There are a lot of great suggestions in this form for Cliniko features that would make users’ lives easier. It’s rare, however, that anyone from Cliniko responds with anything more than “oh, sorry Cliniko can’t do that”.
I realise the irony of asking for a response from Cliniko here, but how about regularly scanning these posts, and then surveying users regularly with the suggestions to determine which ones are most popular and pressing? This would be a great way of determining your development map. In other words, rather than only adding what you guys think will be a good idea, maybe ask the people who use your product everyday (and who actually pay you) what they want/need.
Hey, there We do definitely read everything here. In fact our internal chat pings us every time a post is made on the forum
We take feedback from multiple different places and the forums are one of the places we use to help inform our decisions about what to prioritize for future work.
That said, I agree with you that our communication on the forum leaves a bit to be desired
The feature requests section in particular, can be a bit of a tricky one when it comes to discussing planned or unannounced features, or trying to give dates, knowing that there’s a reasonable chance that those dates might not hold up, or something else might take priority, etc.
COVID-19 really shifted our priorities last year, as well. We do release multiple updates per day. Admittedly, you might not notice many of them as they aren’t always visible “features”. Sometimes, a customer will request something in a ticket to us and we might actually add that feature within a few hours, if it’s something that isn’t too developmentally expensive in terms of time, and/or works well with our existing code, etc.
I’m not a developer myself, so it’s a bit difficult to go into too much detail on that side of things, but something I’d be keen to help liaise on a bit more in the future to help bridge that gap.
I do think we can try to do a better job with the feature requests section here, especially. That’s something I’m thinking about and want to try to work out some ideas about how we can better communicate with you here in the future
It’s still not likely that we’ll often be able to say “Yes, we’re working on xyz feature and it’ll be released on 123 date”. Hopefully, there is a much more productive middle ground between leaving you feeling ignored and being able to provide precise information about every feature request, even if we’re not always able to provide hard specifics
Some things we do know we’re absolutely working on, but we just don’t know when they will be ready for release. Other things, we’d like to do but aren’t on our immediate radar as development energy is currently occupied elsewhere. Other things still, we might not yet feel there is broad enough interest/benefit to our entire customer base to move it up the priority list just yet.
It can be a tricky balance, for sure. We try to prioritize the features that will benefit the largest block of our customers at once. There may also be very large undertakings that are happening behind the scenes that will (hopefully) never be visible to you when they get released. That said, I can also recognize how it sometimes feels like nothing is happening as a result when you’re viewing that from the outside.
I just wanted to pop in and let you know that we do read every single thing posted here and I have plans to try to take this on as a project and see if we can improve our communication in the feature requests section of the forum for our benefit and yours as well.
We really do take all of the feedback seriously. It is very important to us, and I’m sorry that you’ve been left feeling otherwise, but I also completely appreciate why you might feel that way.
Finally - thank you. I made this point last year, and was told that to get a response, I need to use the help / chat feature. I now only glance through the Cliniko digests of this forum, as I generally find it pointless and demoralising.
Thanks for the detailed response, it’s nice to know you read these posts. I note you didn’t address the original request though: Cliniko surveying its users to determine which features should be added to the roadmap (i.e., what’s most important/needed to your clients). This would only work alongside more communication and transparency.
Also note, no one is asking you for a specific date when a new feature will be released, but surely you can pin down to a timeframe (e.g., we intend to release these features in the next three months, these ones in six months, these ones by the end of the year)? It would stop people having to come back here (out of frustration) and request them over and over again…
Hey, @Jem I think it’s a good idea, and something that was flashing in my thoughts today as I was working through customer chats and emails
As one example, we do take a lot of “informal” surveying, if you will, by way of customer enquiries (chat and email interaction), on the support team. We have an internal ideas board that we also regularly post to in response to the hundreds of interactions we have with our customers each day. The forum is a considerably smaller subset of our users than those we interact with through support almost 24 hours a day. We receive hundreds of tickets per day and feature requests are a regular part of those interactions.
