It’s been eight months since FACTS deployed UserVoice, an online product idea forum. We caught up with Megan Higgins and Angela Nielsen on the FACTS product team to provide an update on UserVoice and the impact it’s had on our products and customer experiences so far.

Can you remind us what UserVoice is and why it exists?

UserVoice is our way of receiving feedback from our schools and providing a forum for them to submit, review, and comment on ideas from other school users. Since July, over 400 ideas have been entered and we’ve seen a lot of activity around those ideas. Allowing schools to view and comment helps us see trends and identify where we can improve communicating our current capabilities. UserVoice has been a great tool for us to share features that we already have and ideas that we are planning to implement or would like to get feedback on.

What is your process for evaluating and prioritizing ideas submitted through UserVoice?

The FACTS product and IT teams meet weekly to read through new ideas. The team will take a step back to look at the trends that we are seeing from the feedback and explore ideas that have a lot of support. Our team will share more insight about an idea, compare it to feedback from our schools, and identify what we already have solutions for. For those ideas that we see would make a big impact, we start working with IT to understand how we can update the system. For larger projects, we will reach out to the supporting schools and make sure we’re addressing the core of the feedback they have given.

Tell us more about how customers can be involved in the process.

Over the last couple of weeks, we held two focus groups around the most popular idea we’ve seen in UserVoice. Some of the supporters of that idea joined FACTS for a couple of sessions to discuss system mockups that we created to facilitate a conversation about proposed changes to the Payment Plans & Billing parent experience. This allows us to have solid direction from our users before we start developing an update.

Which User Voice ideas have been implemented so far?

Schools can now edit student grades in the Grant & Aid application, and the system now allows other users to take over a payment plan during the school year. Previously, when the payment plan owner was changing, the payment plan had to be terminated and a new one had to be set up. This new option will save time and reduce confusion for families.

Which UserVoice ideas are going to be implemented next?

We are currently working on creating consistency between the parent and school experience by updating the deposit product to Prepay Accounts, adding more detail to invoice payment reminders, and editing the student name in Grant & Aid. Look for the status of ‘started’ or ‘planned’ in our forum to see what else we’re working on.

How can I submit an idea through UserVoice?

When logged in to FACTS, you can share your ideas by clicking the light bulb icon in the lower righthand corner or click on “Feedback Forum” in the top righthand corner to add new ideas or vote and comment on ideas you would like to see FACTS pursue. The more examples and scenarios you share with us, the better understanding we have on how we can help you improve your day-to-day work with FACTS.