How to manage feature requests?
One of the core focus for B2B SaaS companies is to improve their products to meet customers’ expectations consistently. Users commonly tend to seek new feature requests when their pain points are not addressed by software. The product owner and development team should collaborate to enable these features to align with users’ needs.
However, the question is, how do you manage feature requests? That’s exactly what we will be covering in this blog.
So, let’s dive in!
What is feature request management?
Developing customer-focused software requires a lot of work. The product manager has to spend a significant amount of time conducting customer reviews and surveys to find out the sources of each pain point.
However, when you have an existing customer base, receiving unlimited inbound feature requests is very common. As a product owner, you need to make the call on which requests should go straight to the product backlog. Feature request management balances these requests and prioritizes the tasks that can add value and reject other ideas.
Importance of feature request management
Managing feature requests have a lot of significance for businesses. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Streamlined feature request management helps businesses to track their product ideas
- Improve user experience by making the products aligned to customers’ needs
- Retain more customers by meeting their pain points and build a stronger user base
How to manage feature requests?
Here are some tried and tested tips to manage feature requests seamlessly:
1. Consolidate your feature requests
Suppose you are collecting feedback on a recently launched software. Do you expect the customers to provide their feedback through a single channel?
In today’s era of multichannel presence, it is common for customers to share their feedback via social platforms, emails, website chatbots, or any other review portal. Hence, unless you don’t consolidate all these reviews in one place, it is next to impossible for you to analyze these requests.
A great way to address this issue is by consolidating all the feedback on a single platform. The purpose is to capture and segregate these feedback requests to develop a bird’s eye view of your customers’ expectations.
Once all feature requests are consolidated, you don’t have to search for the same across multiple platforms. Instead, you can now focus on the more critical part - analyzing these requests.
2. Switch on the voting feature
Before a product owner starts analyzing and prioritizing the feature requests, they should understand which requests are most demanded. The best way to understand that is by enabling the upvoting feature.
If the customers can go through the feature requests and upvote according to their requirements, there is nothing like it. This will help you comprehend customers’ voices and develop a pattern for the feature requests.
For example, there are two different feature requests for your software:
- Adding search feature - 100 Upvotes
- Adding more payment gateways - 20 Up Votes
What will this tell the product owner?
It would certainly mean that the product owner must prioritize the first feature request as many customers have demanded it. As a product owner, you need as much information as possible to make the right decisions. You don’t want to waste your organization’s internal resources to add a feature that doesn’t have a lot of impacts.
And to ensure that, the Upvoting feature is a must!
3. Liberate customers to comment but be ready to say “NO”
While allowing the customers to Upvote is certainly a good practice, it is not always enough for the product owners to decide. What if two feature requests have received the same number of Upvotes. In that case, which request will you prioritize first?
This is where you need more input from the customers. Make sure that your feature requests management tool allows the customers to add their comments. As soon as you start reading customers’ comments and discussions, you will develop more clarity over which request to prioritize.
As a product owner, you can also engage in these conversations to dig deeper into customers’ problems and get to the root cause.
Now that you have successfully identified the critical and not-so-critical feedback requests be upfront about it to the customers. Product owners often make the mistake of taking all feature requests in their stride. This can easily lead to failure from development teams to deliver the tasks within the stipulated timeline.
Hence, as a product owner, be ready to say “no” and explain to the customers why you are prioritizing another feature for the time being. Chances are your customers will agree with you!
4. Tag the requests and start prioritizing
Here comes an essential step in feature request management - prioritizing. Not every request will add the same amount of value. Hence, being a product owner, you should pick and prioritize the most important requests.
So how do you move ahead?
You can start by tagging the feature requests in the following categories:
- High priority
- Low priority
This is a great way to sort the feature requests, tag them according to their significance and convey the message to the product development team. Also, make sure that you are making your prioritization decisions based on numbers. Qualitative analysis can be in-depth, but it is not always useful while sorting products.
