Reward Cloud has grown a lot since I joined the team in early 2017. The number of Partners who have connected and the quantity of Retailers on the Network now is vastly different to the picture of when I joined. However the biggest shift in my eyes is the sheer volume of transactions. What would look like a good month to my early 2017 self would now look like a disastrous one to 2018 me.
During this time we have released over 115 version updates to our customers, that is an average of over 2.2 releases a week!
That is a lot of changes but the vast majority have been very customer focused improvements to our product. However, as any good Product Manager will tell you, balance is needed between releasing new features to your product whilst making sure you can keep supporting what you already have. So over the last few releases we have taken a bit of time out to focus on what we needed as a team to support our product and more importantly, our customers more effectively.
The first thing we did was to look closely at all our processes. With the huge addition of Partners, Retailers and transactions, we have to support a much larger Network today compared to just 12 months ago. It was very clear that the way we did things in 2017, that were acceptable and manageable at the time, were looking questionable now.
Our Customers are obviously familiar with our Hubs. We have a Partner version and a Brand version and they have seen a lot of updates in the last 12 months. Less well known is our own Management internal hub. Sadly this has not seen the same level of attention as our focus has been on our customer facing offerings. However we have now changed this as our own internal hub was the perfect place to start and build processes that can scale.
So what have we done?
We have focused our efforts on areas where we were using lots of disparate systems to handle requests. We have then bought these into our Management hub and unified them into one.
A good example is checking a gift code. When we receive a query on a gift code that we have sold, we check that code was sold correctly, its current status and whenever possible its balance. Previously this would have involved looking in various different logs and checking with the processor for the status of the card. Now all in one central place we can simply search for the code, check its status, any log information we need and the balance, all with a click of a button. We also have all the relevant contact details available should we need to take it further (saves us hunting around our inboxes).
This can save several minutes when dealing with issues, which means you get your answers quicker and we get more time to build you cool features and products!
Another area we have made huge changes in is how we keep track of each relationship between Partners and Brands. With the fast pace of new retailers and partners coming onto the network, the old ways of running SQL and outputting into a spreadsheet for the business team just wasn’t efficient enough. So now all that information is available at their fingertips within the Hub itself.
Onboarding new users has also been improved. Previously it needed one of the engineering team to setup the initial users for a Partner or Brand. Now this is all available in the Hub so the business team can jump on this themselves, speeding up the whole process.
These changes, especially the balance check, is something that we will be looking to extend to your Hubs in the near future, so all this internal work will soon also be of direct benefit to you. This balance between improving our existing product and releasing new stuff makes a Product Manager like myself very happy, and I hope it will make you all happy too!