Is Feature Voting right for my product?

What is Feature voting?

Typically, collecting feedback from your customers is the easiest part. How you manage feedback and how it influences your product decisions is the hardest part. This especially becomes true when feedback starts piling up.
Feature voting is a specific strategy of managing feedback from your customers in an efficient and manageable way.
The basic idea is to have your customers submit ideas on your product and vote on existing ideas from other customers. Although this sounds great, we will explore the issues that need to be addressed to ensure the feedback you get is valuable and representative of your customer needs.

Do not emphasize the voting portion

Before getting into the benefits of feature voting, you must understand the most common issue with most feature voting tools:
The first customer expresses their idea in words, and the remaining 99 customers simply hit the upvote button without expressing what they are voting for.
It is important to choose a tool that encourages direct feedback and discussion instead of just voting. At ClearFlask, you can choose how to structure the feedback experience to avoid this exact situation.

Benefits of feature voting

When you start receiving more than a handful of comments and suggestions per day from your customers, you start to wonder if there is a better way to organize feedback.

Organizing and de-duplicating feedback

A proper tool allows the customer to properly group and link their idea with existing ideas. This takes the load from you and helps you explore feedback by specific areas.

Influence your product Roadmap

The purpose of capturing feedback is to understand how your product needs to evolve. A proper tool allows you to explore feedback efficiently and turn feedback into actions. At ClearFlask, you can link and convert feedback into tasks and in turn prioritize those tasks on your roadmap.

Responses and notifications

The sometimes-forgotten aspect of feedback is to let your customers know what you decided. A customer is happy to know that you have acknowledged their idea and that you are thinking about how to address it. With ClearFlask, you can quickly respond to ideas and let your customer know when their feature is implemented.


When to use feature voting?

Ask yourself if you were a customer of your own product, what would be the best way to provide feedback and receive a response. It is important to come up with your own feedback loop strategy that makes sense for your product.
Here are a few use cases for feature voting:

Community-oriented products

Products with a good-will for the community are ideal for feature voting. This includes open-source software, products with a social aspect, or if you simply want to be more connected with your customer base.
ClearFlask offers free or heavily discounted pricing for community based products. Reach out to us with your product to learn more.

Product development transparency

A product that requires transparency at its core requires your community to be involved in your development. ClearFlask makes this easy with transparent feedback, roadmap and announcements all in the open.

When you don’t have the time

Although laziness is not a valid strategy, feature voting does make feedback collection partly self-autonomous. A willing community and a set of trusted moderators you choose will help organize and moderate feedback and discussions so you can concentrate on building your product.

Addressing common issues with feature voting

A product manager can tell you that most feature voting tools suffer from various issues that make gathering feedback not ideal:

1. First customer gets to write the idea, everyone else blindly upvotes

You end up influencing your product with the first and loudest customers. Everyone else upvotes. It is very important to choose a tool that de-emphasizes the voting portion and extracts direct feedback from customers.
Here are some of the ways ClearFlask addresses this issue:
  • De-emphasize voting: after a vote is cast, an optional “tell us why” input pops up.
  • Votes are hidden away
  • Direct feedback is asked first, community ideas shown later.

2. You end up with a top list of old ideas that you have already addressed and won’t implement.

Default sorting algorithm is Trending to show recent ideas and popular ideas in the recent past.

4. You get ideas from users that are never coming back

Some customers are drawn away when they are asked to provide their email when submitting feedback. To get around this, some feature voting tools allow anonymous posting and voting.
Although anonymous login is needed in some scenarios, it is generally a bad idea. As a customer that doesn’t want to be followed-up on their idea is most likely not worth your time anyway.
To address the initial problem of dreading over customer’s giving up their email, ClearFlask can be configured to seamlessly auto-login users from your service using Single Sign-On.
If this is not possible, we also support being notified using Browser push to make notifications easy.

Bottom line

Feature voting is a viable solution if you use the right tool for the right product. If you haven’t started looking or even collecting feedback, any solution is better than nothing. If you read all the way through this article, mention this article through a support ticket to get a $30 credit to your account as a thank you.
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