Sales and Charter Customer Feedback
As our customer base grew steadily, the product development team supported all throughout the sales, implementation, migration, and go-live process. Product input came primarily from outside of the product team, and we continued to build based on what new customers identified as their needs. At this stage, use cases were still limited in scope – we answered to ourselves and a few customers.
Types of Feedback: Sales Prospecting and beginning stages of Charter Implementation.
Customer Success focus areas: Batch Upload, Evergreen Sustainer support
The 3rd Stage: Implementation and Expert Services
roundCorner was fortunate to leverage organic and referral-based growth. As we continued to develop features and improve existing features, our list of customers also expanded – rapidly. With that, we ramped up the Implementation and Expert Services business areas. With prior implementations being supported and new implementations cropping up, we started a series of internal calls for the company to come together and talk about desired features, identified issues, and high impacts.
Primary Feedback: Sales Prospecting, Consultants and Support people with customers every day.
Customer Success focus areas: Events, Volunteers, Payment Processing
The 4th Stage: Customer and Partner Feedback
As we grew, we started to engage with industry Partners and set up our own Service Enablement practice. Feedback on product priorities was fueled more and more by implementation need and customer requests during early stages of the engagement. We spun up a swarm style tactical team to address documentation, configuration guides, and trial templates to engage with our customers earlier on in the process. We also started to formalize our Customer Success process of handling requests. Our product team spun up the Customer Success initiative, focusing on highlighting and addressing gaps, bugs, improvements, and new features requested by partners and customers. From this point our product planning meetings and product sprints include tickets tagged in our Customer Success epic. In 2014 we answered and addressed over 100 bugs, improvements requests, and new features tagged in this epic. This does not include items resolved prior to reaching the product team or product roadmap items addressed alongside the customer success request.
Primary Feedback: Sales Prospecting, Current Customers, Partners.
Customer Success focus areas: Summary Improvements, Payments Improvements, Inventory Improvements
We partnered with the Salesforce Foundation leading into Dreamforce ’14. This provided us with an additional broad network of resources and input of knowledge. Not only are we better able to provide formal communication about the product, we’re also able to support added presence from immensely valuable informal avenues like the Power of Us Hub. So far in 2015 the product teams have addressed almost 100 improvements as part of the Customer Success epic. We are continuing to look for ways to improve communication and feedback loops.
This is the combination of communication channels into a seamless flow that provide feedback, suggestions, and ideas to set the product roadmap sprint by sprint and release by release. As we release we communicate changes, collect feedback and learn, and release again. Customer Success is a critical part of what we do every day.
Primary Feedback: Everyone
Customer Success focus areas: Batch Upload, Batch Gift Entry, Payment Processing Account Updater services, Online Donation Forms
Customer Success with the Power of Us Hub
Check out the Power of Us Hub to ask questions, share answers, and get more involved in the NGO Connect, Advancement Connect and Bios communities.
roundCorner exists to support the mission of nonprofits, institutions of higher education and foundations of all sizes. If you’d like to receive information about our products and services, please get in touch with us here.
Josh McDaniel is roundCorner’s Product Manager. He has been instrumental in shaping and evolving the core product based on market demand since inception. Josh has a passion leveraging cloud, mobile and social to transform nonprofit technology and fundraising for the digital generation. He is a native of Missouri, a Mizzou/STL sports fan. Josh’s favorite things are family, friends, mobile apps, travel and the beach.