Feature request tracking: Guide, tools & best practices
Feature requests are feedback forms that customers can fill out to ask for new features or suggest improvements to existing ones. These provide valuable insights into what your customers want and the issues they’re having with your product.
Let’s take a closer look at feature request tracking and how Beamer can help close the feedback loop for your SaaS platform by allowing you to collect product feedback and share product roadmaps.
All you need to know about feature request tracking!
Types of feature requests.
A feature request is simply a request from a customer for a new function or improvement to be added to an existing product. Feature requests can come in many forms, from an informal email or conversation with customer support to a detailed technical specification for engineering.
Here are a few basic types of feature requests:
- Product suggestions: Customers may have ideas for new features that they would like to see in your product.
- Improvements: Customers may also submit feature requests for enhancements or improvements to existing features. For instance, a customer may find that your software could be faster and more efficient if a specific process were streamlined. They may also give suggestions on how to make the software more user-friendly.
Bug reports: If a customer notices a problem with your product, they may submit a feature request asking for it to be fixed. For instance, a customer using your software may encounter a bug that causes the software to crash. In this case, they would submit a feature request asking for the software to be made more stable.
How to streamline product feature request tracking.
Feature requests can come from multiple places, including product reviews, social media, customer support, marketing teams, etc. Due to the volume of requests, you need to organize and track these effectively to ensure that the right features are being built and that customer feedback is being actioned.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when streamlining product feature request tracking.
Manual vs. Automated
Tracking feature requests
If you’re a small business with a limited number of feature requests, you can probably get away with tracking them manually in your early stages. But, as your business grows and the volume of feature requests increases, it will become increasingly difficult to keep track of everything manually .If you’re a SaaS business, you need to automate the process of handling feature requests as you scale, or you risk not properly catering to what your customers want.
Here are some tips on how to ace this:
- Practice regular tracking: Set aside a time in your day for feature request tracking. It could be first thing in the morning or last thing at the end of the work day. Dedicate a small chunk of daily time to reviewing new feature requests and updating your tracker. As your company scales, you can hire someone particularly for tracking feature requests.
- Use tools to automate the process: Tools like Beamer allow you to collect feature requests in a centralized platform. With Beamer, you can collect simple feature requests, gauge the interest of your customer base through direct voting, and send automated feature updates.
- Set up an intake process: Whether you’re using software or a simple Google Sheet, make sure you have an intake process for new feature requests. It may be as simple as setting up a form where people can submit their requests.
- Specify certain parameters: Include essential information in your tracker, such as who submitted the request, what the request is, and why it’s being requested. It will help you quickly assess and prioritize each request.
Prioritize requests: As you review each request, you can prioritize them based on a variety of factors, such as customer interest, the potential impact of the feature, how many people are requesting it, and how difficult it would be to implement. Once you’ve prioritized your requests, you can start working on implementing the most important ones.
Responding to customer requests.
When a customer submits a feature request, they are asking your team to invest time and resources to build something that could improve your product.
Do you respond manually to each request or automate your responses? A 2020 Gartner report stated that 25% of customer service operations use virtual assistants for customer support.
While that number may have been ambitious, there has been a significant increase in the use of chatbots and AI to handle simple customer requests. Some things to consider:
- On the one hand, automated responses can save your team time and resources by responding to common questions without human intervention.
- On the other hand, manual responses show that you are taking the time to listen to your customer’s suggestions and value their input.
So what is the best way to respond to these requests? It depends on your team’s capabilities, customer expectations, and the type of request.
With Beamer, you can also respond to feature requests directly, building user trust and keeping customers engaged.
Automated responses might be the best way to scale your customer support if you are a small team with limited resources. Or, if you are receiving a high volume of requests for a new feature that is not yet available, an automated response system can help manage customer expectations and make sure they’re feeling heard.
Taking this one step further, Beamer allows your customers to subscribe for automatic updates on the status of their feature requests, so they never feel left in the dark. Automated updates can help boost user engagement by letting your customers know that the feature request has been implemented.
The best option is to mix manual and automated ways of responding to customers. For instance, if you have a platform with mostly enterprise clients, having account managers or customer support with response templates can help provide a superior customer experience and ultimately improve growth.
Not only will it establish the right rapport with customers, your account managers can find ways to increase revenue and customer value through upselling. You can also provide the option for them to subscribe to feature updates to encourage them to use the product.
Creating a product feature request template.
There are two ways that you can go about this, and it all depends to the quality and quality you’re expecting out of the feature requests:
- Want a large volume of feature requests? Minimize the amount of information required to submit the feature request form. The more questions it has, the less likely your customer will submit their feature request! This is best for SaaS platforms and other businesses that require feedback on a small number of features or those that do not have many different types of customers.
Want specific, more comprehensive feedback? A more detailed feature request form is the way to go. This is especially useful for platforms with enterprise clients or for those that need very specific feedback from key users.
Quick feature request form.
If you want to keep it simpler, you could collect feature requests widget from your target audience with a form like the one shown below from Beamer.
These are the standard fields to consider for your feature requests, but you can always tailor the template to suit your team’s needs.
Long-form feature request template.
You can add as many elements to this request template as required and send it through email or keep it on your website as a landing page. Here’s what to include in a more comprehensive feature request template:
- Feature Request Name
- Detailed Description/Purpose
- Category (UX, QA, etc.)
- Source (if applicable)
- Linked Issues (if appropriate)
- Date Created
- Created by
- Requested by
Your feature request template could look something like this:
Prioritizing product feature requests.
So you’ve got hundreds of feature requests. How do you prioritize them? How do you know which ones will have the most significant impact on your business?
There are a few different ways to approach this. Here are some prioritization frameworks you can use.
Value vs. Effort.
In this framework, you consider both the value of a feature (how much it will impact your business) and the effort required to implement it.
Features with a high value and low effort are obvious priorities. But sometimes, a high-effort/high-value feature can also be worth pursuing if it’s something that would be a game-changer for your business.
If you have a large team or customer base, you can poll them to see which features they think are most important.
Beamer allows you to let customers upvote features based on how important they are to them.
You can also do this by sending out surveys, setting up forums where people can vote on features, or even informally asking around.
Opportunity mapping refers to identifying which areas of your product have the most growth potential. For example, you can look at engagement data, customer feedback, and user research.
Once you’ve identified where there’s the most opportunity for growth, you can prioritize features that will help you achieve it. For instance, if you want to increase engagement, you might prioritize features that encourage people to return to your product more often.
Take your feature request tracking procedure up a notch.
Feature request tracking requires businesses to manage incoming requests, prioritize them and ensure that they are being worked on in a timely manner.
With a tool like Beamer, companies can collect feature requests in a central place, allow customers to upvote requests, share relevant updates with users, and keep everyone in the loop regarding progress. Sign up to get started for free.