How Athennian Builds Better Software and Better Relationships Through the Customer Love Sprint

One of Athennian’s priorities since day one has been to create partnerships with our customers that last forever. We prioritize receiving customer feedback through various surveys in Athennian, plus our built-in Feedback Center. 

We say we love our customers. But how do we actually show you that we’re listening?

One way is to work on new features that require a big lift from our development teams. In addition to these updates being important, they are how we continue to improve upon the user experience in Athennian. 

However, small updates can have a big impact on how Athennian users navigate their day-to-day workload and are equally important when it comes to building strong, life-long partnerships. Updates like:

  • Making changes to workflows that already exist 
  • Reducing the number of clicks (and time taken) to complete a task 
  • Fixing pain points many customers are encountering in commonly used areas of the application

It’s these details that, when addressed and accomplished, create trust and build better relationships. However, when they’re overlooked, they can quickly create frustration when using the platform. 

We realized that pushing out several new features over the coming months meant that we would not be as responsive to customer requests as we wanted to be. Something needed to change. 

Introducing The Customer Love Sprint

A sprint is a short, time-boxed period (usually two weeks long) when a development team works to complete a set amount of tasks. Using this method, Athennian’s feature updates are built in a series of “sprints” that break down big, complex initiatives into bite-sized pieces. 

At first, it seemed risky to dedicate an entire sprint solely to smaller items; would this impact roadmap items that we’d already committed to? How would our development teams feel about shifting their focus?

We had to at least try it out! 

How Does it Work? 

It all started by collaborating with various teams to identify what we wanted to focus on in the initial sprint. We wanted to ensure we were focused on items that would have the most impact for the most customers.

We reviewed feedback we had heard from customers and key team members. We collected this feedback from several channels at Athennian, including: 

  • Zendesk customer support tickets 
  • Feedback Center
  • Conversations with customers 
  • Net promoter score surveys in Athennian 
  • Slack channels including #team-product, #product-feedback, #customer-experience, and more 

The various pieces of feedback we received were reviewed and prioritized by the product team, and refined into a single to-do list in the form of a sprint.

From there, developers were able to self-select the items that they want to work on. The entire company had visibility into the Customer Love Sprint dashboard to track what had been completed, what was in progress, and what’s coming up next. 

By allowing all of our development teams to choose what to work on, everyone got to follow their own interests. The Customer Love Sprint created an opportunity for everyone to collaborate in ways we never had before. 

What’s Next? 

We’re excited to start closing support tickets and updating the platform with new, easier-to-use workflows. But how will we measure success for Customer Love Sprints? There are a few obvious metrics: 

  • Number of support tickets closed. 
  • Amount of work we release during the sprint. 

However, there are measures of success that we expect beyond this. 

  • Improved customer experience.
  • Reduced number of new support tickets because workflows are more intuitive.
  • Improved collaboration and internal team development. 
  • A more holistic view of the quality of Athennian as a whole once the Customer Love Sprint is over.
  • Stronger, better relationships with our customers. 

We know there will always be more that we can do. However, by making an intentional investment of time and resources, we’re confident that we’re on the right track toward building better software, and better relationships. 

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