How Our Customers' Needs Guide Product Development at AgencyBloc

By Jennifer Warne on November 11, 2019 in Product Updates

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Jennifer Warne, AgencyBloc

Author:
Jennifer Warne
VP of Product at AgencyBloc


The How & Why Behind Product Development at AgencyBloc

Making a difference in our clients’ lives is what motivates us to do what we do. While we share a lot about why agencies have chosen AgencyBloc to manage their business, we haven’t typically shared how or why we develop the product the way we do.

So we’re taking a second to share our process when it comes to developing AgencyBloc. We hope it provides valuable context and insight into not only AgencyBloc as a product, but as an entire company, as well.

Product development at AgencyBloc is enabled by many factors, but these three sit at the top of our list: listening to and exploring customer insights, our beliefs about developing the product, and the guiding framework we use to enhance the product.

Customer Centricity

AgencyBloc’s mission is to provide powerful solutions by making the convoluted, straightforward. We want our technology to transform the organizations that use it. Our culture is one of servant leadership, and that includes serving and solving problems for our customers. 

Everyone at AgencyBloc is happiest when we’ve helped our customers become successful. In fact, we have a #oursuccesses Slack channel where we regularly share client feedback that makes us all proud to do what we do. 

In order for us to solve problems for our customers, we strive to gain a deep understanding of agencies of all sizes, the industry they work in, the products that they sell, and what they want to accomplish. Understanding what’s important is the heart of our customer-centric culture. 

We gain this insight by looking at quantitative information through surveys and data profiles of different types of customers, and by interacting with and interviewing customers regularly to bring qualitative clarity to the problem we’re trying to solve.

Product Principles

If customer-centricity is our heart, then our product principles are our belief system. As described by Marty Cagan in Inspired, product principles help companies decide what is strategic and fundamental, and provide a framework for evaluating the many alternatives in front of every product. Our product principles help us decide what is central and long-lasting versus minor and short-lived.

We Make the Convoluted, Straightforward

We believe that ease of use is the foundation of a great tool and that product features should be obvious to our customers. Guided by this, we always try to use clear language and visual cues to help our customers use AgencyBloc efficiently and without friction.

We Specialize

We believe that specializing in the health and life insurance vertical allows our customers to focus on nurturing their client relationships and gaining new business rather than spending time and money configuring a cookie-cutter CRM.

We Transform Organizations

We believe that deeply understanding the needs of our clients and their industry is fundamental to helping them transform their business. Therefore, we take time to understand our customers, their processes, and the industry as a whole to design a product that is easily adopted and transformative.

We Put the Power into the Hands of our Customers

We believe that there is no “one way” of doing business and that our customers have unique needs which are crucial to the success of their business. For that reason, our product should be designed so that it flexes with the needs of our customers, putting customization in their hands.

These principles, our beliefs, guide us when deciding which problems are crucial to solving and which features will provide the most value.

Product Development Methodology

Developing and enhancing a product takes a process framework. Our process framework, or methodology, is shaped by our company’s culture of trust and a determination to understand our clients’ needs, why those needs matter, and developing a plan for addressing them.

To identify the needs of our customers, we:

  • Encourage and listen to suggestions from customers
  • Analyze insights from prospect and customer surveys
  • Meet with and interview customers virtually and in-person
  • Stay current with Health and Life insurance industry news and communities
  • Research technology advancements and potential integration partners

The voices of our customers play a prominent role in identifying which solutions are crucial to their businesses and which features will provide the most value. Once identified, a plan is put together - knowing that to get it right, we need to lay the path in a continuous way by designing, building, releasing, and reviewing incrementally.

After we release a new feature or an enhancement to an existing feature set, we review usage and customer feedback to determine if any adjustments should be made, make those adjustments, and then design, build, release, and review again. We strive to never stop improving the product.

Why do we use this methodology? Because releasing and reviewing usage and feedback to confirm if we’ve solved a crucial business problem for our customers matters a great deal to us and is the heart of our customer-centric culture.

Since 2008, we’ve strived to provide technology that will truly transform your business. We use that mission to continue guiding our way as we enhance AgencyBloc. We’ve found that by combining client feedback and insight with our strategic product development beliefs, we’re able to continue building a product that is tailored to life and health insurance agencies and that ultimately helps them transform their organization.

Want to learn more about what we do here at AgencyBloc? See a quick overview video!

A Quick, High-Level Overview of AgencyBloc

AgencyBloc is an agency management system that helps life and health insurance agencies grow their business with an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated business and marketing automation.

Watch 5-Minute Video