How Muddy Boots Software maximizes developer resources by making data-driven product decisions

  • Company Size

    Mid-Market

  • Headquarters

    Herefordshire, UK

  • Industry

    Supply Chain SaaS

Muddy Boots was established in 1996, initially developing crop recording software, and has been producing food supply chain software since 2001, providing the farm and food industry with quality control, sustainability, food safety, and supply chain transparency solutions. Today, the company’s Greenlight suite consists of 4 core products, one of which is Greenlight Grower Management.

Muddy Boots’ Greenlight Grower Management is a farm management tool that helps farmers and growers manage their food supply through its entire lifecycle, from seed to harvest. It’s primarily used by the growers themselves and the agronomists tasked with advising farmers in regards to their crops.

Since its launch in 2014, the product’s user base has grown rapidly, and the Greenlight Grower Management team has successfully scaled its product development practices to keep up with the needs of its users. UserVoice has played a key role in helping the team engage with and understand their growing user base and make data-driven decisions about what to build. As a result, the team knows it is allocating resources to the right features; giving customers the tools they need to succeed.

Understanding users at scale while keeping the backlog in check

Before implementing UserVoice, the Greenlight Grower Management team got most of its product feedback through face-to-face interactions with customers, indirectly from account managers or customer support agents, via emails, in-app messaging, or during customer training sessions.

According to Mark Powell, Product Development Manager for the Muddy Boots’ Greenlight Grower Management product, from the start there was a lot of feedback coming in and without a process for capturing and organizing it, the team’s backlog got a bit out of hand.

“Using UserVoice we’ve been able to shape our product roadmap based on feedback and are able to make sure that we aren’t wasting developer resources.”

Mark Powell Product Development Manager

“We’d get feedback via email, which would typically go right into the backlog. Our backlog devolved into this never-ending list of things that had been requested and they’d become really difficult to manage,” he explains.

Early on, the team realized they would need to change their feedback process to keep up with the massive growth they had planned. “We recognized that if we doubled the amount of users we have this year, the amount of feedback we’d be getting that way would be unmanageable. We reached a tipping point where we said ‘if we meet our growth ambitions, our feedback method is not scalable,’” Powell explains, “Now, UserVoice gives us a scalable way of gathering feedback.”

Today, the team gathers feedback directly from customers in their UserVoice feedback forums and through feedback widgets, and is using UserVoices’ Contributor Sidebar to gather indirect feedback through their support team and account managers. All of the product feedback then gets aggregated and organized within UserVoice, which acts as a kind of “gate” before the backlog. “With UserVoice in place, we can strip out all of those things in our backlog that we’re not yet sure whether we want to act on or not. Our backlog is now more streamlined with just the things we want to work on,’” says Powell.

Using data to prioritize and validate product decisions

Ultimately having a scalable feedback process enables the product team to make more informed product decisions. Before implementing UserVoice, the team had a general idea of what features mattered to users but had no way to gauge how important each request was. When considering building a new feature, they’d have to guess at potential adoption numbers to determine whether developing said feature was a worthwhile investment. “We didn’t really have any hard facts to back it up, it was just a feeling from what we know about the marketplace,” Powell explains.

UserVoice provides customer data for each product request, which takes away the guesswork from prioritization decisions. The team now has additional context behind customer requests and can segment requests in ways that are important to their business, such as what current customers are requesting versus what prospects are requesting, and what satisfied customers versus unsatisfied customers are requesting. “With UserVoice’s net promoter score data we can see what’s being requested by advocates compared to detractors, so we have extra details there,” says Powell.

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In addition to the contextualized feedback data they get from UserVoice forums, the Greenlight Grower Management product team uses UserVoice’s SmartVote widget to run user polls that help them prioritize lists of requests.

Like most product teams, the Greenlight Grower Management team strives to ensure they’re building things users actually want and at the end of the day, UserVoice data gives the product team the qualitative and quantitative data they need to make smart decisions that serve both customer needs and business objectives.

“We’ve calculated the cost of one of our sprints at ~$20,000. Just in the limited time that we’ve been using UserVoice we’ve been able to shape our product roadmap based on feedback and are able to make sure that we aren’t wasting developer resources,” he said.

Better communication for higher customer satisfaction

Before implementing UserVoice, following up with users with status updates on their feedback was a daunting task, often requiring time and effort from other teams like support and sales, who would have to find ways to manually find and reach out to customers and prospects who had requested something and share status updates with them. Powell explains this was a fairly inconsistent method, “We were sending different messages out to different users but also some users weren’t hearing anything back at all.” But now, that process is much more effective, “Through UserVoice, we now know exactly who’s voted on things, so they can all get notified and all get the same consistent message around the status of that.”

Consistency and efficiency aren’t the only benefits of using UserVoice to close the feedback loop, says Powell, “Following up makes everyone who’s voted on something feel like their request has been listened to, so that in turn improves customer satisfaction and improves retention of customers. We are a SaaS company, and run on annual renewals. We need to keep the recurring revenues as high as possible and this happens with tools like UserVoice that help increase customer satisfaction.”