Dec 04 - 5min readBehind the Curtain: Why the Internal Tools You Can’t See MatterBy Jennifer Green
Behind the curtain of every great digital product is a great internal product, reports, dashboards and tools that the team uses to manage everything your users will need. However, an effective internal user experience can be closely linked to a good customer experience. At Borne, our product management team use analytics tools to monitor user trends and see how they are engaging with the product. These analytics tools allow for a seamless workflow in your product sprint. By feeding data on your product into these systems, our team can make informed decisions based on the data they are seeing.
Without these analytics, our product managers would seem directionless in their approach to innovation. By making data-driven decisions, we can ensure that a strategic path is taken to improve many aspects of a product, enhancing the overall user experience.
Some of the key flows that product management teams could be monitoring include free-trial conversion, on-boarding, upsells and new feature launches. By our team keeping a close eye on this data, we can fine-tune your existing product to increase conversions. We have noticed that the collection of valuable in-app data is an area that often goes overlooked by tech companies of all sizes, from start-ups right through to massive corporations.
An example of back-end tools:
We understand that our product teams are responsible for revenue and to understand the key metrics that drive business results so they can facilitate product growth. Customer feedback has remained an essential part of our product development approach and Amplitude helps our product managers to identify the unique characteristics of users who are likely to continue using your product in the long-haul. Alongside this, it can expertly break down the key paths of your product’s sales funnel to improve conversions between the steps. Amplitude provides more than just vanity metrics, enabling our product team to gain a complete and clear picture of how users are behaving inside of your product. Our product managers can measure the impact of their team’s innovative experiments, with tracking systems to assess the impact of new product features.
How Back-End Tools Maintain Your Product:
Controlling Your Revenue
No-one wants angry customers and bad customer service is a quick way to create these issues. For example, an inapt internal tool with too many redundant steps can slow responses to customer queries, leading to frustrated customers. Just because your customers cannot see your internal products doesn’t mean they are not benefiting from it in some way. If your team can create higher-quality work, more efficiently, your business can respond and grow faster.
You Are Less Likely to Make Mistakes
By making a poor user experience, it can make it easier to fall into poor quality traps. Small details like the ambiguous ‘save’ button next to the ‘save’ button can cause mayhem! Simple mistakes like these can cause loss of customers which will lead to the loss of that all-important revenue. If you combine these unsettled users with social media, you have a pretty ugly situation for your product. Taking the time to improve internal tools can save a lot of pain further down the line. Just because unit tests pass and the basic feature functions does not mean something will work seamlessly.
Aside from sloppy user experience causing errors and mistakes, training your team is expensive, if you are needing to teach magic tricks to enable a person to be productive, that is not exactly an effective approach. Keeping this in mind, some things are worth training for, like how your business can run more effectively or how to engage your customers. On the other hand, some features should be intuitive enough for anyone to use without much guidance but it’s a thought process that is often only applied to the end user.
Improving Your Features
- Ask Your Development Team
Treat your team like your users, as we are likely to interact with your product on a daily basis. During Design Sprint, it is common to ‘ask the experts’ so asking people that are not stakeholders about their and experiences and the problems that they may face. Your team has first-hand knowledge of the things that are slowing down internal process, and the most common feature issues that users may face. So, if your internal products need work, and you’re looking to fix them, try asking your team how they would get around this issue. You may be surprised how effectively those workarounds can be converted into a much-improved feature with a bit more effort and time put into it. Our team feel that it is important to get feedback from people at every level since managers and stakeholders don’t know everything. Gathering research and testing with your team as well as your users is highly valuable.
- Making It a Habit
Rather than letting internal bugs build up, tackle them when related user features are improved or developed, eventually your team will get into the habit of considering external and internal users when planning design sprints. Small and gradual improvements are better than nothing happening at all, leaving issues to pile up will come back to haunt you.
- Scope Out the Problems
If you are having issues justifying allocating time to internal tools, try measuring the effect tools are currently having on the rest of the business. If you can generate metrics that prove productivity is taking a hit or errors are on the rise. If this is the case, it may be time to hold off on the new features and refine internal tools and processes. However, don’t fall victim to only measuring the misses, once improvements are being made, make sure to keep track of the product wins.
Before You Go…
You can get so caught up with internal communication that you forget about the end-consumer and how they interact and use your product to solve a problem. Internal features don’t have to go stale and are worth the time investment, even if your users cannot see the improvements directly. Seamless internal products can improve your external product, and the experiences of your users. Good internal products can make your company a better place to work and save money that would have been spent on training.
Luckily, they can be improved quickly, especially if you listen to your team. Continuously improving internal products, and in the process listening to your team shows that you value their opinions. A happier team is more likely to be creative, and offer opinions that are helpful that face the company as a whole. So maybe it is worth considering spending just a little more time improving the features that users can’t see.
Reach out to us to dive into the nitty gritty of your features for your digital product and build a product that is seamless both internally and externally.