RepBoost

RepBoost

Role: Product Designer & Product Manager
Status: Active 

Demandforce is an Automated Marketing Communications platform which helps small-medium sized businesses send appointment reminders, marketing campaigns, and manage their online reputation.

RepBoost is a package of improvements to the Demandforce’s existing reputation management capabilities. A partnership with Merchant Centric provides businesses with a dashboard to manage their online reputation on sites such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. As well, the capturing feedback process is made smarter with Intelligent Reviews, which sends consumers to write reviews to Google, Yelp, and Facebook instead of only Demandforce Local. The partnership with Merchant Centric provides Demandforce with data to also give businesses more visibility of their online reputation. A new Dashboard widget was created using data Merchant Centric provided, such as a breakdown of positive, neutral, and negative reviews.

Why did you do this project?

Businesses do not have visibility of their online reputation outside of Demandforce Local (Demandforce's Small Business Directory). Our current reputation builder is very limited in functionality, and does not help improve the online reputation of our businesses’ Google, Yelp, Facebook, and etc profiles. With growing competitive pressure from platforms like Birdeye and Yext, our businesses need a more robust way to manage their online reputation in a convenient manner.

Businesses do not have visibility of their online reputation outside of Demandforce Local. Our current reputation builder is very limited in functionality, and does not help improve the online reputation of our businesses’ Google, Yelp, Facebook, and etc profiles. With growing competitive pressure from platforms like Birdeye and Yext, our businesses need a more robust way to manage their online reputation in a convenient manner.

How did you do the project?

Competitive Research

Competitive Research

In the various SaaS platforms SMB clients could use, Demandforce fits in the middle of the operations of a SMB. However, with the growing number of specialized software and industry specific platforms, Demandforce is experiencing competitive pressure from both ends. To get a lay of the land, I researched several of the largest competitors in online reputation platforms. Birdeye, Yext, Vendasta, Yotpo, to name a few. As well, I researched how our direct competitors Lighthouse 360, Solution Reach, and Weave Communications were handling online reputation for their customers.

In the various SaaS platforms SMB clients could use, Demandforce fits in the middle of the operations of a SMB. However, with the growing number of specialized software and industry specific platforms, Demandforce is experiencing competitive pressure from both ends. To get a lay of the land, I researched several of the largest competitors in online reputation platforms. Birdeye, Yext, Vendasta, Yotpo, to name a few. As well, I researched how our direct competitors Lighthouse 360, Solution Reach, and Weave Communications were handling online reputation for their customers.

Product Requirements Documentation

Product Requirements Documentation

I worked with my manager, Greg Li, to create the Product Requirements Document which defined the problem, target customers, solution, success criteria, user flow, and rollout plan. We were strategic with our development and releases as RepBoost involved so many product enhancements. RepBoost was split into 2 epics. First epic was to create an MVP our sales teams could sell with to gather feedback and determine our go to market pricing strategy. Second epic was to build the new Reputation Widget with a Self-Upgrade process to reduce strain on our sales and customer support teams. 

IA Flow Diagrams

MVP Flow
Reputation Widget Flow

Product Design

I was responsible for the UI and UX design for this feature. This involved documenting the use cases, competitive research, creating wireframes and high fidelity prototypes, and conducting various design critiques with my team. I presented design solutions to engineers and stakeholders to gather feedback to incorporate into the final design. 

I was responsible for the UI and UX design for this feature. This involved documenting the use cases, competitive research, creating wireframes and high fidelity prototypes, and conducting various design critiques with 3 designers on my team. 

New Reputation Widget

Per our partnership, Merchant Centric is able to provide us with Entry Level Data on a business’s online reputation. We were able to use the following data to create a more informed Reputation Widget.

