At Curve Dental, our goal is to meet and, whenever possible, exceed the needs of our customers. To achieve this goal, we rely not only on research, experience, and market demands but also on customer feedback.
Direct customer data provides us with the necessary insight to understand what users require from their dental software. Utilizing a Data-Driven Decision Making (DDDM) process, we collect and analyze data that we use to implement strategies that benefit the user experience.
Our aim in implementing the DDDM process is to integrate techniques in the design and development phases that deliver a customer-focused outcome.
How do we gather the data we need?
The implementation of new features, and the enhancement of current functionality is influenced by user interactions within Curve Hero, our practice management software. Through the collection of user data, we better understand which features provide value to our customers. This information is crucial for determining effective workflow strategies that benefit our users and their practice.
Basic analytic data obtained from the regular use of Curve Hero by our customers is essential to the planning and prioritization of our product development projects. For instance, we know that most users prefer to access key features in fewer clicks.
Analytic data helps us objectively determine the priority of functionality within the user interface of our product. For example, when determining where to include a function in the user interface, we often consult usage data to determine if a button should be in the foreground or if the function can be behind a menu.
The importance of customer feedback and suggestions
Many of our business decisions also rely on user recommendations and feedback. Users can submit a question, issue, or suggestion directly to our Development Team by creating a ticket in Curve Hero (this feature is available in the More menu). We promptly review, prioritize and address every submitted ticket to ensure we resolve each matter in a timely manner.
Users can also contact our Customer Support Team via email or phone. Regardless of the method of communication, we review and consider all feedback we receive. Although we are unable to implement every customer request, we log each entry and categorize them for future decision making. For example, when we updated the Perio Charting module in Curve Hero, the feedback we collected from our customers was invaluable in shaping our decisions and informing our designs.
We also directly engage with customers during various stages of the development and design processes. Our design and development teams communicate with customers through exploratory interviews, surveys, and on-site visits to obtain effective and actionable data for our projects.
Customer feedback is encouraged at all stages of the product development process.
Alpha and Beta Release
In our Alpha and Beta programs, customer feedback directly shapes the final product. At Curve Dental, Alpha releases represent an early stage of development when some of the details may not be fully developed. We don’t run Alpha releases for every feature as they tend to be reserved for more extensive, module-level changes.
What occurs during the Alpha stage?
Throughout the Alpha stage, we tap into our users to provide feedback and insights that will assist us throughout the development process. In certain instances, we also offer our customers the ability to try out a new feature in a Curve Hero training environment. We believe that Alpha releases are a great way to expose a new feature, especially if it involves a change to the current way our customers use Curve Hero.
Clicking the Send Feedback button allows users to communicate feedback to our product teams.
As designs progress through development, or depending on the scale of the project, we generally transition from the Alpha phase to the Beta release phase.
What occurs during the Beta stage?
For many projects, we include only a Beta phase. Before certain Beta releases, we recruit customers to test updates to features that they may be experiencing issues with or have provided feedback on. We also select customers that may not have reported anything about the feature so that we obtain a more rounded dataset. As is the case with Alpha releases, the Send Feedback button is available for Beta features. We encourage all users to sign up for Beta releases and also to provide feedback.
Along with the data we collect from customer feedback during Beta releases, we often engage directly with customers through interviews. These Interviews typically blend structured questions with open-ended discussions, which enable us to ask specific questions as we uncover more in-depth issues and potential solutions to design and development problems. These sessions often provide us with meaningful data that we carefully unpack and examine afterward. We analyze this information and determine how to incorporate our findings into the design and development of the feature.
After a product or feature has been validated, we continue to welcome customer feedback. Submitted tickets and the feedback communicated to our Customer Support Teams shape our business decisions and help us to expand and evolve Curve Hero.
How can you get more involved in the process?
There several ways our customers can become more involved in the decision-making process we engage in for making product decisions.
1. Fill out a ticket, or talk to Customer Support
Oftentimes the first way we find out about an issue or suggestion is through our ticketing system. In Curve Hero, the ticketing system is one of the primary methods we use to gather customer feedback. Each ticket is reviewed and prioritized by our team. Tickets are also generated when you talk to a customer support representative.
2. Provide input during Alpha and Beta releases
At any given point in time, we have a several Beta trials running where we test out new features and functionality. We are always looking for engaged customers that can help us out. We typically recruit customers based on their past activities, instance configurations, and a number of other factors. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, please contact our Customer Support Team. Upcoming Alpha releases are communicated to all customers through Curve Messages, so stay tuned for an upcoming new feature trial.
3. Join an Advisory Panel
Another way to get involved in our product creation process is to be a member of an advisory panel. We launched this program to allow our customers to be involved in the creation of new product ideas from the ground up and to use their expertise to help us. Whereas some projects may include customer involvement in a single interview or survey session, the advisory panel represents a more significant commitment that provides for recurring sessions.
We hope this explanation of our DDDM process was helpful, and that it will encourage you to participate in this exciting journey with us.