Bridging the gap between code and customer at Skimmer

Skimmer is workflow software for professionals who service pools, spas, and water features. Their software helps users to manage their routes and clients, with cutting-edge service emails that delight customers and improve the standard of the whole industry.

Flavia is the Director of Operations at Skimmer and manages their customer experience. Her primary responsibilities involve running their customer support and success teams, and a portfolio of other operational responsibilities. David is the VP of Engineering, and is responsible for managing and maintaining their application and engineering staff.

Both Flavia and David are active users and advocates of Raygun. Their combined expertise across software development and customer experience has positioned them to bridge the gap between code and customer. In only a few short months since the adoption of Raygun, their team has experienced massive improvements, in no small part due to their relentless prioritization of their customer’s experience. 

David has been a long-time user of Raygun across several organizations. He uses it both personally for a side business, and professionally at Skimmer. 

“I've just found it to be a really useful tool for being able to manage and monitor exceptions.”

“What got me to jump over the fence initially was that your .NET story was much more compelling than other competitive tools. It was obvious that .NET was important to Raygun as a business. As a .NET and C# shop, you guys understood the needs of .NET developers."

“For me, as a .NET shop, Raygun was and is the right choice. I haven't found a tool that I like better in the .NET space than Raygun.”

Building a culture of quality

“Skimmer is a data-driven company. We're very interested in metrics. And so, having those metrics allows us to be able to communicate more effectively across organizations because we can be certain  we're talking about the same things, and always in the context of our user base, our customers.”

Prior to this conversation, David and Flavia hosted a “Raygun Palooza”, where they demonstrated how the powerful insights surfaced in Raygun benefit not just the engineering team, but the whole organization. 

“We got a good chunk of the company to sit down and take some time to focus on the tool and how it can benefit everybody else. And it's not just a development tool. I think Flavia was the first person I really talked to about Raygun outside the development team. And she immediately saw the value and took the opportunity to dive in and learn about it. She's actually shown me some stuff about Raygun that I didn't know. And I think that's another thing that's super awesome is that, when you get more people involved, you get more eyeballs, more diverse ways of thinking about things and it levels everybody up. So, I love that Flavia has embraced Raygun.”

“Introducing Raygun to the broader Skimmer organization is valuable to me because I have an expectation that my team will operate against the data that's reported in Raygun in order to drive how we build software, how we fix the existing software, et cetera. And so, having that ubiquitous language well-known and understood outside of my team is important.”

“Other companies have a lot of features and that's great, but performance and reliability is far and away the number one most important thing. If the site goes down, it's the priority. Nothing else is the priority except to bring the site back up. So given that this is a company wide focus, everybody has a role in supporting that focus.”

“This is an everybody activity.”

This mindset is what really sets Skimmer apart as a leader in this space. Breaking down team silos and prioritizing the customer experience aligns their entire organization and increases the quality of software shipped to their customers. 

“Application performance and visibility on the user experience is something every customer-obsessed organization should care about. And this is an accessible window for a non-technical user to learn about it, understand it, and be in a position to ask questions of our technical teams. We don't have to have the answers, but we want to be able to ask questions and hold them accountable.”

“This creates a shared company awareness. A really clear feedback loop and visibility for non-technical people like myself.”

Understanding customer activity

“Previously we were reporting bugs manually without a ton of process. We improved that. Bugs are logged, recorded, triaged, assessed, and remediated. But for a while there, everything was very anecdotal.”

“People, in general, this is not just our customers, but people are not necessarily reliable narrators of their own experiences. Understanding their experience was super important, and being able to verify or otherwise corroborate a claim that a page is being really slow for a given user was really, really helpful.”

“It's really neat to be able to get visibility into how our application is behaving and how our users are experiencing the application.”

“When I first got here, people complained about performance all the time. And I was like, I don't know where to start. Every time you tell me something's slow, when I go try it, it works. It's fast. So, there was no consistency around what was slow or perceived to be slow. And stating the obvious, I can't make something faster without knowing what my baseline is.”

“The critical piece was introducing Raygun to establish a baseline, so that I could show over time that we were actually improving things.”

“Do you want it to go faster? Or do you want it to work? For the customer-facing teams that I manage specifically, it's really exciting because they used to just talk into the void and be like, "The customer called in and they said this page was really slow." And David, again, didn't have a baseline. So, he was kind of like, "I don't know. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't." That's a tough thing to reproduce from the engineering side.”

“Once you guys introduced Real User Monitoring, that became really interesting because as a web developer being able to see what's happening on the front end, not just the back end, is super important.”

“On the real user monitoring side, the performance metrics have been really important for me and my team.”

Proactive issue resolution

“Being able to proactively monitor things and reach out to a customer and  say, "Hey, we know you're having a problem", before waiting for them to get (rightfully!) frustrated and call us, it can be really powerful.”

“If Skimmer doesn't work, it's like Azure DevOps going down or something. It's really, really big and significant. So it's really, really important for us to be able to monitor and remediate where necessary the user experience, and get really aggressive about improving it.”

“I would definitely attribute Raygun to giving us visibility into areas in our application that we didn't even know we had problems.”

“We did a deployment this morning, and the first thing I did was look at Raygun… And I just look at incoming exceptions and see... Okay, our software's not perfect. We have exceptions. Are the exceptions, the volume, are they different? And is the volume higher, or maybe lower even, post-deployment? And are there any new notable exceptions that seem like we could have had a regression or we introduced some sort of problem? So, I look at Raygun extensively in that regard. Especially post-deployment.”

“When I was looking today, I saw something that I thought was a small issue, but by looking at the “users affected” metric in Raygun, I could see that it was a widespread issue.”

“Having a tool to measure all that stuff has been invaluable for sure.”

“We look at the performance side as much as we do the crash reporting to help us gauge what area needs the most attention next.”

“When Raygun is putting a spotlight on performance problems, I can take that to my team and give them the data that says, "Hey, this page, or this storage procedure, or this area in the database, or whatever, is way too slow. We know that it's not performing well. Raygun's showing us this. Let's go figure out why. And then, let's figure out how to fix it."”

“It's fun, because I can go tackle something and it's easy to make a significant improvement and we can now prove that we have made the improvement.”

Skimmer has improved the load time of their application by almost 50% over just two months since adopting Raygun.
“Raygun offers a more holistic experience that makes sense and is leverageable across all tech stacks and all platforms. I also found your pricing model has always been very reasonable and it's very scalable dependent upon your size. So it's easy to adopt in a small shop, and still affordable, even if you're a big shop.”

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