Navigating the World of Feature Voting Tools: Your Key to Success
Before you rush to choose a feature voting tool for your company, consider this...
Product Managers don't have unlimited resources – so the most important question in the world of product management is always why.
Every time a customer says “I need this!” Product Managers think “what problem is it really solving?”.
Every time they hear sales saying “I need X to close this deal” they think, “how does this fit with our product strategy? And does it benefit other users?”
And every time a customer says “I need this to be faster/easier/better” most product people think:
We know because we also remember the same guy said:
It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages. ~ Henry Ford, Founder – Ford Motor Company
So why do you really need a feature voting tool? Obviously, you want to listen to your customers – they pay your wages and if it wasn’t for the problem you are solving for them your product wouldn’t even exist!
But there’s so much more you should consider than this 😉
Bear with us as this next part might seem slightly counterintuitive...
Your feature voting tool needs to go beyond feedback and upvoting.
It should help you engage with your customers, prioritize new features, and take action to build a better product.
It’s meant to allow you to conduct better customer research and interviews with context.
Trigger upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
Or even increase customer satisfaction and the volume of constructive feedback you receive
A great feature voting tool should have all the benefits related to sharing your public roadmap with your users as a feedback channel.
Like gaining more customers, helping you triage your backlog, building a more transparent process, and avoiding friction within the feedback collection process.
And it should do that without forcing you to use a public roadmap. Giving you the ability to select and deploy the feedback channels that are most relevant for your business, so you can easily make it fit in your current process.
Perhaps by collecting feedback using an in-app widget:
Or by simply forwarding an email…
Or processing and storing notes taken during a customer interview…
Feedback is an entry point. And transparency is only a means to serve your product strategy.
A feature voting tool has no value if it can’t turn feedback into actionable insights to help you prioritize your product features and backlog. You need to be able to organize things in ways that will help you inform your roadmap within your strategic priorities.
And to help you see things more clearly and connect the dots, your tool should have filtering or scoring by using tags and categories.
With the right strategy and functionalities, a feature voting tool can help you gain more influence over all of the business.
So how can you make this happen? 🙂
By fully integrating it in your product management workflow with...
Your Customer Data
When we collect feature requests, we need to know who’s asking for what.
So your preferred feature voting tool should be able to connect to your back-end or your CRM and recognize them automatically when they leave feedback somewhere.
The idea is to have a single source of truth when it comes to customer feedback and help you get the context you need to have.
Because you won’t pay the same attention to a startup that just signed up for the free plan of your SaaS product compared to a loyal and trusted client that fits your ideal customer profile.
Your engineering team
Your product must help you collaborate and share valuable insights with other teams.
Therefore your feature voting tool must act as a bridge between you and your customers and be able to adapt to the way you interact with them.
But it’s also a way to interact with your dev team and bring the “act” into the customer feedback flywheel.
Your feature voting tool should be able to sync with your dev tool and give your team a sense of the user stories and customer profile behind the feature request, with added insights about why they build a specific feature and for whom. That’s how better product decisions are made!
Managing user feedback means building a feedback loop. After all, it’s not just about asking what customers want, it’s also about keeping them informed about what’s going on. A great feature voting tool is a great feedback tool. It needs to build a collaborative approach with your customer, automatically informing them about what’s happening with the improvements they requested and managing their expectations throughout.
5 Feature Voting Tools For Product Managers
There are no perfect feature voting tools on the market, but here’s a list of some of the best ones:
ProdCamp (Yes, shameless plug!)
ProdCamp is a feature voting tool that helps companies centralize user feedback. It goes way beyond traditional upvote and even feedback management software.
- Unlike others, ProdCamp adopts a specific structure where feedback is combined under features, giving your product team a unique perspective between user feedback and requested functionalities.
- ProdCamp enables execs and product people to build the best feedback management workflow, adapted to their clients and product specifics while handling many aspects of the feedback loop automatically.
- And because it is built for SMBs, the pricing is way more affordable and scalable than its competitors.
- ProdCamp isn’t suited to large enterprises that have 1000’s of employees, large custom tech-stacks, or have demanding service requirements like 24/7 support.
Productboard is a feature-rich product made for enterprise businesses. It focuses on rallying customers around feedback boards, public boards, and roadmaps.
- Productboard is a good fit for businesses that rely heavily on roadmaps as their way to collect feedback.
- The company was established back in 2014 and has 230+ employees which makes it a reputable player in the space.
- From a product standpoint the way Productboard handles prioritization relies on a single method that doesn’t fit every business.
- Some users report that the interface is overly complex which makes things tricky to deploy and maintain.
- The slowness of the platform is also mentioned in some reviews.
- ProductBoard limits each subscription by the number of viewers and editors, so your pricing will grow very quickly to over hundreds of dollars per month. The pricing is considered tricky and unclear by most users, making it extremely complex to control costs.
UserVoice is a veteran in feedback collecting. It went straight to the top of the market for enterprise SaaS companies and has been there for more than a decade.
- As an old dog in the industry, UserVoice has amassed an impressive logo bar over the years.
- The platform isn’t known to be particularly easy to work with.
- UserVoice is quite expensive – to get an exact price you’ll have to request a demo and go through their sales process as the pricing isn’t publicly available.
- Some of their biggest customers have started to look elsewhere. Slack has moved to Trello. And Microsoft is in the process of migrating to their own platform solution for feedback collecting.
Pendo is user and product experience software – not a feature voting tool. However, we know many product managers are likely to consider it as an option so here’s our verdict.
- If you have enough internal technical resources, Pendo is a wonderful tool and a great solution for capturing everything around your customers’ experience.
- Pendo is quite complex to deploy and maintain. This means it’s not a great choice for small-medium-sized companies.
- By using a tool that wasn’t specifically built to use feature voting, gather feedback, and process feature ideas, you’ll miss out on popular features of other tools and frustrate your product team.
- While there’s the option to try Pendo for free, Pendo is a pricier option with pricing available only on request.
Like some others, Canny is an interesting tool that mostly focuses on using product roadmaps to collect user feedback.
- While Canny misses many useful features, it still tries to address the feedback cycle and is at least purpose-built for handling customer feedback.
- Because Canny focuses on a single object, “the features”, it pushes its client’s customers into the solution space (versus the problem space = what problem do you have?) and forces users to imagine their own solutions which can easily lead to trying to build faster horses.
- Overall, more and more companies are tired of the “per voter” pricing Canny enforces. For companies that have a large volume of users or rely on a freemium model, the bill can quickly go through the roof.
Remember, a great feedback voting tool is so much more than the ability to collect upvotes – otherwise, everyone would just use an Excel or a Trello board. Make sure to think about which solution is best suited to your size of business, which is most affordable, and most importantly, which can handle the entire feedback loop.
Best of luck with your search! If you want to learn more about ProdCamp, feel free to...
Still a bit confused about feature voting tools? Check out our FAQ below:
What is a feature voting tool?
A feature voting tool allows product teams and companies to collect upvotes on proposed product changes from customers or other stakeholders. Companies use them to understand how many users are interested in what they are building and collect additional information about their users’ needs before and after they release a new product, feature, or functionality.
How do you use a feature voting tool?
Not all feature voting tools are equal. The majority of them only focus on getting customers to propose new features and upvote the ones they like.On the other hand, the best tools can capture feedback from wherever a customer provides it such as in a support ticket, on a review, or in an interview. They can then process these suggestions or upvote on behalf of users, ensuring you collect the opinions of all your users, and allowing you to act rapidly without waiting for your monthly or quarterly surveys.