There’s no other way to say it: the feature voting tool is the most efficient way to collect feature requests.
The reality is that some product managers aren’t using a feature voting tool to collect feature requests but carrying out the entire process manually.
Why do product managers and product management teams collect customer feedback?
Product managers collect customer feedback so that they can release the features and the functionality that their customers will actually want.
Collecting customer feedback is all about getting direct feedback from actual customers.
Customer feedback trumps people’s opinions.
Customer feedback trumps invalid feedback from non-customers.
Customer feedback trumps overreaching management decisions that have been made without any customer feedback.
Customer feedback eliminates some of the assumptions that are inevitable in the customer feedback process.
You get to hear it from customers and not analysis, analytics, data, statistics, a scattered collection of random comments, or spreadsheets.
There is a hard way to collect customer feedback and there is an easy way to qualify customer feedback.
This post will detail the hard way to collect customer feedback.
This method, once implemented, will take days, weeks, months, or even years to complete UNLESS something is put in place to simplify the process, or you have the teeniest, tiniest customer list of all time.
Step 1: Collect All Feedback … By Hand
In order to get the coveted customer feedback, someone has to collect all of the feedback by hand.
Read through every public and private social media comment, live chat, and e-mail that has been received about your SaaS product.
Copy and paste every single piece of feedback that has been identified by you into some type of spreadsheet.
Keep in mind that, unless you have some private social media group set up, not all feedback is actual customer feedback.
Step 2: Check Against Your Customer List
This next step is a real gem.
Grab your list of current, paying customers, and check their names against the names in your feedback spreadsheet.
You are looking to see if the feedback you have received is from real customers, and not from posers, lookie-loos, tire kickers, or people who are simply bored with their own lives and looking to inject themselves anywhere they can, for no good reason.
Step 3: Sort Your Newfound Data
Sort out the people who are real customers from those who are not real customers.
While you are at it, go ahead and sort the customer list by their tiers, levels, and functionality of each product they use from your SaaS company.
Step 4: The Match-Up
If there are customer segments, let’s say different tiers of customers or different features of each type of product, this is another list that must be made and checked.
Match up your hand-collected customer feedback with each customer, segment, and qualification.
Why would you do that?
You would do this activity because some people are not even qualified to comment about the functionality they don’t have because they are not on that plan or they have not upgraded to that tier yet.
Step 5: Add It All Up
Which customer feedback is actually valid customer feedback?
Which customer feedback calls for the customer to upgrade or cross over to an alternate plan or tier?
Which customer feedback is something that your SaaS company can actually use?
How much of the feedback you’ve received is the feedback you can actually develop into a real product feature?
How much of the feedback you’ve counted and read is destined for the trash can?
Step 6: Ask for Even More Specific Feedback
Using this method of collection will create a ton of holes in your customer feedback loop.
That means you will invariably end up requesting even more feedback from the people who are real customers who have valid product feedback.
When you go to ask them for said feedback, will they be responsive?
At this point, you look like you are not well thought out, not very innovative, and quite sloppy because you failed to develop and implement a plan to help actual customers get what they want and need from you.
There is a better way to get real feedback from real customers who have real valid feature requests that will be a benefit to them and their needs.
There you have it.
This is the complete by-hand solution to collect customer feedback the long, arduous, time consuming, lazy (because it is not well thought out) way.
How are you currently collecting, qualifying, and analyzing your SaaS customer feedback?
Tell us in the comments.
If you are looking for a way to get feature requests from your SaaS customers, take a look at our Chrome extension as a way to get feature voting requests from your customers.
Peace and love.