Find out how the SAM team are putting customers at the center of our development cycles by collaborating with our users.

As a customer, providing feedback can sometimes feel like shouting into the abyss. We were gutted in 2020 when our customers told us that this is what it felt like when providing us with feedback. This made us reflect on whether or not we were putting customers at the centre of how we’re building our workshop management system (WMS), and how we could do better.

This is how the SAM user group was born. A regular monthly online meeting where our product team pick the brains of current customers, an opportunity which we are incredibly grateful for.

How it started

Our first meeting was a meeting of the minds, 20 customers and 3 members of the SAM product team. These customers have had extensive experience using SAM (nearly 200 years – that’s a pretty big number!), they know the product inside out, but they were less familiar with how things got built at SAM, so the priority for the first meeting was talk about how our development sprints work.

Next step was to do some voting. Our team presented a list of features and enhancements that are on development register. The group was asked to rank these and discuss their reasoning and this real user feedback went on to inform what was built in the next development sprints. Plus, one extra item, that wasn’t originally one the list but come about through the above discussion. This feature, job sections, was rolled out two months later.

How it’s going

“To be honest, I thought about moving on from SAM awhile back, but now that I’m seeing their roadmap and where they’re heading with the product, I’m definitely staying” – Graham, Calder Alco

“That quote system of being able to separate [work] was one of the problems that we had at our workshop and it’s awesome to see that you guys have taken that feedback on board” Tammy, Torbay Service Station.

“SAM didn’t have a great track record of listening to its customers and now the business has kind of turned around looking out the window and listening and I think it’s absolutely fantastic.” Steve, Automotive Solutions Hamilton.

It’s not easy giving up an hour of a working day, and then also actively contributing, critiquing with care and making considerations for workshops that run in different ways to your own. This group understood the assignment and came prepared, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the user group. Without getting too soppy about it, we’re pretty humbled by it.