Why All Product Owners Should Use Feature VotingEmma Harris
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot - voted a top CEO in America.
In fact without customer feedback we are all destined to fail. Without customer feedback, we don't know what we are doing right and we should do more of and we don't know what's not working and we should change.
This applies across the board to any business or organisation with customers - and it absolutely applies to anyone developing a software product.
- What is Feature Voting?
- All Feedback is Collected in One Place
- Feedback is Easily Organised and Prioritised
- You can Act on Defects Fast
- Development Progress Communication is Baked-in
- Capture Written Feedback
- You Know What Your Customers Want
- Great Product Decisions Make a Great Business
- How to Get Started Now
What is Feature Voting?
Feature voting is an excellent way to collect feedback from your users, as it directly leads to an improved product. Your customers feedback and vote on product features - both the ones currently in your product and the features they would like to be there - so you can instantly see:
- Major product bugs - any issues that are preventing your users from getting the core value from your product and need fixing urgently
- Minor product bugs - the issues which don't distract from the core product value, but don't quite work for your customers
- Feature requests - the new features that your customers really want you to develop next
Reason enough to use feature voting you might think, but if you choose a good feature voting tool like Ask The Crowd, multiple other benefits also follow:
All Feedback is Collected in One Place
Customers often have great ideas and these should never be allowed to go to waste.
All of Triaster’s best product ideas have been suggested by our customers, so we absolutely know that user feedback is invaluable.
However, when you get lots of user feedback, via lots of different channels, it can be difficult to manage. From your help desk, to live chat conversations and in emails, great and valuable suggestions can be fed-back via many routes and can (shock horror!) get lost; feature voting systems store all this feedback in one place.
Feedback is Easily Organised and Prioritised
Customer feedback is always invaluable, however it only actually becomes valuable, when it is organised into the buckets or categories that are meaningful to your business.
Until this is done, customer feedback is just a mass of information. Once categorised, it becomes the start point for action.
The first stage of categorisation for product feedback is generally sorting it into the buckets or topics of:
- Product bugs - any issues that are preventing your users from getting maximum value from your product and need fixing
- Feature requests - the new features that your customers really want you to develop next
You may also have other categories that are useful to you.
Next you need to prioritise what your team will work on within each these categories.
Hopefully, there won't be too much feedback on major product bugs, which you will obviously want to fix right away - but if there are any decisions to be made about which minor bug to fix first, start on the one with the most votes.
Generally the most customer product feedback is to be found within the feature request category - and here it can be especially difficult to decide which features to prioritise for development next.
With feature voting however, the ‘cream floats to the top’. The suggestions your users want the most, get the most votes - so you know exactly what your users really want you to work on next. You can also use feature voting to find out what your users really don’t want, as your users vote suggestions down as well as up.
Feature voting systems mean that feedback is not just organised, but prioritised too.
By creating different categories, bucket or topics, you group feedback and encourage feedback on particular aspect of your product such as defects or newly launched software. The more you know about your users and what they want the more you can improve your product.The ability to see which users are making which suggestions also allows you to tailor your product to a specific user group.
You can Act on Defects Fast
By creating categories or topics for product bugs, your customers can easily make you aware of any defects in your product and any issues that they are having.
And you can quickly fix them.
You will want to fix any major product bugs as a top priority and a voting system enables you to see which issues effect the most customers and which issues customers feel most strongly about - as these will get the most votes.
The sooner you know about an issue the faster you can fix it!
Using a feature voting system to keep track of issues or defects has many advantages:
It saves you and your customers time. There is no need for long emails, your customers simply feedback their problem and get on with their day
You can prioritise which issues to fix first, as feature voting gives you an idea of how many people are experiencing the problem
Instant communication – you can tell your customers you are aware of the problem and update customers on exactly where you are in the fixing process
Development Progress Communication is Baked-in
All good feature voting tools, enable you to share with both your customers and your team how you plan to act on each item of feedback or suggestion.
In Ask The Crowd, every item of feedback has its own development lifecycle.
As soon as a user submits a suggestion it is given a lifecycle stage, if you decide to act on this suggestion, you update the lifecycle stage of the suggestion.
This creates a transparent product roadmap for your users, and your customers, team members and potential customers know exactly how close each suggestion is to getting implemented.
The lifecycle stage of a suggestion can be updated instantly, so as soon as your company has implemented a suggestion you can let your customers know. Most feature voting systems will also send your users an email to let them know what progress is being made even if they are not online.
This makes communication simple – your users know exactly where suggestions are in your company’s lifecycle, what you are working on and how close it is to being implemented. Your product roadmap is clear to all.
Capture Written Feedback
Feature voting is not all about the votes, the feedback and commenting component of feature voting allows you to capture written feedback. This could be used on your website as testimonials and as motivation for your team, as well as to help you to improve your product.
Comments also allow you to clarify what exactly customers want, if a suggestion is unclear you can ask users exactly what they mean or have a conversation with your users about how best to implement the changes they have asked for.
You Know What Your Customers Want
Feature voting enables you to identify and build what your customers really need.
By using feature voting you can also find out what potential customers want from your product; the changes which would make more people to invest in your product.
This allows you to be proactive and build what your customers really need.
Great Product Decisions Make a Great Business
Using feature voting can help you to increase your revenue stream in three different ways:
increasing the number of new customers
Feature voting ensures you are making the right business decisions.
Feature voting allows you to invite people who aren’t your customers to feedback on your product, you can add people who have trialled your product, but did not become a customer.
Their feedback is invaluable, by finding out if there is a feature your product is missing and that this is stopping people from investing in your product, you can expand your product–market fit.
The best driver of new customers is to build new features that expand your product-market fit.
New Customers = More Revenue
Changing and improving your product based on user feature requests means you can upsell your product.
Feature voting makes upselling easier. When you make a change to your product, based on a customer's request, your product becomes more valuable to them.
The better you make your product the more valuable your product is.
Increased Upselling = More Revenue
It is common sense that the happier your customers are with your product the more likely they are to stay with your company, the more likely it is your customers stay with your company the higher your revenue.
A 5% increase in retention can leads to a 25% to 95% increase in profits.
Feature voting not only helps you to improve your product, thus increasing customer retention, but helps you to build a product roadmap, which is available to everyone.
This product roadmap means that your users know exactly what you are working on, if they know you are working on a problem they have, they are more likely to stay.
Higher Retention = More Revenue
How to Get Started Now
There are loads of great feedback tools out there but by using feature voting you can simplify your feedback process and keep your customers happy!
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Written by Emma Harris
Emma was Operations Director for Triaster for nearly 20 years, during which time as well as learning and perfecting her BPM and process improvement skills, she honed her inbound marketing expertise. She now runs D2e - Designed to engage - which designs and develops bespoke, engaging, HubSpot CMS websites, that help your entire company to grow and scale. She is delighted to still be delivering Triaster's marketing, whilst also helping other companies turn their websites into their hardest working asset.