We’re very excited to announce the launch of our brand new Community aimed at giving you, the customer, a chance to have your say of what features you would like to see within our Smoothwall products.
At Smoothwall we like to listen to needs of our customers and strive to develop and deliver solutions with you in mind, meaning that we can constantly ensure we’re providing you with The Web You Want. We tracked down our Head of Product, Phil Smith, to ask him some of the questions you may have and to give you all the information you need to know about the Community:
Phil, tell us a bit more about what the Smoothwall Community is?
The Smoothwall Community is a place where all Smoothwall customers can speak directly to the product team – helping to shape the future product and provide invaluable feedback on our plans.
How is the new community different to Smoothwall’s UserVoice?
UserVoice is invaluable to us, but it doesn’t give us the opportunity to share ideas or show concepts of new features like the community does.
Why did you decide to launch it?
As the company grows we want to be able to consider the needs of all our customers and with a relatively small product team, it’s hard to do this on an individual basis. Our customers get their Smoothwall filtering services in many ways – as an individual school, through a service from an LEA or other managed service provider, or as part of a multi-academy trust. We wanted to ensure we understood the needs of customers at all levels.
What can customers expect to do on the community?
They will be able to post ideas about the features they want to see, ask questions about future products, view demos of forthcoming features, request access to beta software and get involved in commenting on new concepts and features. Basically, they can get involved in anything that is heading towards release and future product potential.
Why will it help?
It gives us the best possible information to build the products our customers want and helps them plan future services as well as influence the direction of the product.
How quickly should customers expect a response or to hear feedback?
The entire product team will be monitoring the community as part of their day job. So if a customer doesn’t get a response within the same working day I will want to know why 🙂
Who can customers expect to hear back from?
The main individuals involved will be our Product Managers, however customers may also receive feedback from our UX designer, Categorisation Team Leader, Product Marketing Manager and Technical Author. Of course the entire company will be involved, so they could be speaking to anyone within Smoothwall.
What does the future of the community look like?
Depends how involved customers get with it – we will almost certainly introduce special groups for certain topics (for example, Safeguarding), but we could open up more services for customers to take the lead in certain areas.
How are Smoothwall doing things differently to other vendors?
We want our customers to build direct relationships with the product people that drive the future direction of the product. Messages will go straight to the source, no danger of dilution, and the opportunity for us to work with specific customers on specific issues. We’ve been doing it this year with Safeguarding to great success and so wanted to extend this to other parts of the product.
When will it launch?
The Smoothwall Community will launch to all customers on Monday 11th November 2016.
And most importantly, how do customers get involved?
Customers can get involved straight away by visiting the community website and signing up.