Feature requests come in once a product has an active user base. Engaged users will request new features to improve the product for their needs - sending valuable fresh ideas.
But not all ideas are good for your product and cannot be converted to new product features. Some are hindered by limited dev capacity and others can conflict your product strategy. Requests should never be responded to with a simple 'no' or decline. Managing feature requests graciously without saying 'No' to customers is not rocket science.
This is how we manage our own feature requests at Productific. Instead of saying 'no' we follow a three-step-process to nurture user relations for the long term.
Feature requests often fit one of the following patterns. Knowing the patterns helps engaging with active users and efficiently communicate with users 1-to-1.
Feature already exists
The requested feature already exists in a similar way. Point the requesting user to the existing feature and check it really solves the pain.
Feature already up for feedback
The requested feature is already listed for voting to best understand priorities for all users. Encourage the requesting user to vote and subscribe for news.
The requested feature is considered to be a bug which will be fixed in the next update, as soon as possible.
Up for voting
The requested feature is understood and appreciated as a desirable improvement to the product. However, due to development capacity constraints it needs to be prioritised Betsy other much desired product enhancements. In order to prioritize for a broad user base, you gather additional user feedback by running user voting. The request is listed for feature voting.
The requested featureis not entirely clear from the submitted info. Seek additional feedback and ask for more details. Ask for reasons, understand the actual pain and desired improvement.
The requested feature is understood, the user value is clear. However, it does not match with the product vision. You want the product to move in another direction and feel this requested feature does not support that direction. Provide reasoning that the requesting user accepts and provide alternatives. Alternatives can range from tips to avoid the original pain another way, all the way to suggesting supplemental tools to help the requesting user.
In all cases make sure to thank the use for the feedback. Express your appreciation for the effort taken and encourage additional feedback for the future. Remember: users send requests because they like your product and want to improve. Doing this, they're in the same boat as you, the owner of the product. Encourage and appreciate their work.
To save your time, Productific provides tool support for managing incoming requests without saying 'no' to customers. Instead of openly rejecting an idea sent by customers, Productific helps engaging with users based on the above patterns. Email templates are available in the dashboard for responding to user requests, one click right at your fingertips.