November 10, 2016
Behind every business is an untold story. Behind every dream or project too is a story, which only the witnesses can re-count to the world. This is why we are taking you for a stroll down memory lane. To tell you everything about the Woocommerce Product Designer.
Why was the Woocommerce Product Designer plugin created?
When Orion was founded, it was more specialized in the modification of WordPress themes and in the creation of custom web applications for WordPress. One day a customer requested for assistance on a project, which consisted of creating a web-to-print customizer which customers can use to design any product before the final order. This done he really appreciated the result and both ends were satisfied.
Along the line we realized that the demand for this type of project on the market was very high. So we decided to do something about it. That is how we launched our first plugin ( the Woocommerce Product Designer) onto the market.
Audience behavior towards the Woocommerce Product Designer plugin
It was an immediate success. The audience was very impressed, but they had lots of suggestions, changes, this or that modification that they wanted on the plugin. So most of the time was spent modifying the plugin to satisfy the need of every customer.
Problems faced by the support team
1- No quality check:
As soon as a client asked for modifications, we integrated them to the plugin. It made the clients happy, but on the other hand those who bought the plugin and didn’t understand the use of some integrated features therefore used some of the features wrongly. Unfortunately having said Yes, to every customer need, we ended up building a product that was not easy to use for beginners. Because the quantity of parameters and options included was huge, and nobody would like to waste time in reading a lengthy documentation.
2- Poor time management:
This led to an enormous quantity of support request related to those features useful for few but confusing and useless for most. So we were submerged by questions from customers asking how to do this and that. By the time we solve one issue, two to three new tickets were already on the waiting list. Some clients had the same issue, and we had to solve the issue all over again before the official update.
We hadn’t learnt the difference between a bug and support. We didn’t have the reflex to update the plugin every time an issue was resolved. It led to poor time and team management.
3- Lack of strategy:
We were only three developers at that time handling the Woocommerce Product Designer plugin. We didn’t have an advanced methodology to manage the issues concerning the plugin smoothly, which resulted in the fact that we spent more time on support than on improving the plugin itself.
The decision to take it off the market
Tired! All the developers working on the plugin were tired of fixing the same issues over and over again, customizations requests, new features integration. We realized there was a lot of bugs in the plugin due to its complex nature. Handling support and integrating new features drained all of our energy, so we couldn’t do any other thing. So the decision to take it off the market was considered.
1- To rest:
Oh Yes! We became victims of our own success. So we needed to pause, take a step back and re-organise our work methodology.
We had almost 200 tickets opened each month, it made us tired and exhausted, this in return negatively affected our productivity.
2- To stop new clients from coming:
Isn’t that bold? Who the heck would have a business and say “ please i don’t want more clients. Enough! ”. But sometimes you need to hit the nail right where it hurts the most. That’s just what we did.
3- To improve on the plugin:
We went on a break to take time to fix all the bugs, test it, score the pertinence of every feature integrated, carve a method to manage support and trace a new path for the upcoming features.
Audience reaction to the removal of Woocommerce Product Designer from the market:
We received hundreds of emails of people who planned to buy the plugin and suddenly couldn’t find it to buy. The disappointment from potential customers was huge. So during the period the plugin was offline, we gave it out for free to those who wanted it, but without giving them the support.
Why was the come-back early?
Every two days we received requests concerning the Woocommerce Product Designer plugin. “When is it going to be back online?”, “Can we have the date it will be back online?” ,”Are there alternatives to get the plugin?”. So we took time to improve the plugin, fixed all the bugs , tested every feature compatibility and now we have a more stable version online.
So it’s now effective and working.
Today we have learnt our lesson. We now have a procedure that allows us to collect customers feedback and feature requests. Periodically the whole team meets to decide on the new features to integrate. We also have a group of beta testers that test the code for eventual bugs.
The amount of bugs to fix has reduced drastically. Support is fluid now, compared to those days. More improvement is expected in the coming days.
Useful tip: A good scoring system model that can help you define the importance of a feature before adding it your plugin is in this article.
We hope this exercise answers all your questions and demands on the Woocommerce Product Designer Plugin.
Don’t forget to drop your comments. 🙂