Every company gets feature requests from customers. Sometimes the customer is one of many. Sometimes they are one of three and your neck is on the line if you don’t keep them happy.
Whatever the situation, feature requests can often feel like a problem.
They show you a customer isn’t happy. They potentially involve a lot of work. They are often littered across many channels, with some getting lost. Many feel like a complete waste of time.
However, feature requests from your customers often contain sparks of genius that will help you build a better product that is beloved by customers.
You just need to get rid of all that extra work surrounding them. All that collecting and random prioritising that makes them feel like a ‘problem’ rather than like free user research.
You need, in short, to get better at feature request tracking – and feature prioritisation.
Get customers and your team to add feature requests to one place online
Rather than having to manually collect feedback from all over the place, get everyone (including customers) to add feature requests to one central place online.
Some type of online feature voting board could be the answer, provided it is simple, easy to use and unbreakable.
You can make these feature tracking boards public so customers can add their own feedback. Or private, allowing your sales team, social media team, management, and so on to add suggestions and proxy vote on behalf of customers.
Here is a screenshot of an actual feature tracking board (powered by Feature Upvote).
Other options for capturing customer feature requests in one place include a public Trello board, through Jira and through Excel.
We look at all these options in our article on Roadmap & Feature Voting.
Even if you do manage to collect feature requests in one place, you still have the problem of how to prioritise them.
Where are those sparks of genius?
How can you gracefully get rid of all the stuff that you know is expensive, unworkable, not in your business plan, or all three?
This is where feedback boards work really well. Most have in-built voting functionality, which provides a good starting point.
Your customers can vote up feedback they agree with and add comments. If they try and add a duplicate suggestions they’ll be encouraged to upvote an existing suggestion instead.
Less popular ideas sink to the bottom of the board.
This means you don’t need to say to a customer ‘no, your idea sucks’. They can see this for themselves.
Making customer feature requests public has many benefits:
However, not every company wants to make feature requests public. Fair enough. In which case, choose a feedback board that can be made private and easily shared with your team (via Single sign-on (SSO) for example).
Keep your feature requests private and get your team to add them to your feedback board
We provide a feature request board (with voting) that has all the functionality you need at a competitive price.
We aren’t the best choice for enterprise companies who need complexity (or think they need complexity) but we are specifically targeted at you – small to medium sized companies.
We offer a 30 day free trial so you can see if you like us – with no sales calls guaranteed!
Competing products are much more complex and much more expensive. For the functionality we’re looking for - a simple feedback community - the features we get are actually better than I expected and at a price that we can afford.
— Heather Paunet, Untangle’s VP of Product Management