You know collecting, tracking and responding to customer feature requests is a good idea. Your customers see that you actually care about their feedback, while you gain unexpected business insights as well as a simple way to know what feature requests matter to your customers and what don’t.

However, how can you feature request track effectively? A 200-row Google spreadsheet will make your head hurt. Slack reminders end up feeling like spam and project management tools create orphan tickets.

Feature requests are also often treated differently by different teams. Your customer support team may have one way of handling them, your sales people another and your social media people another still. As a result, feature requests are never collated across the entire company, meaning many valuable ones get ignored or lost.

Such feature tracking methods are intensive, piecemeal and ineffective. They often mean that feature requests are implemented based on guesswork – or simply ignored. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Lego figure looking fed up
Don't let trying to collect customer feedback ruin your day.

Feature Request tracking essentials

Collect customer feedback in one place

First, you need a feature tracking solution that collates feedback in one place, that everyone – from your customers, to your support team, sales team, marketing team, social media team and development team – are happy to use.

This means that it needs to integrate with your support, sales and product management systems, and be really easy to use. There’s no point collecting feature requests in one place if it takes your support team forever to convert a customer support email into a feature request. Or your social media team about a week to try and work out how to use it. You want to save time not spend it.

We’ve found that placing our Feature Upvote feedback link above our support link turns into less tickets in our help desk. We have reduced (almost to zero) suggestion tickets in our help desk. This is better for our customers and, of course, for us.

Rubén, Game Designer at Underdog Coders

Prioritise customer feedback

This is often a problem: you have a jumble of customer feedback and no real way of rating it, apart from manually going through all of it trying to merge similar requests and rating the rest according to guesswork.

This is time consuming and subjective.

Instead, find a solution that:

  • Makes it easy for customers to both suggest feedback and upvote feedback they agree with, so good ideas rise to the top and the less good sink gracefully to the bottom
  • Makes it easy for you to merge, split and edit feature requests so your board stays tidy
  • Makes it easy for you to tag support requests that come from strategic customers, so you have this ‘meta information’ when deciding the relative value of popular requests
Screenshot of a suggestion board where customer feedback can be prioritised
Choose a suggestion board where customer feedback can easily be prioritised.

Make customer feedback visible

Making your feature request board publicly visible can be contentious:

  • What if customers suggest lots of things we don’t want to do?
  • What if customers don’t really know what they want but think they do?
  • What if customers think we are really slow to implement anything?

These are fair enough questions, but in the end it comes down to whether you trust your customers to know what they need (and that you value their opinion), as well as whether you are committed to improving your product. If you know that you don’t have much time to develop your product then having a visible board of feedback gathering dust won’t do much for your image (although you’ll probably just get lots of cross support messages instead).

However, if you commit to developing your product then it’s pretty satisfying to be able to let customers see that you’re on the job, and are listening to what they’ve said.

Make it easy for customers to give you feedback

If you’re going to be sending all your customers to one central place to give feedback, then you need to make it very easy for them to do so. It’s not fair saying to someone on social media ‘hey, love what you say, why don’t you tell us here’ only to send them to software which requires them to create an account and generally waste at least 10 minutes of their time. It would be much quicker for them to tweet. They are going to be a bit fed up.

So if you do send customers to a central feedback hub – which is much easier for you and better for customers once they see what you’re doing - make it easy for them. Don’t ask them for passwords and to create an account. Just let them post what they need and make sure your suggestion board has some security features that help prevent spam and repeat voting.

Also make sure they can offer feedback on any device – mobile, tablet or desktop computer. They won’t want to be changing devices just because your customer feedback solution displays badly on mobile.

Feature Upvote in action on mobile, tablet, and desktops

Avoid over-complicated options

It can be tempting to move from a very basic solution – an excel spreadsheet – to a complicated feature request tracking solution that offers you a feedback board as well as a lot of other features besides.

This is great if you need all those other features. However, if you don’t then look for something simpler. Draw up a ‘must have’ list (support for German, able to use custom domain name, custom tags, and so on) then shop for a solution that matches your list as closely as possible.

There’s no point paying for functionality you don’t need, plus it will only make your feature request board harder to use.

Also, look for solutions that you can test out quickly and easily – there’s nothing like using software to see if it is any good. Solutions that require sales calls and demos can be a time sink, particularly if you quickly work out they don’t do what you need or are too expensive but you still have 45 minutes left of a sales call to navigate or attempt to cut short.

Consider us – Feature Upvote!

We provide a feature request tracking board with 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

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