  1. Review Sentiment: Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews categorized into
    Positive, Neutral, and Negative.
  2. Total number of Reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook
  3. Business’s Average Star Rating and Marketing Score
  4. Business’s Competitor Average Star Rating and Marketing Score
  5. Negative Review Alerts

Per our partnership, Merchant Centric is able to provide us with Entry Level Data on a business’s online reputation. We were able to use the following data to create a more informed Reputation Widget.

  1. Review Sentiment: Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews categorized into
    Positive, Neutral, and Negative.
  2. Total number of Reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook
  3. Business’s Average Star Rating and Marketing Score
  4. Business’s Competitor Average Star Rating and Marketing Score
  5. Negative Review Alerts

Development of the New Widget

Widget Evolution2

Original Reputation Widget

Old Widget

Released Reputation Widget

Released Widget 2

Social Sites

Social Sites

Three review sites we wanted to focus on were Google, Yelp, and Facebook as they are the most popular among our customers. Users can filter the results in the graph by clicking on each review site's logo. Demandforce (DF) was deselected for users by default as most of our business users had hundreds of reviews. This large amount of data would skew the graph and render the new data we were providing for Google, Yelp, and Facebook to be invaluable.

RB Social Sites

Review Sentiment

Review Sentiment

Merchant Centric has the capability to determine the sentiment of the reviews written online. They categorized reviews into Positive, Neutral, and Negative. This gave our users greater insight into how their online reputation was performing that our previous "Average Rating" could not provide.

RB Review sentiment

Negative Review Alerts

Negative Review Alerts

Using Merchant Centric's ability to determine the sentiment of the reviews, we are able to alert our users of any Negative Reviews found within the past 30 days. While negative reviews are damaging to a business's online reputation, the business's response to a customer's poor experience can be more valuable than a reply to a neutral or even a positive review. Clicking on "Reply" will send the users with RepBoost  to their Merchant Centric portal with the Negative Reviews filtered out for them to reply.

RB Negative Review notification

Competitor Data

Competitor Data

Data is only useful if it is put into context. When the widget is expanded, users can see their Average Rating and Marketing Score in comparison to the top performing competitor in their local area. Merchant Centric automatically selects a Top Competitor within our Business's local area. Clicking on "Pick another competitor" will send users with RepBoost to Merchant Centric's Competitor App to select another competitor.

RB Competitor data

Reputation Widget in Action

Design Specification

I documented various interactions and scenarios for developers to understand how all the pieces of RepBoost should work with each other. For example, RepBoost required a customer support manager to manually activate the feature. When they activated the feature, the button on the UI initiated a number of background processes such as calling an API to Merchant Centric and communicating with Salesforce to update the status of RepBoost features. I wrote out all possible scenarios and worked with various teams such as Business Operations, Legal, Billing, and Marketing to ensure that our delivered product covered all essential requirements and expectations.

Design Specification

Release Plan

Release Plan

I presented our final specifications for review with our CTO, Project Managers, and the teams at Merchant Centric. This project was highly visible to executives as this was the first feature offering Demandforce was providing which was positioned as a “premium upgrade”.

"Will customers find RepBoost to be valuable?"

There were many unknowns with RepBoost as it was Demandforce's first in-product upgrade offered to customers. RepBoost is Demandforce’s first upgrade offering since it started helping Small Medium sized Businesses automate their patient/customer communications. Typically, customers paid a flat monthly rate which provided full access. We were unsure if RepBoost would damaging to our relationship with our customers as it may appear we were just out for their wallets.

This is why we created a MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, for our sales teams to pitch RepBoost to a select 300 customers in order to answer the following questions:

  1. Will customers find RepBoost to be valuable?
  2. How much should we charge for RepBoost?
  3. Is it worth the effort and resources to build out RepBoost?

As the product manager, I worked with project managers, developers, and QA engineers to explain and verify feature functionality. I helped act on any blockers and facilitate meetings between necessary parties in order to ensure a timely release. I also worked with Marketing, Training, and Client Success teams to address any questions or concerns regarding the new package of features.

What did you learn?

