Whatever industry you're developing software for, your ultimate goal is to listen to your customers, and create products that satisfy their expectations. Whether your end product is a piece of software embedded in passenger cars, or a yoga app for smartphones, you want to make sure that it does exactly what it's supposed to do, and that your customers are satisfied with it. Getting feedback from all stakeholders is essential, which is why it's a basic principle of Agile and DevOps frameworks.
Developing software doesn't end at release. Instead, operations takes over to handle any issues, bugs, change requests, etc that your customers report. DevOps helps move product quality concerns and measures upstream in the development lifecycle, helping you build quality products.
Want to learn more about the history and basics of DevOps? Check out our 2-piece post series:
This poses a challenge from both the development point of view (accommodating user feedback in the process of development/operations), and in terms of customer service (customers' experience of how their issues are treated could greatly affect the perceived value of your product). Building software is basically transformed into a collaborative process between customers and your organization. Adapting to this change calls for an adequate platform to manage the processes involved in gather and addressing customer feedback.
Connecting customers and development processes
E-mailing back and forth to discuss bugs or change requests may be fun and can add a nice personal touch, but it's certainly not the most efficient way of processing issues. Not to mention that using this inefficient solution, a manual process is needed to add issues or tasks, and to track development in your ALM, making this a lengthy and effort-intensive process. No wonder that smart companies choose to use specific customer service tools instead.
codeBeamer's Service Desk functionality has been designed to enhance collaboration and communication with customers and outside partners by connecting them with your internal processes.
Enhanced customer experience with the Service Desk
The Service Desk feature set enables you to customize a user-friendly interface for your customers, allowing them to submit issues, bugs, change or feature requests, etc. conveniently. These issues will be integrated into your application lifecycle. Once the issue is submitted, your Service Agent can decide how to move forward with it: s/he can either reply to the user directly in a comment, forward the issue to the Operations team to provide further support, assign it to Development if resolving the issue needs more work, or direct it to management as an input to Demand Management (if the user has requested a whole new feature set, for example). Complete traceability will of course be maintained throughout the process.
In the meantime, your users will be able to monitor the status of their issues. Let's say, for instance, that your user has asked for a minor bug fix, which the Service Agent has forwarded to the dev team. The developers have decided to include the bug fix in the next sprint, set to be released within 3 weeks. The user will be notified about this, and will be able to monitor the progress of development – when the dev team has actually started working on the bug fix, and when it has been moved over to testing.
Escalation management & process automation
Our Service Desk functionality also enables you to automate certain processes, letting you trigger automated actions (the creation of work items, for instance) by customer-submitted issues.
codeBeamer's escalation management capabilities let you set notifications to the Service Agent about unaddressed issues, or to management if no action is taken on critical issues / important customers. Customizable Kanban boards help you stay in control of all issues, and overview their statuses. Together, these features help you manage issues under custom SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with your customers.
The Service Desk also integrates nicely into our SAFe® template (Scaled Agile Framework), allowing you to collect and organize issues on the Program level, and assign tasks to teams easily.