As the new year approaches, all of us here at PestPac wanted to give our customers a glimpse into upcoming features currently in development. We also wanted to share a look into our product feature processes, including how our team fields feature requests, performs usability tests and more. That’s why we’re kicking off an ongoing series from our Product Management team, designed to keep customers informed on changes to PestPac as they happen.
Throughout the year our team receives an influx of feature requests from PestPac customers and do their best to prioritize them, while strategically allocating resources to address each based on level of impact.
New Features: From Concept to Release
Before new product features can be rolled out to customers, our product team, designers and engineers work through the following process.
Discovery and Innovation
The process begins by first developing market insights including assessing specific customer needs and detecting industry trends. With the high volume of feature requests our team receives it’s vital to identify whether or not the feature would address the needs of a wide variety of customers. A key component of this stage is obtaining feedback from existing PestPac customers. Listening to our customers allows us to develop and update our software in a way that is truly beneficial and suits their needs. We gather customer feedback through various research methods.
Surveys are conducted on a quarterly basis, pertaining to a specific topic our team is looking to gather more research on. The results of customer surveys help guide virtual focus groups.
Each quarter we host virtual focus groups for PestPac customers. These sessions allow customers to talk directly to our Product Managers, sharing their wants and needs regarding a specific topic or feature. Keep an eye on PestPac, as you may be invited to participate in future PestPac focus groups!
We’re proud to announce that the PestPac team is launching usability testing in 2018. Usability testing is a crucial aspect of user-centered design and involves testing new features with specially recruited users. Most tests involve participants working through tasks while being observed. Ideally, these tests will help identify usability flaws before features before development even starts. The PestPac team is excited to implement usability testing into our research methods so stay tuned, as you may be recruited for testing in the future.
Planning and Development
After discovery the team must prioritize opportunities and allocate resource time to work on new features. The design and development teams begin to take the feature from concept to reality. As the architecture of the project begins to take shape the team will make adjustments based on their findings.
New Product Introduction
Following development and testing, preparations for the product launch begin. This includes internal training for the PestPac support team and releasing communications to educate users on new features and functionality. Finally, the feature can be rolled out to users.
Post-Launch Product Management
The process doesn’t end once the feature has gone live, after launch our team goes into management mode. We begin by tracking customer satisfaction and evaluating metrics and KPIs, this allows our team to make product updates as necessary.
Upcoming New Features
Now that you have some insight into the process behind feature development, here’s a look at upcoming features to be released in 2018.
Thresholds & Action Plans
Commercial PestPac customers can expect to see an enhanced Thresholds screen included in PestPac, the new CustomerConnect+ portal, and Mobile interface. A triggered threshold can activate an Action Plan, or set of tasks, for the technician to complete to resolve the pest problem. Included in this update are the updated design of thresholds and customer-facing emails, the ability to see thresholds on locations and notifications.
In addition to Threshold enhancements, commercial customers will benefit from our new Customer Portal (CustomerConnect+) which will include enhanced commercials features like pest activity reports and graphs in our Report Console. Account management has also been improved, allowing uers to add new users and set permissions with ease. Users will also have the ability to control the look and feel of their customer portal so it better matches their company branding.
This redesign of the Diagrams and Areas & Devices screens will allow users to view a heat map illustrating the greatest areas of pest activity at a given site. This update also provides the ability to upload diagrams and view historical diagrams, providing a look back a particular point in time.
This update to PestPac’s Mobile app will look to add tasks as a function within mobile. In doing so we will also make some changes to help simplify the navigation within a service order by introducing a checklist style interface that can be used to track progression while working through a service order. These checklist items should be configurable based on the location type (ex. Residential, Commercial, Food Plant, etc). Depending on the modules techs have access to (IPM or Termite) they will see additional checklist items
The focus group had revealed to us that users felt they would benefit from a more visual optimization tool to help them better understand the logic of the algorithm and to allow subtle adjustments to be made to satisfy customer needs and/or maximize the efficiency of their technicians.
We look forward to rolling out these features in the coming year, stay tuned for future installments in this series detailing upcoming product updates. For more information on PestPac’s features and functionality, please visit PestPac University - now free for all customers!