Are you one of the lucky people who adopted a pet in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, chances are that you and your furry friend have interacted with Covetrus™’ technology.
Covetrus is a global animal health technology and services company dedicated to empowering veterinary practice partners to drive improved health and financial outcomes. Their practice management software, supply chain products and services, and prescription management solutions help veterinarians and veterinary practices operate more efficiently—so they can keep more animals healthy and happy.
Like other essential businesses, Covetrus saw a massive spike in global demand for their solutions during the pandemic, and wanted a way to get closer to their users. The Covetrus team needed a product experience solution that would allow them to keep an ongoing pulse on customer behaviors and needs, to ensure they were focused on the right, value-adding initiatives. They also knew it was important to prioritize enablement to help users stay aware of—and feel confident using—new features released specifically in response to pandemic-induced needs.
“COVID actually accelerated business for our customers,” explained Benny Estes, director of product management at Covetrus. “Pet ownership rose dramatically, which meant people were bringing their pets into veterinary practices more often. And so we—as the software and technology providers for veterinarians across the globe—needed to figure out how to enable our customers to do more with their technology, and many times with less staff.”
Becoming product led is an evolution
Fortunately, the Covetrus™ team was already using Pendo before the pandemic hit. Initially, Estes and the product leadership team chose Pendo for its ability to give their product managers (PMs) deep insights into user behaviors and product performance, without the need for additional engineering help.
“We were using Google Analytics before. It’s good for basic demographics, but it’s very surface level,” Estes noted. “When you have a SaaS product, it’s actually very hard to get good data using Google Analytics. And if you really want to do it [well], you have to ask your developers to tag certain clicks and features on a page. It just becomes a very hard process to manage.”
Gaining deep behavioral insights with Pendo Analytics
The first challenge Estes and his team turned to Pendo for was to uncover the deep product data they knew they were missing.
They needed a way to objectively see where their customers were clicking, what workflows they were using, and how they were moving through and within Covetrus’ various products. Pendo Analytics delivered on all fronts, giving Estes and his team immediate insight into all these areas and more. And best of all, it didn’t require extensive technical expertise or assistance from Covetrus’ engineering team to set up and manage.
Meaningfully engaging with customers using Pendo In-app Guides
Armed with this behavioral and product analytics data, the team set its sights on finding more effective ways to engage with customers and users.
“Email wasn’t working, and obviously we don’t have the bandwidth to call all of our customers to tell them about updates. So that’s where we started rolling out in-app guidance with Pendo In-app Guides,” Estes explained. “[These guides] allow us to coach our customers on how to use a feature, tell them when updates are coming, or make them aware of any issues that could affect their business.”
Prioritizing user needs and requests with Pendo Feedback
The third step in Covetrus’ product-led evolution came in quick succession. “We thought, ‘Great, we now know what our customers are doing. We have analytics. We can engage with our customers. But what about feedback? How do we know what our customers want?’,” Estes said.
He explained that up to that point, feedback had been a “black hole” for Covetrus’ product team. They were receiving input from a myriad of sources (including support, training, and sales teams) through a number of different channels (like Slack, Teams, and email), which all ultimately landed in disparate product development backlogs. “It was very, very hard to manage. At the time, we had over 2,000 requests, and we weren’t sure how to prioritize them.”
With Pendo Feedback, Estes and his team have found a way to gather, manage, and act on all this incoming feedback at scale. And combined with Pendo Analytics, they now have a complete picture of the customer experience. “Our customers can submit requests through a portal that’s directly managed by the product team, and our customers can see what other customers are requesting and vote on it. You start to see customers commenting on requests and with each other, and talking about the solutions they need. This is gold for us as a product team,” Estes explained.
Covetrus has seen great success from rolling out Pendo Feedback internally, too. “Now, our support, sales, and marketing teams all know that if they want to get something in front of us as a product group, [they should] go through our feedback module. Because that’s where we go to prioritize and see what our customers want,” Estes noted.
