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Wild Apricot Software News - December 2010

Dmitriy Buterin 16 December 2010 4 comments

I was recently talking to a friend and he was complaining to me that online reviews for his business were are not so great on average - because people who are negative and like to complain are much more likely to fill out reviews/surveys than people who are satisfied. I'm sure this is the case for non-profit and membership organizations as well. So even if we discount that, after reading through each of 441 customer surveys and personally replying to each one, I was very excited to see that the majority of our clients are very satisfied that they chose Wild Apricot!

Let me share some of the survey results and comments from our most recent customer survey in November- they may be interesting for people using or considering Wild Apricot software or give other readers food for thought on their own member/volunteer surveys.

Recommendations for Wild Apricot?

77% of surveyed clients rated us 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 for "How likely is it that you would recommend us to your friends or colleagues?" Our average rating is the highest ever - 8.31:

Survey comment: "I recommend Wild Apricot often to other charities. You have made our lives so much easier for keeping the site current and receiving online donations."


Our clients are also good at describing what we do to others in ways we would not have thought of ourselves.  In answering the question, "How would you explain Wild Apricot to others?", we received great answers like:

  • "When you find your non-profit with 20 different problems the chances are that Wild Apricot will solve most of them for you if you can afford it."
  • "You can do it - Yes, you (to whom I am talking to) can really do it - You don't need to pay some high priced web designer with a fancy name and office thousands of dollars!  Oh, and then when something changes, you don't need to go back to them and pay them to change it!!!!  I have spent $20K and more on a website and then was told they wanted a fee for every change - I LOVE YOU!!!!!"
  • "It's so easy, you can pretty much set it up and forget it, and the functions continue to work.  I went from spending 30+ hours of volunteer time a month processing membership paperwork for an organization with only about 200 members, to probably only about 30 minutes a month because I can just log in and "click" approval.  DONE."
  • "I'd say that Wild Apricot has listened to the voice all 15,000 of their current not-for-profits customers, and in being responsive to those needs and requests have developed software that is second to none in providing not-for-profit groups with professional, fully functional websites that can be managed by members with non-technical knowledge, which creates empowerment and educational opportunities for the people who are passionate about their cause, sport or other special interest. Yay!"


Our product reliability rating went up - highest ever:

Survey comment example: "Versatile, pretty easy and straight forward to use. It's very reliable, makes difficult things easy to do."


Ease of Use:

As much as we love hearing compliments, we can't sit back and relax -  we know that there is a still lot of work to do. Yes, we have a very good product - but it is not yet a truly world class product (think Apple's iPad). Our customers were also very upfront in letting us know the enhancements they desire. This is also confirmed by our ease of use rating decreasing to 4.38.  While we have increased the product capabilities a lot since January, apparently this has negatively affected ease of use:

This is not extremely surprising or uncommon - most software products increase in complexity as they mature and provide more power/functionality. (And we are not going to accept this - one big outcome is that we will be re-balancing our product priorities to go slower with some new enhancements but invest more effort in increasing ease of use).

Survey comment: "I like the focus on the ease of use, both from an administrator perspective and the end-user. Tools and features flow well and work well together."


Technical Support - One of Our Strengths:

While the most survey respondents were full of high praise for our technical support, our ratings were very slightly down:

It seems that the biggest issue is not getting back to callers quickly enough - some clients responded with comments like "Everyone is so nice and knows how to solve the issues that I have. I really appreciate it, especially when I'm in a time crunch and need help asap. The only flaw I've had is when leaving a message to have someone call me back, and the time delay." - so this is something we will definitely keep focused on.  What people do like about online help are video tutorials so we will keep ramping that up, and they are generally quite happy with our support in general.

Survey comment example: "Your technical support is amazing. You always lead me to the right direction for answering my questions and take time to walk me through things I'm not understanding. I can not express enough how great your support team is!"


