If you were to ask me what’s the best tip I can give you when it comes to managing software bugs, I’d tell you: don’t let them happen in the first place. Extensive pre-release testing and quality assurance control should be enough to save you a lot of trouble by detecting those annoying little buggers before your software is released.
Unfortunately, some of them will eventually slip away and only get detected after the release – don’t worry too much about it, it’s not the end of the world, if even Apple and Microsoft can get away with it, so can you.
The key to successfully track bugs, though, means finding the best way to identify, track and eventually manage the user reaction and consequently the frustration generated by failing to meet their quality/performance expectations.
Ways to track bugs:
There are a few different ways in which users can get in touch with you to report and track application and software bugs. Here are three of the most common techniques companies are using nowadays:
1) In-app customer support:
I’m talking about this first because that’s how we do it most commonly here at Pipefy – we use an in-app chat application that allows customers to get in touch with our customer support team whenever they’re online using Pipefy so they can report any bug or unusual software behavior as they see it happening.
Allowing users to contact us immediately, of course, has its pros and cons: the pros is that it allows users to quickly an effectively contact us whenever they have a problem, question, feedback or feature request, allowing us to keep close track of all this information and then distribute it through the appropriate channels (I’ll get there, don’t get too excited!).
Another pro is that, upon receiving a message, we can access a lot of the user’s information, such as type of device, operational system, browser, etc, that may be useful down the road when trying to reproduce the bug.
The con would be that, being an in-app messaging system – and considering we have customers from all over the world and many different time zones – sometimes we don’t get to answer everyone as quickly as we’d like to (we’re human, after all).
2) Support email:
Alternative number 2, whenever in app customer support isn’t available, make sure customers know which e-mail to contact your customer support on.
3) Social media:
Everyone that’s anyone is on social media these days. People are online 24/7 on their social media accounts and they expect their favourite companies and brands to be online as well (by the way, we’re on facebook and twitter 😉 )
If you are not – and you’re most likely not – the only person behind your software’s development, you’ll need a tool to help you track, manage and assign bugs to your team members so they can be taken care of more effectively. That’s where Pipefy comes chiming in – and I can tell you for experience, our team here at Pipefy does effectively use our Bug Tracking template to manage our own internal bugs.
Pipefy’s Bug Tracking template was especially developed to keep all your bugs properly reported, organized and will help you classify and prioritize them so they can be fixed. It comes with a detailed a form to properly allow your team to record the bug’s details – the time it was reported, its severity, where it happened and a method for evaluating its impacts on the user experience and on your business goals.
Customer support – responding to Bug reports:
Whenever an user gets in touch with your customer support team, either via in-app chat or e-mail, to report a bug, here are a few ideas on how you should proceed towards handling the situation in the best way possible:
- Admit that there is a bug (you’d think that this goes unsaid but it’s necessary to leave defensive points of view aside – remember when people say that the customer is always right? Well, if the customer says there’s a bug, there is one, admit it and say it’ll be reported through the appropriate channels);
- After ensuring the customer the bug is appropriately reported, provide details on when it’s expected to be fixed (only if you can give realistic expectations). Don’t make any promises you – or your IT department – won’t be able to keep – it sounds better to say it’ll take a month to fix a simple bug than to say it’ll take a week and actually take a month.
- The Golden Rule when dealing with bugs on Customer Support: Be fast – as well as honest – the sooner you reply the customer, the better. Prompt support will always make a good impression, especially in critical moments such as when the customer is sensitive to forming a negative impression of your product/service. If you can’t solve their problem immediately, at least win them over with good service.