Customer story

How Bench uses Canny internally to build a transparent culture around product feedback

Joshua Berkowitz
Head of Product at Bench

When it comes to doing business, one thing's for certain, you need to keep track of your finances. Bench Accounting, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, will take care of your books for you.

Joshua Berkowitz leads the product team that he built after joining the company three years ago. They primarily serve small businesses such as Shopify stores, consultants and agencies.

The Bench team consists largely of bookkeepers and one of Joshua's big focus is on how to make them more efficient. As the bookkeeping team grew, it became harder to collect and understand their feedback. The product team needed a better way to organize requests from bookkeepers.

Challenge

Before Canny, feedback from bookkeepers came in from one to one interactions in-person or in Slack. Not only was this inefficient, but the status of various projects was opaque across the organization.

“It felt like a black box to the rest of company. Nobody knew what was happening. Requests would come in and nobody would see what happened to them.”

Joshua looked for a tool that:

  • Helped organize feedback and open it up to the whole company
  • Was easy to set up and introduce in the company
  • Would limit access to only their internal team
Solution

When it came to looking for a solution, Joshua just wanted something simple that worked well.

Once he found Canny, he realized pretty quickly that there was a good fit.

“The whole thing was unbelievably easy. Other tools were behemoths. They all had an enterprise sales model and were all going to take forever to set up. I set Canny up in about 10 minutes.”

Joshua was quickly able to lock it down to only Bench employees and send out the link. Just like that, requests started to flow in and took off organically. Giving feedback was easy and intuitive.

“Everyone wants to contribute to the product they're working on. All you need is an outlet.”

Joshua and the product team were the main Canny users at first. When bookkeepers had ideas for product features, they would post it in Canny.

As they used it more, other use cases started to emerge.

“Facilities uses it for workplace improvements. There's a culture board. We use it to run beta tests. Sales reps post ideas they're hearing from clients. It started to solve more inter-company problems.”

Results

When asked about the impact that Canny's had, two things came to mind for Joshua.

The first being how Canny helps Joshua with his main focus: making bookkeepers more efficient. By having feedback in one place, ranked with votes, he can get a good idea of what the biggest pain points are. Canny surfaces things that would normally get overlooked.

“There are legitimate feature ideas that bothered people that we never thought about. We built those out at a hackathon and increased our team's efficiency. There's no question that there's good payback there.”

The second impact Canny's had at Bench is something less obvious: culture.

“People don't think of Canny as a software tool, they think of it as their voice. It's their primary channel to get eyes on a problem. It's baked into the culture in a way that gives people a voice they didn't have before. That's the biggest impact Canny's had.”

Canny brought transparency to the culture at Bench. Being able to engage back with bookkeepers includes them in the product development process. They understand why the product team is working on one thing and not something else.

For other teams, Joshua suggests:

“Commit to making it feel like people are listening and acting on it. Canny is such a low-cost way of doing that, it seems like a no-brainer.”

Bench is the world's largest bookkeeping company for small businesses. All bookkeeping is done online through their app.bench.co
Employees

350+

Location

Vancouver, BC

Years on Canny

2

Votes on Canny

7,000+

Canny is built for B2B
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