Build it and they will come - it’s one saying you’ll hear a lot in marketing and sales today. For those of us in the product space, we have a slightly different version - Build it and they will come and ask for new features.
In SaaS, feature requests are something you have to both love and hate. They help you create a better product and facilitate communication between you and your customers. At the same time, handling them and responding to them takes lots of time, tools, and money.
Here is how you can use FeedBear to track and manage your feature requests easily. No matter how simple or complex your product is and how many customers you have, this is how you can manage your feature requests with FeedBear.
Different types of feature requests
In general, any time a customer requests something from your team, it could be considered a feature request. However, that’s a pretty broad generalization that could use some improvement.
There are three main types of feature requests:
1. Bug reports
2. Product improvement requests
3. New feature requests
Bug reports are instances when a customer users your product and figures out that something doesn’t actually work the way it should. Your main aim is to fix a (hopefully) smaller issue on your product.
Product improvement requests, on the other hand, are typically larger in scope. For example, you have a landing page builder and customers want you to build a drag-and-drop interface. These requests take more time and effort to complete.
Last but not least, new feature requests are just that - requests to build a completely new feature. Say, an integration with a payment processor such as Stripe. These take the most time and resources to complete.
Depending on how mature your product is, you’ll get a different mix of these feature requests. Each requires a slightly different approach to categorize, manage and fulfill.
However, they all start in the same way - from the customer.
Prioritizing and managing feature requests effectively using FeedBear
Now that you know the 3 different types of feature requests, the next question is: which ones are the most important for your product? And if you have several of the same type (e.g. bug reports), which one should have priority? And how do you even group this in a way that makes sense?
This is where FeedBear comes in and we’ll show you how.
One place to receive and manage requests
When you start getting feature requests, the first couple of them may look like a walk in the park. As more start coming in, you’ll run into some issues.
First of all, customers don’t usually have a preferred place to leave feature requests. They come in through emails, social media, your live chat, online forums, and reviews, etc.
The second issue is that very few customers will look through your existing feature requests to see if someone else already suggested the same thing. As a result, you’ll have the same or similar feature requests repeated all the time.
FeedBear solves that by offering you a single feedback board where all your customers can leave feature requests. Just provide them with a link and they can easily add a new request on their own.
When they start typing the name of the feature request, FeedBear will show similar entries based on what others requested previously. This is a neat way to prevent doubles from clogging up your request list.
Make customers feel listened to by acknowledging their requests
Big or small, every request submitted through your feedback board will be live as soon as the customer is finished writing. They can see their request on your board along with their name and they can access the votes and comments at any time. You can leave a comment on their request, upon which they receive an email notification.
Rejecting a feature request
Saying no to a customer always feels wrong, even though you probably have legitimate reasons for rejection. Here are some of the tips to keep in mind when rejecting a feature request:
- Always explain your reasoning
- Offer a workaround solution
- Be empathetic
- Show the customer your roadmap so they can better understand your plans for the future
- Point them to your feedback board where they can see what others are requesting and vote on features and bug fixes
Engage in a deeper discussion by using comments
As the product team member, you can leave comments on your customers’ requests to let them know your thoughts. Other customers can leave comments as well, but it will be clearly visible which of the commenters belongs to your team and which profile belongs to a customer.
Use boards and tags to organize requests
Your customers’ feature requests will be placed on the feedback board in FeedBear. If you decide to build a feature, you can push it to the product roadmap. And to keep your customers in the loop about the latest developments, your latest features can be found in the changelog.
This makes it super easy to organize your feature requests, not just in the feedback stage, but also later on as you build and ship features.
Moreover, you can use tags to organize your requests so that both your customers and your product team can find them more easily.
Use upvotes to understand what to prioritize
When the requests are in your feedback board, every customer that opens it can see what others have left before them. When they open the board, they might find the exact feature they want to see built as well.
Instead of creating a double entry, they can simply upvote it. More votes = more important and more urgent to build a certain feature. This lets you easily prioritize and add a critical element to your most important criteria when choosing what to build.
Anyone can upvote a feature request and they don’t need to sign in with their account to vote. However, it’s best if they do, because when they upvote, they get automatically notified about any changes in the status of that request.
This is a great way of showing your customers that what others think matters and that you’re actively listening to their needs and wants. In the end, the feature with the most number of upvotes may not be the top priority for that time period, but it’s a great sign of what needs your attention the most.
Stay in touch with your customers
A feedback board isn’t for customers only. Your team can just easily make comments and reply to customer entries to get the discussion going. In fact, it’s a great way for you to show the world that you care about what your customers have to say as all comments are publicly visible to everyone.
A lot of things happen automatically in FeedBear. When someone upvotes a feature, creates a new one or leaves a comment, they’re going to get notifications every time something happens to that feature request.
For example, if you decide to build it and put it on your roadmap - they’ll get notified through email.
Maintain a public roadmap
Once you decide on which feature requests you want to build, it’s a good idea to keep your customers informed about your plans. One of the best ways to keep your customers in the loop about your product plans is to create a public roadmap in FeedBear.
