How to manage bug fixes and feature requests for SaaS
Your goal as a SaaS startup is growth; exponential growth, if possible. In fact, unlike most industries, even if a software company grows at 20%, it has a 92% chance of ceasing to exist within a few years. For SaaS, exponential growth is necessary for survival; it’s not enough just to exist.
Exponential growth requires change. When you have a product and it’s beginning to gain traction and a user base, being agile and flexible to reception and change is key to growth. Listening to customers, working out bugs, updating your product at a fast rate is how a SaaS product carves its path to success.
Taking on the exponential growth necessary can be one of the biggest “make or break” challenges a SaaS company goes through. How your team sets up processes for collecting feedback, listening to customers complaints and suggestions, and responding in a timely manner determines how well your product adapts and how well you build relationships with your user base. We use a lot of customer feedback to determine what new features we are going to create to improve our product.
Managing the bug fixes, new feature requests, and communicating effectively with your customers can be your biggest strength as you grow. Here’s how we do it:
Make it easy to provide suggestions and feedback:
You won’t hear from users unless they can easily find a way to reach you! Collecting feedback is vital to learning what bugs are plaguing your product and what users want to see change to keep them onboard. Make it clear by providing easy to find CTAs for contacting support, reporting bugs, and suggestions both on your site and within your app or platform. Provide multiple methods for contact including email, chat, or even a forum for posting FAQs answered by your staff. This way you can see what is a trend in terms of requests and problems and users can see your staff at work addressing issues. It makes your team look dynamic and working hard to improve your product experience.
Listen to your users feedback:
Getting users to go out of their way to give you feedback can be tough. If you have a support email only system, you will likely only hear from users when something is wrong. You won’t be getting feedback on what they actually like and what new things they’d like to see from you. Make it easy for them to provide more feedback and prompt with more questions for opportunities to get more direct information from your users. You can use chat messaging on your site or in your app, email, surveys, or a Beamer feed. As a product manager, your focus should be gathering feedback where you can from customers and prioritize new developments based on the number of users who request it, feasibility, and consistency with the rest of your features. The key is to generate value always for your users. You can announce ideas and plans for new features in your Beamer feed. Beamer is a news feed that sits within your interface where users can explore updates on just about anything from your team. Users click “What’s New” in your navigation or an icon in your app interface to open up a newsfeed in the sidebar. It looks native to your app or site. With Beamer, users can leave their “reaction” and a comment to your updates like in a social feed. It’s an easy way to gauge user sentiment towards what your team is adding.
Create automated messaging systems to let users know their request will be addressed:
First things first, you need to let users know that they’ve been heard. Even if your product is a digital product, it’s still considered a service. What users are paying for is service from you as well. If your team is small and doesn’t have 24/7 to immediately respond to users messages, it’s imperative that you set up an automated messaging system for whatever methods of communication you use: your email system or your chat service. A short automated email that says we’ve received your request and our team is working to get back to you as soon as possible helps people feel they’ve been taken care of. It assures users that their request will be attended to and gives you some time to get to requests. Even though your team looks small, you look on top of things when users hear from “you” almost immediately.
Have an organized, separate system internally for managing bug tracking, new features, etc.:
When your team does get requests for bug fixes or new features, you want to make sure your team is organized and prepared to handle them quickly. For most startup SaaS teams, there is not a huge number of developers to handle all requests so being organized is key to the best customers service. We use Hibox to manage this. We have a chat stream for new features and a chat stream for bug reporting and fixes. This way multiple developers and employees can managing incoming requests, check on status, and make announcements to users. We can assign tasks for new feature requests and bug fixes. We can assign them to specific developers based on workload and prioritize them based on urgency. We can also upload screenshots in our bug and new feature stream to make discussion more clear. It’s an incredibly easy way to organize the development workload!
Have a central, easy-to-locate place where you can make announcements:
Once your team has gone through and corrected bugs and added features, you want to make an announcement to all your users in an effective way. Emails to your user base often go ignored with open rates lower than 15% normally. You need to have a better way of reaching users so they know your team is working hard to improve your product. Beamer is a perfect way to announce changes and updates to all users, potential and returning, within your website or app. You can add screenshots of new features and GIFs showing how they work for a really visual update. You can create tutorial videos and share them via Beamer as well. Beamer includes colorful CTA buttons to get users clicking and exploring through updates from your feed on your site and in your app.
Additionally, you can reach users off you site with updates. You can integrate with Zapier to auto post to social media and send emails for updates or you can simply flip on web push notifications so users who have opted in get automatic updates from you whenever your team makes a big improvement. Companies using Beamer have seen 10x more engagement announcing changes to users this way.
Address the feedback you’ve received directly in your messaging to your users:
Show users that their feedback and involvement with your product is important to you and your team is listening. When you make announcements, include that your team is working on what users have suggested and asked for. When users see their requests are being taken seriously and your team is working hard to improve the product for them, they are more likely to be loyal to your product rather than look for alternatives. When you make announcements, you can invite them to try Beta so they feel like their part of the process of your growing product. Announcing through Beamer, you can include GIFs to demo new features, demonstrate how and where a bug is fixed, and include CTAs to sign up for Beta.
With these tools and these processes in place, our team, as we’ve grown, has been able to handle plenty of bug fixes and successfully deployed new features. Our users have been a part of the process and we’ve been able to learn a lot from listening to them this way. Your team can reduce churn, boost engagement, and win customers for life in the same way. Try Beamer today for the best way to engage and update your SaaS users.