Feature Voting - why you should use it & best practices
Do you know what matters most to your customers and which customers care about what? Use feature voting to take the guess work out of feature prioritization. Read this post to find out why you should use feature voting and best practices.
What is feature voting?
Feature voting or roadmap voting is when customers vote for features that they want on the product roadmap. The features with the most votes are shown on top of the list of features, similar to Reddit. The way this is usually done is through a page where your customers post feature requests, and if they want a feature that has already been requested they upvote it instead of adding a duplicate.
Why use feature voting?
1. Know what matters to your customers
The main reason to use feature voting is to find out what matters most to your customers and also what matters to which customer.
- Know what matters most to your customers. Your customers will upvote the features that are the most important to them. If you build features that your customers want and value, you will make your product more valuable.
- Know which customers care about which features. Check which customers are upvoting which features. If you have more than one customer segment or persona, you can see what's important to each segment and you can make product decisions based on the segment that you are prioritizing.
2. Take the guesswork out of your feature and roadmap prioritization
Feature voting is a great way to take the guesswork out of knowing what your customers want. Once you know what your customers want, you can use that prioritize your roadmap to make sure you're building the right products
- Prioritize your roadmap based on data. Always have an up-to-date list of your top requested features. Use the number of upvotes as one of the data inputs that go into your product prioritization. Combine this with other data points such as effort to develop the feature, strategic importance, etc. If you want to dig in to product roadmap prioritization, check out Intercom's RICE framework or the classic impact & effort matrix.
- Keep your backlog organized and up-to-date. 37.9% of product managers say their backlog is a jumble in a recent study. Stay out of that mess and have an organized backlog by gathering all your feature requests in one place with information about how many customers and which customers have voted for a certain feature.
3. Let your customers know when you launch something that they have asked for
When I use SaaS tools, I often find myself looking around for somewhere to share feedback (which is a large part of the reason we decided to build Convas, more about that here). And then when I find that they have a feedback page where I can share or upvote feedback, see what others are requesting, and what the company's plans are, that's great. I can both offload my feedback and get a feel for where the company is going.
The real game changer, however, is when I'm notified when something that I have asked for or upvoted has been launched. This makes me feel both valued and listened to. It's an easy way to give your customers a great experience, and something that way too few companies do.
In the end, it all comes down to growing your business through happier customers. Use feature voting to know what your customers want and value. Use that to guide your product development to create a more valuable product for your customers to drive growth and decrease churn.
It's important to execute roadmap voting well to get the most out of it. Some best practices:
- Engage with your customers. Get down to the details of what your customers are really asking for. Ask questions, get details and test your solution ideas. Remember that customers can have different views of what problem a feature should solve. If you want to dig into more details through a customer interview, the feature page is a great way to know who you should be talking to.
- Be transparent and straightforward. If you decide to not implement a feature that has been requested, be open and transparent and explain why you have made that decisions. It could be that it's not aligned with the direction that you're taking the product or that it's not right for your business. Whatever the reason, communicate it clearly to your customers.
- Curate your feature voting page similar to a forum. Be an active curator of your forum to keep it relevant and neat. Merge any duplicate or similar requests and keep comments relevant and helpful.
- Update your customers on your progress. Keep your customers engaged by updating the status of requested features. Let them customers know that you're listening to their feedback and taking action.
How to get started
The easiest way to get started with feature voting is to use a specialized tool such as Convas 😉 (check out our feature voting tool use case). There are other tools that you can use as well such as voting power-up if you use Trello or issue voting if you use Jira.
If you use Convas, you will also have a public product roadmap where your users can track the progress of the features they're interested in. Letting your customers know that you're taking action based on their feedback is key to closing the customer feedback loop. It's a great customer experience to be notified by a company that they have just launched something that you have requested!
Check out our public roadmap to see what we're working on.
To sum up
Use feature voting to find out what your customers want, use that to guide your product development and grow your business through happier customers and a more valuable product. Also, give your customers a great experience by tracking what they want and letting them know when you launch something that they have requested.
To get started with feature voting, give Convas a try (we have a free plan to get you started)
Plug: Convas, a feedback page for your company
Convas is a feedback page for your company. Gather all your feedback in one place, understand your customers and build the right products.
Your customers can share, discuss and upvote feedback in one organized place. Stay in control without messy spreadsheets, emails and Slack notifications.
Its a product manager's best friend. Try it for free.