A roadmap is precisely that - your plan for what you’re going to ship in the months to come. Usually, roadmaps are created to give customers estimates (in terms of months) for when to expect a certain feature to be built.
FeedBear lets you easily move your feature requests from your feedback board to your product roadmap. This means that everyone who was involved in the request in some shape or form will get notified that their request is being moved to a roadmap and that it will be fulfilled.
You’ll have no problems creating a roadmap if you already have a feedback board in FeedBear - it’s just a matter of a few clicks. And even if you don’t use a feedback board, you can create a roadmap from scratch quite easily.
When your roadmap is complete, sharing it is pretty easy too. You can create a page in FeedBear that looks like it’s on your own domain, like this: https://roadmap.markuphero.com/
Once you have this link, you can add it as a button or a link in your website footer, in your product, your onboarding emails or wherever you please.
When the roadmap items change status, your customers get notified instantly about the update. For example, if something is moved from the backlog to the production, everyone who collaborated on that feature request gets an email notification.
Keep customers informed about new features
As mentioned above, people who collaborate with you on feature requests will get notified every time an update happens with one of their requests in FeedBear.
At the same time, you can send notifications to your entire customer base if you want to announce a new feature that you’ve just launched. Not a huge fan of notifications? You can just use FeedBear’s Changelog feature.
Follow up with customers when new features are released
You don’t have to keep a list of people who requested a certain feature to let them know that you’ve fulfilled it. FeedBear maintains this database for you and you’ll be able to send them automatic updates regarding new features.
Top benefits of feature request tracking software
Maybe you’re not convinced that feature request software such as FeedBear is the right choice for you. Perhaps you want to do it the manual way or you want to use a combination of your existing tool stack. Here are some of the major benefits of using FeedBear.
Voting and sorting by upvotes gives you an idea of what is most requested
You no longer have to guess what your customers want the most. If the popular vote is your most important criterion for deciding what to build, votes will show you the way. And even if it’s not your most important criterion, it’s still useful to know what most of your customers want.
Product teams get a perfect view over what customers want
Your product team no longer needs to rely on a hunch when determining what they should focus on next. A feedback board lets your customers voice their opinions so you know the burning issues immediately. And with your customers doing the voting, you have a quantifiable way of measuring your priorities.
Ideas and requests come in continuously
The problem with feedback is that most of the time, you have to request it. Customers won’t naturally flock to you to tell you what you need to work on. Instead, you’ll have to wait for them to run into an issue to give you feedback.
Alternatively, you could use surveys or customer interviews. Practical, but still requires a lot of work because you have to send out the surveys and interviews regularly and process the data that comes in.
Feature request tracking software like FeedBear works for you on autopilot, all the time. Just provide your customers with a link to the feedback board and you’ll get new insights regularly instead of reaching out to customers manually.
Make customers feel listened to and their input appreciated
Customers who are engaged are customers that stay. The best way to make your customers feel happy with your product and to prevent them from churning is to listen to their feedback. FeedBear makes it easy to stay in touch with people who leave you feedback and it makes them feel valued and appreciated.
Keep customers engaged about what happens to their suggestions
Traditionally, it took quite a lot to inform a customer that their suggestion is accepted or rejected. You’d have to remember who sent in a suggestion and create an email just for them. You have to rely on your CRM and email marketing tools for this task, at the least.
Instead, you can use FeedBear - the tool that knows who requested what. And you don’t have to reach out only when a feature request is fulfilled - that may take months to do. Instead, notify them about every change that happens with their request, automatically.
The biggest game-changer here is being able to reach out to dozens and hundreds of people who requested something without doing manual outreach and typing away for hours.
Establish a culture of openness and customer-centricity
The way you treat your customers speaks volumes about your company and product. FeedBear keeps your customers in the loop about all the changes that happen with your product. At the same time, it shows that as a company, you value transparency and put your customers first.
Reduce the load on your support team by keeping customers informed
Your customer support is one of the most important departments in your company. They’re on the frontlines and the way they handle customer inquiries shapes the way your customers feel about you.
FeedBear lightens the workload for your customer support team. They no longer have to tell your customers what’s in the pipeline. Moreover, the customers will see what you’re currently working on, resulting in fewer questions about bug fixes and new features.
Close the loop with customers
How many times has it happened to you that you forgot to reply to an email? How about hundreds of emails?
If you wanted to keep up with feature requests, it would require a lot of time, if not even a dedicated person in your customer support team. FeedBear does the communication for you by automatically notifying customers about your feature updates and changes. That way, you can focus on creating a better product and making your customers happy.
Managing and tracking feature requests can be quite a complex affair - but only if you don’t have the right tool for the job. FeedBear allows you to manage everything from one place while ensuring that your feature requests are neatly organized and your customers are happy with your product and customer service.
Want to see what FeedBear can do for you and your product? Sign up for a free trial today to get started!