They’re both still made up of the same people, of course, and we do frequently direct people here to add their voice for feature requests as a more public place where others can add their voices too. Of course, there’s the caveat there, that we need to make sure we’re encouraging that participation (not just asking for it) on the forum, by way of our own as well. I can certainly appreciate how you might feel as though our community forum is where feature requests go to die
With that in mind – to try to make the most of your idea for the feature requests section here – I was thinking of how we might use your idea in a more targeted way with regard to specific feature sets where we still have a lot of work to do, have planned, are close to releasing, etc.
For example, perhaps you’d see a thread in the future that asks our community members here, “What are your most wanted features/improvements for online payments?” I know that being able to take payments at other times than just at time of booking is among the top of that list, and one that you’re keen to see as well. There might be other things we haven’t seen requested as much, and this could be really helpful for that.
Side note: We’re working on adding the ability to take payments via the dashboard and/or by emailing an invoice with a link to pay in the future. That’s something we know is frequently requested and that we’re keen to get added into Cliniko
Another one high on the list of online payments improvements would be more payment processors than just Stripe that you can integrate with.
That said, even if an improvement is a the top requested feature, there may be other development work that has to take place before a particular feature can or should be worked on. Take payment integration options, for example. Stripe isn’t ideal for everyone, and we’d certainly like to accommodate additional options in the future if at all possible.
In the midst of lockdowns in the first half of last year, our focus shifted entirely toward developing and releasing features that would help practitioners using Cliniko (and us, by extension) survive the pandemic. Telehealth, patient forms, online payments, etc. were either not previously planned at all, or getting a workable version out as quickly as humanly possible became an urgent priority. We already use Stripe as our payment processor for subscription payments, so it was the quickest option for us to develop a releasable version.
We could put all of our energy into pushing out integrations with other payment processors, but we still have a lot of “brick laying” that needs to be done with online payments overall. As a result, it makes sense to get it to a more fully featured place before we start considering adding additional payment processors. If we didn’t, it would likely create more work for our developers and make us less efficient in the longer-term, as we’d then have to consider the underlying code for x number of payment integrations with every new feature added to online payments.
With a “pay now” link added to invoices, there’s a whole other set of code revolving around invoices and payments that may need underlying changes, etc (Disclaimer: I’m making a bit of a semi-informed guess on that one).
I say all of that only to try to provide a bit of additional context on at least some of the thought processes, and other sources of feedback that go into prioritizing and developing Cliniko now and in the years ahead.
There’s a forum post from our founder, Joel, from back in 2019 that you might also find helpful on this front, if you haven’t come across it already:
As you can probably tell by now, I’m known for writing novellas every time I type something So, I’ll conclude for now by reiterating that we do find the forums to be an incredibly helpful resource for guidance with regard to the future development of Cliniko.
Where I think we’ve made a mistake is in using the forum as a repository of feedback for our own use, but falling short of the expectation of “Community”, which is what it’s called after all
We’ll try harder to improve our participation here in the future, so it’s more representative of the importance we place on the feedback that comes through it.
Totally agree, I used to use a software that had a voting system on feature requests. You can only vote once for what you want and you could only have 5 active votes at a time. That way you couldn’t just vote for everything. If you found something that was a higher priority you had to drop something else off. This focussed in on what the greatest number of users felt was their highest need. The company announced every month what they were working on and when a feature request was done it was taken off. This way means Cliniko could give their users what they want and communicate with them. It’s interactive and keeps clients really happy.
Totally agree with all of your above points too Jem. Thank you for your great post and the conversation you have opened here.
Nola_Willing, brilliant suggestion. Such an interactive system will encourage better more meaningful user engagement and allow both Cliniko users and the company to automatically see where users’ true demands lie.
Cliniko, please do engage, giving us some sort of development roadmap, however crude the timescales. Your interactive feedback is important here, so us users feel we are being listened to, that we do have a genuine two way dialogue taking place with Cliniko and that we are not just wasting our time writing here, that we are valued. It’s not nice being left in what feels like, perpetual limbo. To sort of end on Nola_Willing’s positive note, Cliniko remember good interaction will keep clients really happy.