5. Create a product roadmap
Here is the second hardest part of feature request management. You have to create a product roadmap. Remember that B2B SaaS customers have many options, and if you don’t keep them notified, you can expect them to cancel subscriptions right away.
That’s exactly why you have to create a product roadmap with all the planned features. This will help the customers keep track of what features your internal team is working on when to expect an upgrade or bug fix, and so on.
Remember that, a product roadmap can be a great tool for your potential customers too. It can help your prospects get a clear picture of your product offerings in the coming days, and if they find it interesting, they can always book a demo call to understand the product better.
6. Keep all the stakeholders informed
When we say “stakeholders” we mean both internal and external teams. One of the most critical aspects of feature request management is to keep both of these stakeholders notified.
You need to keep the internal team in the loop about the latest feature requests, customers’ upvotes, comments, which task to prioritize and why, and other aspects.
Similarly, for external stakeholders like customers, it is a must that you provide them an update on whether or not you’re considering their requests, the expected delivery date, and so on.
Remember that both these stakeholders are crucial, and their opinions matter to a large extent.
Top 5 Feature Request Management tools
Here are some of the top feature request management tools that businesses/ product managers can use to simplify the process:
Zeda.io is one of the best tools for product managers. It helps you collect product feedback, analyze the feedback, plan product backlogs and execute the tasks by collaborating with the product development team. You can use this tool to analyze customer feature requests, prioritize the most critical ones, and communicate the same with your product development team.
1. Use a customized and flexible portal for customer communication and feature request management with in-app widgets and effective integrations
2. An interactive feedback dashboard to analyze and prioritize bugs, feature requests, and trends in customer feedback
3. Create live product roadmaps, include quarterly OKRs, and share the same with your internal teams
4. Document all product-related information efficiently and share the same with the team using Zeda.io’s efficient product space
Trello is a powerful project management tool that allows teams to collaborate and organize tasks for tracking progress. To organize feature requests on Trello, your team can create a common card where customers can add their requests or vote for the features they require. Accordingly, the product owner can convey the feature requests to the development teams.
1. Trello makes it simpler to create public boards where internal and external tasks/requests can be managed.
2. The product owner doesn’t need to follow up with customers or send mails to each one of them. They can directly access the Trello boards and update their requirements.
3. Trello is more suitable for small project management teams. However, it might not be able to handle several rounds of feedback and reviews for large teams.
The next tool on our list is Roadmunk. The best part is that it collects and stores customer feedback/feature requests within a common inbox and converts it into an actionable knowledge base. Roadmunk is flexible to use as it comes with Chrome and Firefox extensions.
Roadmunk integrates with some of the essential tools like Zapier, Intercom, ZenDesk, etc.
Roadmunk's collaborative inbox helps everyone in the team to stay on the same page and close the feedback loops quickly.
Roadmunk's isual product roadmap tool is helpful for users to plan and execute product strategies from scratch.
Savio is a flexible feedback request management software that collects and organizes user feedback, performs an in-depth analysis of the feedback, and helps the development teams to prioritize the major feedback that requires immediate attention. With Savio, product owners can create actionable knowledge bases based on customers’ feedback and pain points.
1. An interactive public voting board to identify the pattern in customer feature requests
2. In-depth segmentation feature to differentiate the most critical feature requests from the regular ones
3. Ability to close the customer feedback loop by updating them about adding their desired features to the software
UserVoice is another feature request process management tool that captures customers’ feedback within a forum, segments the key feature requests based on the number of votes, and helps product owners make significant decisions. However, a common complaint with UserVoice is that it is very expensive.
1. The upvoting feature helps product owners to analyze the inbound feature requests.
2. UserVoice comes with a strong analytics feature that can segment the features based on user attributes.
3. The dynamic search feature allows the product owners to ignore duplicate feature requests and focus only on the unique ones.
We hope you have a clear picture of feature request management and how you should handle it. Product owners already have a lot on their plates, and sometimes feature request management can be overwhelming.
That’s exactly why they need a feature request management tool like Zeda.io that simplifies the job for your business. Curious to explore further?
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