Workflow of the Week: Leveraging Product Feature Requests
Bringing customer feedback to the forefront and improving user experience with automated feature requests.
With the rise of SaaS technology, customer feedback is no longer a source of anxiety, but rather contains insights that we celebrate. As Wai Wong explains in a recent Forbes article, “The service desk was traditionally viewed almost solely as a cost center. The objective was to handle incoming requests for support as cheaply as possible.” But this is no longer the case.
Today, customer feedback is not only valuable, but foundational; it is one of the best ways to learn what customers want to see in a product, and accordingly provides real-time validation of your product roadmap. Harvard Business Review confirms that the best organizations “begin their feedback loop at the front line” rather than building out an elaborate research mechanism ex nihilo. Once you have a product, you’ll want to improve upon it in a way that’s intuitive both for your team and your customers who use it most.
How to drive a productive customer feedback cycle using feature requests
Feature requests are an important part of the customer feedback loop. They give customers an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the product and the organization behind it, transforming users into power users and advocates into champions. But with the possibility of building stronger relationships and improving the product roadmap based on real, pressing needs, comes the possibility of not living up to your own standards.
The only thing worse than not having a feature request portal is not maintaining the one you have set up. We can all recognize the special kind of frustration that stems from an earnest request to improve a product or flag an issue that never receives a response. When customers vocalize the need for an improvement, they are taking the time to help your product. Not providing a response is rude at best, and, at worst, a missed opportunity for real improvement.
But responding to requests can be time-consuming, and product managers must balance customer ideas with longer-term company strategy. One of the best ways to get the most out of your customer feedback while also protecting your time is to implement workflow automation.
Streamlining feature requests with workflow automation
Leveraging workflow automation, customers can easily fill out a form with key information on the feature that they are requesting. And with the right workflow platform, you should be able to post the form wherever you need it, including:
- Embedded within a platform you already use
- On your website
- As a link that can be clicked from wherever you specify
Captcha authentication becomes more important for these customer-facing forms if the intake is not located behind a password-protected page. A robust workflow automation platform would allow you to maintain the intake form on multiple pages, depending on your needs (imagine a feature request that is public-facing for your customers, but also has an internal aspect for your colleagues!)
One of the top benefits of workflow automation? Not only does it provide an easy-to-use interface for your customers, but it also should have automated responses built into the process, so that customers know their requests are being handled.
While your internal team will have full visibility into the requests and can easily track them internally, notifications can be automatically sent out to the customer to let them know where their requests stand as it moves through your internal review process. Whether they are being added to your roadmap, backlogged, incorporated into a larger feature, or even if they do not make the cut,this kind of robust response capability lets your customer know that their requests are being taken seriously.