Hi Ramsey - any progress on this. Notice other users have started forums around this. It’s nice that you guys are claiming you’re listening, but not seeing anything like survey or even regular communications with basic timetables or lists of planned features. Update?
Hey, Jem. We’re working on some things, but we’re not trying to just stick a band-aid on the forum here. The changes we’re looking to make are for the long-term benefit, not short-term appeasement, if you will.
With regard to surveying users, as I previously mentioned in this conversation, to try to make the most of your idea in the feature requests section (particularly as something we can do in the shorter term while we look toward broader changes for the community forum) I thought it was a good idea for more targeted feedback on specific features we’re working on, et al.
Hence, my posting the request for feedback on signatures on things in part as a direct result of your suggestion that we survey our users more regularly… (I won’t lie, it did sting a bit for that to be received by you as “not seeing anything” )
This is a feature we’re actively trying to get released, and are at a point where your targeted feedback would be very helpful. We’d already begun seeking out that feedback through other mediums. My hope in raising it here as well, was that we’d receive feedback specifically about signatures on things and how you all would use that particular feature, so we can take that feedback on board as part of the development process. I was also hopeful that it would also at least shine a bit of occasional light on some of things we’re working on and be appreciated from that front as well (even though we can’t yet talk every feature we’re currently developing).
If it goes well and serves its purpose with some targeted feedback from the community, I’d love to continue doing more of these in the future. It’s helpful for fostering a more productive dialogue with the community here, and it’s helpful for our developers.
It’s not the only thing we’re working on, of course, but it’s something that was in a good place to try a bit of outreach with on the forum here. Hopefully, it is well-received and the feedback there can stay targeted toward that particular feature to make it as beneficial as possible.
With regard to your comment in that thread about “overhauling letters while we’re at it”, I’m afraid that’s not quite how it works from a development perspective. That’s a completely separate development endeavor on its own separate trajectory.
It’s one you might well see a feedback request thread for in the future, but we wouldn’t want to hold up the release of feature B for the development of feature A, unless B depended on A.
I would love to get to the point where the community here can be regularly engaged in active dialogue where it doesn’t feel quite so antagonistic from your perspective or ours. But, that’s a process that’s going to take sustained effort from everyone who has that shared goal. It’s not something that’s going to happen suddenly.
The community forum here is, in truth, a tiny fraction of Cliniko users and the hundreds of daily conversations we have with you through other mediums. Long term, I’d love for it to be a much more representative, lively, and active place that serves much greater purposes for its user base than it currently does (and more than primarily feature requests, too).
For this community to be as utterly useful as it can be for its members and us, I’d be keen wipe the slate clean a bit, and start taking some baby steps together toward a more productive atmosphere. We don’t have all of the answers yet, and don’t know exactly what that all looks like. We engage our customers a ton through other mediums. The forum is its own medium, and needs its own fresh approach as a result, if it’s to be meaningful for all of us Hope that helps.
Hi Ramsey, thanks for the detailed response - it’s appreciated. Nevertheless, my frustration comes from literally zero transparency from Cliniko about planned feature rollouts and potential timeframes. Surely this is feasible?
For me, the huge hole in Cliniko is the lack of proper letter writing templates, and integration with secure messaging (it’s a feature of Coreplus, but Cliniko is a lot better than them for customisable forms and client emails and SMSs). With the future of health communication and legislation around secure messaging, it is “must have” feature and I’d love to hear if it’s even on your radar - even if it’s planned for next year (at least then I can map out what to do in the meantime vs. seeing if I have to move PM systems)…
Hence the frustration, and the fervent desire for you guys to let us know what you’re planning/working on, etc.
We all expect that any software development will incur delays, but we have no idea whether our priorities are being heard.
I put forward suggestions about adding multiple appointments on the same invoice by changing the select appointment dropdown to allow to select more than one appointment for a client.
There’s a topic on this called automatic invoicing under feature requests. It has 1.1k views and is within top 10 most viewed!
Cliniko’s only response was for a work around! We use the software every day, we know all the work arounds! Just say yes we plan to do it or no we don’t.
We can handle open ended timeframes if we know it’s in the works. Not hearing anything back at all is very frustrating.