Gauging Acceptance of Our Most Recent Version Update:

One of the big questions we had when we sent out the survey was about our customers' impression of  Version 4.0. We were happy to find that comments were predominantly positive, here are some samples:

  • "I really like the new financial system, it is much easier to track and view invoices and payments."
  • "I am so glad you streamlined the import feature and made the invoicing/payment capturing feature better!"
  • "I've definitely appreciated the updates so far, especially the financial and transaction reporting tools that were added this last round."

(And yes, there were several people who did not like the upgraded features and were irritated by it, so I am in a dialog with a few customers, trying to figure out the key issues and how they can be addressed).


Constructive Criticism

We asked for - and got - a lot of suggestions for further product improvements. Since we've mentioned the high praise, in the spirit of fully transparency, let me share some of the overall observations and recommendations from this section of the survey:

  • Templates: Still the biggest area of concern. There were requests for more professional templates that are ‘Web 2.0' and more flexibility in customization.  We will continue to work on adding new templates and improving our web design features to provide more design flexibility.
  • Copy-pasting: Fewer comments about problems around copy-pasting, but it appears the issues are not totally resolved. Apparently we've made good progress but have not yet fully solved this tricky problem. 
  • Formatting: One comment which comes up a lot is people really want a way to see formatting details of the current block of text (font, color, size) - so that they can apply it to other paragraphs.
  • Email:  Most common requests are around providing pre-built email newsletter templates, then tracking of sent emails and processing of bounces.
  • Blogs and Forums: Many comments about the limited capabilities of our blog and discussion forum modules. 
  • Back-up: Requests for a simpler ways to backup and restore web pages and contact database - to protect against mistakes made by inexperienced administrators/volunteers.
  • Online store: Many requests for the shopping cart (multiple purchases with one payment) and online store.
  • Social media: Lots of requests for social media integration (mostly Facebook and Twitter).

Acting On The Survey Information

We always take the suggestions very seriously and I am now reviewing our development priorities for 2011 based on the survey responses. However, the good news and another major takeaway from the survey, is that over 95% of comments in survey are product gaps already known to us (vs. ~5% new). This means we already have enough information on what we need to address to make our product truly outstanding and now it is a question of painstaking analysis, design, prioritization and development.

In responding to the question, "Would you recommend Wild Apricot," one of the survey respondents noted "I couldn't put 10 because that would mean there was nowhere to go from here." Point well taken - and we'll continue to listen and respond to customer feedback and keep striving to ensure we have a truly great membership software program.

Huge thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!

Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 10:00 AM


  • BA said:

    Sunday, 26 December 2010 at 8:57 PM

    I have been considering using your services,for the development of a website that can be used to accept membership renewals and new memberships.  I did not read anything in the information you provided from the survey that discussed this aspect of your service.  Was this covered?  Please advise.

    Thank you,

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 27 December 2010 at 4:32 AM

    BA, we didn't cover specific functions like these in the survey, although we did receive a number of comments from our current users about features that they like or where they would like to see improvements made.

    For general information on membership applications and renewals please check out these links:



  • Genetta Adair said:

    Monday, 03 January 2011 at 3:31 PM

    When I planned my most recent conference in September, I learned that Wild Apricot's event registration software could not tabulate the total registrations separately for each of the two days of our event. We only allow 120 registrants for each day, with some attending both days, some attending one day, and some on the other day. This caused great inconvenience to me because I had to physically watch when my registration numbers neared my maximum so I could manually close the registrations for those maxed-out days. This was a huge inconvenience to me as it occurred when I was at a conference in LA and had very little time to watch the regristration numbers.

    Is there a way Wild Apricot could offer a separate tabulation of registrants for each day of a multi-day event and close those registrations separately when each day's maximum is reached?

  • Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

    Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 04 January 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Genetta - I would appreciate if you could post about this on our wishlist forum so that we can collect feedback from other users and consider it in future updates. See http://community.wildapricot.com/8/ShowForum.aspx

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