Keeping Up with Product Changes

December 19, 2021

In the age of continuous deployment, web-based products are evolving faster than ever before. Whether it’s a bug fix, UI change or a new functionality, it’s important for Customer Success to stay up to date with product changes. Changes come in different sizes, technical risk and net impact to the customer base. Your goal is to strike a balance between keeping everyone informed and not overwhelming stakeholders with too many details. Here are some tactics you can implement in your CS operations to ensure your team are prepared on changes, big or small:

Have someone from Customer Success attend sprint planning. If your development team runs a regular planning meeting, see if a representative from customer success can attend this meeting. They are tasked to report back to the team on general areas being worked on and high-level summary of the product roadmap and keep the CS department in the loop. It’s also a great way for support reps to level up their operational knowledge by getting a peek at the development process.

Create a customer facing updates section. Whether this is a segment in a daily newsletter, a page on a documentation site or directly in the app, I recommend creating a location to display product changes for your customers. It’s more efficient than communicating changes to each requester. When customers submit a feature request or report a bug, they can monitor the updates section for their requested change. Your team can then close the case once the bug/request has been logged.

The product or development team will be responsible for adding to this section. In practice, not all changes need to be announced. Small bug fixes or UI tweaks are technically changes but do not have enough customer impact to merit an announcement. When determining if a change is worth announcing or not, consider how many customers are impacted and how often they use the recently changed behaviour. 

Get involved in the beta process on larger changes. Product teams often put large changes through a beta phase before fully releasing to production. Try to get someone from customer success involved in this process, to help with questions and manage feedback from beta testers. Through this involvement, they can provide training for the team prior to launch and be a feature expert for the team when it goes live.

Always remember to update documentation right away. It’s a simple tip but difficult to execute. Changes, especially large ones, often impact many parts of the platform and require documentation updates to multiple sections. Implement a process for assigning ownership and due date for this task to ensure it gets done in a timely manner. Consider tagging your documentation articles by functionalities and features to help identify which needs updating when a change occurs. 

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