Use a Suggestion Box for Users
Feedback from users is great, and its 100% necessary in order to build a powerful UX for your organization. However, feedback with no checks and balances can quickly spiral out of control. In the consulting space its an all too common scenario where we are brought in to “revamp” Salesforce for an organization. Immediately, it’s pretty clear which organizations have had a sense of a release schedule, or feedback process as the ones that do not often are carrying around a load of technical debt.
Do your page layouts have 10+ fields that are often never used? Do we have automated processes that were once important but now obsolete? All of these things can drastically impact the usability of an org and ultimately its adoption. Like many things Salesforce, the problem is less of a technical issue or a resource issue but a planning/strategy issue. As an admin it’s your job to help develop this feedback strategy and as a consultant cleaning up technical debt without establishing a feedback strategy is only a temporary fix.
Being a Salesforce admin can be a space that’s quite difficult to manage as your often battling pressure from different departments, individual users, and even the platform itself when certain technical adjustments need to be made. It’s happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to many others where the role quickly can turn into a “yes I can do that” type of environment. This is a dangerous habit to adopt and it will not only decrease your productivity but ultimately hurt the businesses. Your colleagues will temporarily love you and it will feel nice to please them, but long term it is unsustainable.
Gather Feedback in Salesforce
Obviously we do not want to discourage users from providing feedback, but we want to coach them on the best way to provide this to us. Ironically, one of the first units in trailhead shows us how to build a “suggestion app” in Salesforce. This same methodology can be used to gather user requests and UX feedback. It can be as simple as a custom object with a few fields placed somewhere where it is easy to access, consider using something like a global action so they can do this on the fly. Some simple items we can look to capture are the following:
Who submitted the feedback (Role, Profile, Manager)
When the feedback was submitted
Type of request (Feature, Automation, Field, Report)
Every business is different, but remember that if we’re encouraging feedback this needs to be easy. We do not want feedback coming in through email or an excel sheet; leveraging salesforce to log and track these feedback items will help the whole organization understand more about their processes. Just as app designers from social networks gather feedback from users, your instances first “customer” is its internal users – use this philosophy to take control of your UX.
Create a Cadence Around Salesforce UX/Feature Feedback
Gathering the feedback from our users is only the first step. Remember, our issue was not the lack of feedback but a process to handle the feedback. Now that we have the data in a format where it’s easy to digest, think about how often we a meeting may be required with stakeholders to decode it.
If you have Sales, Service, and Marketing all working in Salesforce you’ll want to look at the feedback items from users with their managers. From here you can determine which items are valid and necessary and perhaps which items need more discussion between their respective teams. Perhaps the managers of these teams will want to talk through the feedback with their team to make sure processes are aligned.
Depending on the size/complexity of the organization meetings may need to be held on different timeframes, but the idea is to keep them short and sweet. Being able to provide aggregated data to management will allow for these conversations to be less philosophical and more task oriented.
Develop a Rollout Process: Salesforce Release Schedule
Now that we’ve developed a method to obtain feedback and review it, we will need a method to build, test, and launch configurations that make the cut. We will need a way to rollout “hot fixes” or emergencies for mission critical tasks, but the majority of items can be rolled out in an orderly fashion. Depending on speed of business needs and resources available this schedule will need to be designed to your business (Bi-Monthly, Monthly, etc.). Consider the process below for a simple methodology on how to rollout UI changes:
UI Feedback: Managers to review feedback with teams or SFDC admin
SFDC admin to build out new functionality within x -x timeframe (depends on bandwidth) in a sandbox
Power users will test functionality and approve in sandbox before its migration
Salesforce admin will send an Announcement of changes to impacted users and deploy configurations to production
What Do You Gain?
Following this process may seem tedious for simple features, but it will allow you to:
Take control of the implementation lifecycle and scale your administration team accordingly.
Eliminate unnecessary work and technical debt for organizations. If your organization is working with a consultant, it will most likely also decrease billable hours because they will only focus on items that matter in an organized fashion.
Decrease confusion for new features upon rollout because they have been discussed, planned, and announced.
Need help with a roll-out plan for Salesforce? Give us a call and we’ll take you through our proven process of rolling out Salesforce.