“Will Customers Buy RepBoost?”

In the first 3 months, RepBoost has demonstrated a 43% take rate among customers. Producing this metric required a lot of strategic planning and a very lean approach to product development.  Product team had to demonstrate the potential profitability of the strategic partnership with Merchant Centric. As well, a pricing strategy had to be established yet we didn’t have much knowledge of how our customers would react. Our MVP, which was basically a button that deeplinked to Merchant Centric’s dashboard, helped us demonstrate the value of this feature offering and establish a pricing strategy for our sales teams to use in their pitch. Although the MVP was not visually compelling, the MVP helped us answer a crucial question.  

MVP Admin Activation of RepBoost

Admin Activation of RepBoost

Admin Activation

MVP RepBoost Deeplink for Users

MVP Button

We created a button for Admin users to manually activate RepBoost for any business if they’ve agreed to upgrade their Demandforce subscription.  Our goal was to reach a 15% take rate at a price of an additional $100/mo. The end result was 40% take rate among our new and existing customers over the course of a 2 month evaluation period. To date, the take rate for RepBoost is around 43%. As well, our sales teams used the MVP to test their sell pitch to customers and determine a price to sell RepBoost.

This seemingly simple button involved a lot of backend processes, such as the creation of Activation and Deactivation APIs, which started the groundwork for an automated Self-Upgrade process for our customers. Several issues with our MVP arose, such as Customer Representatives forgetting to activate RepBoost after selling a business on it or errors with activation. These issues will be resolved with the release of a Self-Upgrade Process. 

“Learn to bend or risk breaking”

Touching any part of the platform could cause another feature to break. I worked very closely with developers, QA engineers, and our support/training teams to gather a better understanding of how Demandforce was built to anticipate any issues with developing so many new features as part of RepBoost.  Many features were descoped and workarounds were negotiated, yet it was a great experience to see how important constant communication was.

“Can't sell without a show”

Our primary customer are Business Owners, and we depend on our sales teams to sell our product. Due to a legacy feature, we had to update 2 SaaS platforms. The Demandforce portal our customers use is in a production environment. Yet our sales teams use a separate portal on a demo environment to sell the feature and demonstrate all the functionalities of Demandforce. Not updating the Demo portal was an oversight, so we had to work quickly with Merchant Centric to create demo portals on their platform and connect it to our demo portal. As well, the team which maintains our demo portals are based in China. So we had to plan and strategically coordinate any changes to our demo portal.

My greatest takeaway: Create a demo portal which is in your production environment so you can avoid having to update 2 environments for every new feature.

"Customer Support is also important for good UX"

RepBoost created many firsts for Demandforce since its creation in 2003. I led meetings with Training, Customer Support, Sales, and Marketing managers to demonstrate the various changes we had planned so they could train and prepare their teams. These client facing teams were trained on the various features and essential protocol to handle situations such as activation errors and RepBoost removal. 

What's next?

What's next?

Self-Upgrade Process (In Development)

Currently, if existing customers want to upgrade to RepBoost, they have to call a Client Success Manager. To reduce the strain on our CSMs, we're creating a self-upgrade process for customers to upgrade to RepBoost within their Demandforce portal. You can try the self-upgrade in the InVision prototype

Self-Upgrade Process
(In Development)

Currently, if existing customers want to upgrade to RepBoost, they have to call a Client Success Manager. To reduce the strain on our CSMs, we're creating a self-upgrade process for customers to upgrade to RepBoost within their Demandforce portal. You can try the self-upgrade in the InVision prototype

Self-Upgrade Flow2

Get in touch

Get in touch

Send me questions, comments, and concerns via email.
Podcast and music recommendations are welcomed as well. 

Reach out if you’d like to talk about a project, ask me a question, or have feedback. If you have any music or podcasts recommendations, feel free
to send them as well. 

Send me questions, comments, and concerns via email. Podcast and music recommendations are welcomed as well.