For years, Avero has been the industry leader in providing tools and data to restaurants that help them evaluate and optimize operational decisions. Avero continues to be the undisputed leader, but COVID has changed the industry and restaurants as we know it. With a reputation established, and the systems set up to provide restaurants with the tools they need to recover, Avero had a big responsibility to deliver relevant solutions. Evolving internally required the company to automate the support and sales process. With limited people resources, and a primary objective of collecting payments and keeping customers online with access - the business needed a way to automate the subscription management process. That’s where this project came in. Enabling our existing customers to pay from within the product for the subscription would lend itself to an overhaul of the onboarding process in the future as well as a holistic subscription management that paved the path for a freemium strategy.
Before COVID, Avero had 7 scrum teams all with distinct objectives and comprised of engineering, product, design, and QA resources. When the business changed, we were faced with delivering a payment solution to relieve the burden on finance, sales, and support with technology.
The finance team exposed an increasing burden in order to collect payments, so we made the decision to automate the payment process and meet an immediate need for the business - to maintain the revenue we needed through scaling our ability to receive payments.
The existing system was one of disjointed, 3rd party solutions for billing, collections, invoicing, payment. I was the UX Design Lead for the team that would be bridging the gap between all of the existing systems and actually building this capability into our core product.
Prompt existing customers (via email) to make payment and enable them to process a successful credit card payment within the product against an invoice.
Account Management can be complex due to the nature of dealing with both enterprise and SMB clients. I needed to have a comprehensive understanding of the existing process so I began with internal discussions between Finance, Revenue, and Customer Success. Out of that, I worked closely with the Senior Product Manager to focus the scope and strategy to deliver a Payment Portal with defined phases that would eventually ladder up to a comprehensive onboarding experience inclusive of sign up, subscription management, and data installation.
Facilitating the project kickoff, I was able to identify some constraints and definition to the scope while socializing the plan of action with the relevant stakeholders.
After getting initial feedback, it was evident that this project was going to entail heavy reliance on insight from our internal stakeholders in order to accomodate and enable a robust solution that would bring value to our external stakeholders and customers.
We uncovered along the way, the systems that relied on each other were complex. I build a design strategy around addressing the scope of the project in a way that would encourage velocity and drive towards successful a successful payment solution. What I didn’t realize, was that the systems were so intertwined, that the back-end pain was greater than I could have imagined.
I got out ahead of the project with sketches that helped to expose initial questions and inadequacies within the product.
For example, the navigation was complex - there were two layers of top navigation that would not lend itself to the pattern I was moving towards. The challenge here was to stay on the course and not stretch the team to address global navigation issues in this project but I did move forward with the VP of Product on a global navigation project that came out of this exercise.
Staying the course, I went through multiple iterations and sketches of the payment solution with the Lead Software Engineer and the Senior Product Manager that allowed us to land on a solution we felt we could deliver with the team in the most cost and time-effective way (see invision freehands here).
Walking the scrum team through the sketches and ultimately delivering an Account Management space that would first enable payment within the product, and then lend itself to the robust subscription management page in the future was the solution.
After multiple iterations and going back and forth with the team, we were ready to start development. I handed off the Figma files and continued to act as a consultant to the project as they continued to develop.
Ultimately, we were able to deliver (albeit later than expected) a solution for the company and for our customers that led to a modernized platform, seamless payments and 80% of our ARR with 50% of our internal resources - thus relieving the burden on finance and support and the ability to deliver against other company objectives.
I did, however, learn in this project that I missed an opportunity to talk more directly to the Account Managers who are on the front lines. If I could do it differently, I would socialize this idea with them rather than yielding to the wishes of the executive team to keep this project on track and focused. You see, our users, they got it - the idea of a place in the product where they can manage their account would be recognized as “Account Management.” But I failed to help our internal “Account Managers” understand that this wasn’t them being replaced, rather it was a place for our users to do the things that enable them to have a more seamless experience in our product. I lost some ground here, because out of that, we had some internal struggles that took time to rectify once we got to the bottom of it. Now, we are in a good place and our users are ultimately the ones that are benefiting from the deliver of this solution.
And check out the Product Experience project to understand more about the strategy behind the full onboarding vision that was born out of this effort.