Building a product-led culture at scale
With these three product-led pillars in place, Estes has continued to look for more ways to leverage Pendo to drive growth and deliver greater value to Covetrus™’ users. “We’re always asking ourselves, ‘How can we be more product led in supporting our customers using all of the tools we’re providing them?’,” he said.
In addition to using in-app guides for customer onboarding and communication, Covetrus also uses the Resource Center to provide ongoing support for their customers at scale—while reducing burden on their internal support teams. “The Resource Center is a one-stop shop for customers to access our support team with live chat; they can access our knowledge base and read articles; and they can access self-help training guides, where they can learn about how to use features. So rather than getting an email, they can proactively go to this Resource Center area and see what updates are happening in the product [on their own time],” Estes said.
Covetrus’ user experience (UX) research team is also in the process of rolling out an automated Net Promoter Score (NPS) module using Pendo, which will allow them to continue to keep a pulse on how their users are feeling and gather even more valuable quantitative and qualitative sentiment data. Estes explained that this initiative is part of Covetrus’ overarching commitment to evolving and staying abreast of customer needs.
“At Covetrus, we focus on making sure our users and customers can achieve their desired outcomes while also making sure they have a pleasant customer experience,” Estes said. “The thing with desired outcomes is that they evolve with external factors (take COVID, for example). If you’re not evolving with what your customers are expecting of your software, then they’re going to become unhappy—and that’s ultimately what causes churn. It’s important to always keep the pulse of what your customers are asking for.”
By creating a single source of truth for product and customer experience, the Covetrus team has become more efficient and collaborative. It’s also enabled Estes and the Covetrus product team to accelerate their time to impact, make more data-informed decisions, and ensure they’re focused on the right initiatives to drive value for the business and Covetrus’ customers.
Using the full Pendo platform to drive cross-functional, internal efficiency
Pendo has also given Covetrus™ an incredible asset for empowering internal teams and improving operational efficiency. “We’ve realized that it’s all about empowering other teams. The way we’re using Pendo ultimately helps everyone across the company provide a better customer experience,” he said.
Reducing the burden on support
When Estes and his team launched the Resource Center, they chose to include the Pendo Feedback module, which allows customers to submit enhancement requests at any time. This simple addition has redirected hours of valuable support time that customer success and support teams would otherwise spend talking to customers about enhancements and submitting requests into a backlog. With Pendo, this process has become a self-regulated closed loop, which has freed up staff to focus on more meaningful engagements with customers.
“Our user base now knows that whenever they have an enhancement request or an idea, they should just put it directly in a feature request,” said Estes. “Our support team no longer has to triage those tickets and throw them over the fence to the product team. Now, our live chat is strictly being used to support our customers. [It’s also eliminated] the telephone game, so we don’t lose those direct quotes and interactions from customers. As a product team, we can now just go directly to the source of the enhancement request, rather than having to go through our customer-facing teams.”
Scaling customer onboarding and training
The Resource Center has had a similarly positive impact for Covetrus’ training motions. “We have empowered our training team (who is also our onboarding team) to onboard customers through in-app modules that can be accessed within the Resource Center,” said Estes. “This hasn’t resulted in taking training jobs away from our training team. Instead, it has empowered them to reach more of our customer base over time and to reach a larger set of customers and create self-help guides for them.”
Accelerating mobile innovation
Covetrus’ quality assurance (QA) team has also benefited from Pendo. When they were evaluating a potential mobile-first initiative, they used Pendo Analytics to assess their existing user workflows and identify opportunities for mobile optimization.
“We segmented our customer base by which mobile devices they were using, and what they were doing within our product on those devices. We saved significant QA and development time by prioritizing the pages our customers were using on mobile—and not focusing or spending time optimizing pages our customers weren’t actually using on their mobile phones,” Estes said.
Staying ready for anything
Covetrus’ product-led approach has helped Covetrus™ be as proactive, adaptable, and resilient as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has laid a lasting foundation to help them continue to innovate efficiently and deliver on the needs of their customers, no matter what comes next. “[Using Pendo has] led us to make more conscious, intentional decisions.”
To hear more from Estes, dive deeper into product-led strategies, and learn more about how Covetrus uses Pendo to drive efficient growth, check out this webinar.