Founded in 2019, Courier has built the smartest way to design and deliver notifications. The company closed a $10M Series A in September of 2020 and has been growing rapidly ever since.
As Courier’s customer base and team have rapidly expanded, so too has the company’s need to build and maintain a simple, streamlined product release process—a process that would not only drive higher engagement of the new features and functionality that Courier was rapidly shipping, but also customer visibility into Courier’s product roadmap and development investments.
Late in 2020, Nate Munger, Courier’s Head of Customer Success, began looking for a way to do exactly this. We spoke with him to learn more about the decision-making process and Courier’s experience using LaunchNotes.
“Transparency is critical for us and our audience,” Munger says. “We had a changelog, but it was super lightweight and wasn’t doing much for us. What we wanted to do was put more structure around our release process, then share this roadmap with users so they could see what we were working on,” he tells us. “We also wanted to find a tool that was more flexible, and could be customized to match our brand.”
Fast forward six months, and Munger and the team at Courier have successfully utilized LaunchNotes to champion the company’s culture of transparency, build greater trust with their customers, and drive higher user engagement with new features and functionality.
When the Courier team began searching for a solution, they knew they needed a tool that could be easily adopted and leveraged by both Courier’s technical and non-technical teams.
Munger describes how, within weeks of adoption, Courier's teams were collaborating through LaunchNotes to streamline the release process: “Product and Engineering use LaunchNotes to set the roadmap. They control the “Planning” and “In Development'' phases of the roadmap,” he says. “Then, as we prepare to release something, I’ll come in and use LaunchNotes to announce things. And before I move something to “Complete” I’ll ensure everything else—support docs, web pages, and so forth—is ready.”
But beyond bringing Courier’s teams together in a single tool, Munger shares that LaunchNotes has helped the team align around what features and functionality will be announced when. “Now, in our conversations about our product roadmap and product launches, LaunchNotes is something that comes up all the time. People will ask: ‘Is this ready for LaunchNotes?’ or ‘Is there a LaunchNote for this?’ It’s a natural part of our process, and about how we think about communicating what we’re doing to our customers.”
“When something reaches LaunchNotes readiness, it’s a very exciting moment within the product development cycle for Product and Engineering, as well as everyone on the customer-facing teams.”
The Courier team has a deep understanding of who their ICP is, and how to win this audience over. As Munger explains: “If you’re a company that’s making tools for engineers, like we are, the engineering culture is very interested in what things are being built, how things are being built, and why things are being built. I would almost say this need for a deeper understanding is built into the DNA of every product development team,” he says.
He goes on: “So as an engineering-first company, it’s critical for us that transparency is built in at every level. We want to be open about the what, the how, and the why. And LaunchNotes helps us communicate all three of these things.”
When asked how LaunchNotes helps facilitate this openness, Munger shares that Courier not only publishes its product roadmap publicly, but that the Courier team has used their LaunchNotes page as the focal point of virtual events they’ve hosted. “At the end of March we turned our LaunchNotes page into a livestream and walked the audience through three items in development—three things we wanted to showcase to the world.” He continues: “As a developer tool we’re very passionate about building a strong developer community, and being open and transparent about the why and how of what we’re building is a key piece to building trust with this community.”
“The value that LaunchNotes provides aligns perfectly with the culture we’re trying to build at Courier,” Munger tells us. “We’re proactive, transparent, and we want to build a strong community.”
Since transparency is one of Courier’s key values, it’s no surprise that they love LaunchNotes’ public roadmap feature, as it allows Munger and the team to not only share what’s coming, but also build anticipation for new features and functionality. In his words: “We share our roadmap at least one quarter out because we want users to know what’s coming so they can get excited about it. Sharing our roadmap is an awesome way to drive higher engagement, both before and during a launch.”
By sharing Courier’s product roadmap, Munger tells us he’s not only able to drive greater transparency, but also increase user engagement when new features and functionality land: “LaunchNotes has been key in helping us build anticipation about upcoming features before they launch. The roadmap helps us drive valuable conversations about what we’re working on with customers, which ultimately drives more people to try things on launch day,” he says. If you’re a Customer Success team, or any team interested in driving higher engagement, LaunchNotes is a powerful tool for helping you do that.”
Additionally, Munger shares that publishing the Courier roadmap in LaunchNotes has given him the ability to tell a consistent, compelling story to Courier’s market. “Another awesome value of LaunchNotes is that it’s allowed us to tell a great story. Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. I almost think about it as a powerful storytelling tool for our users. We can take our roadmap and our release notes and turn them into this consistent narrative that keeps customers happy and engaged.”
He mentions that telling a compelling story was especially important to Courier in its earlier days: “Early on we had a product, but we also had a really bold vision for where we were taking that product. And we needed a communication channel to share that vision with prospective customers, or anyone who came by to take a look at our product. LaunchNotes was the vehicle that allowed us to do that.”
When we ask what his favorite LaunchNotes feature is, Munger tells us ‘categories,’ because it empowers him to deliver signal through the noise with each and every announcement: “As someone in Customer Success, LaunchNotes empowers me to get the messages users care about users in a really personalized way.”
He elaborates: “Because users have subscribed to categories I know I’m going to reach a more engaged audience every time I make any announcement without over-messaging.
But Munger says it’s more than just the segmentation capabilities that he loves about LaunchNotes’ communication capabilities. It’s also Courier’s customized LaunchNotes page, which serves as the single source of truth for every announcement Courier makes. “I love the visual appeal of the Public LaunchNotes page. It’s well designed and super approachable. It was also built with a customer-first, user-first mindset. Visitors can easily find the categories they’re most interested in and aren’t overwhelmed with a bunch of things that aren’t relevant to them or their role. I’ve never seen that before,” he says.
“I share our LaunchNotes page with users all the time so they can see what we’re working on and customers always get really excited about what they see there. Our customers love that page,” Munger says. “And for this reason I’ve linked to it from a bunch of different places: our newsletter, our docs, and a few places across the website. We also have the in-app widget set up, so users can see updates from right inside Courier.”
In closing, we asked Munger two final questions:
On something that's surprised him, Munger responds: “The interaction with your team, especially as we were getting set up, was incredible. It was super high touch and personalized,” he tells us. “And even since then you’ve continued to exceed my expectations in terms of how much you’ve reached out to get feedback and offer assistance.”
When asked to describe LaunchNotes in one word, Munger’s response is instantaneous: “‘Core,’ as in it’s become core to how we build customer communication into our product development cycles. LaunchNotes is one of the most valuable communication channels I have with our customers.”
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