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How to give your feature request the best chance of success

REMEMBER: If you don't ask, you won't get!


Have you ever wished that the software you’re already using would do something, or work a slightly different way to better meet your needs?

We all know that changing software can be a big upheaval, costing time and money.


So before you make a switch, or even if that’s not on the cards, it’s always worth reaching out to your software company to ask. In the industry, this is known as making a feature request. And these can range from incremental improvements to your biggest hopes and dreams.

In fact, good software companies will go out of their way to solicit this feedback. After all, you’re helping them improve their product and ensuring you (and their other customers like you) stick around. If there isn’t an obvious way to submit your feature request, you can always contact the support team and ask them to pass it on to the right people internally.

I know all this because before I started Coellaborations, I served as Director of Customer Experience for an enterprise SaaS company. It was my job to ensure we had a solid feedback loop from our customers that fed directly into our product development lifecycle. A seat at the table advocating on behalf of our customers and deciding which feature requests would make the cut was something I found very rewarding.


Here are my tips for how to give your feature request the best chance of success.

  1. Start by describing the problem you are trying to solve in as much detail as possible.

  2. Explain why your proposed change would help and what value you would get out of it. For example, the amount of time it would save you, or how it would enable you to better serve your own customers.

  3. Use screenshots or flow charts as a great way to illustrate what exactly you’d like the software to be able to do.


Once you’ve submitted your feature request, don’t forget to keep tabs on it.

The reality is, there is an endless list of improvements that could be made to any given software, but your software company will have finite resources. The more customers ask for the same feature, the more likely it is to get prioritised. If you don’t hear back after a while, it won’t hurt to check-in. Sometimes the squeaky wheel is the one that gets fixed.


If you’re told your feature request has made it on the roadmap, that’s good news! There probably won’t be a commitment as to when the new feature will be released until very close to the time, but it should happen at some point.

If you’re told your request has not been prioritised, it’s unlikely to have made the cut. But at least you know your software company took the time and effort to consider it. In my book, that still counts for something.


If you found this information helpful, please do share this blog or comment below.

And I’d love to hear if you have any feature requests in the making or success stories to share.


Naomi

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