How to Find the Best One From Many Requests
If you're a product based company with many customers there are going to be many customer requests for different features. One of the biggest problems many companies face is prioritizing these features. This becomes even harder for start-ups because they don't have a big customer base to get feature requests. In a constantly changing business environment releasing the right feature at the right time can make a huge difference to a business. Below are few ways you can make that decision.
Copy The Competitors
One of the easiest and the best way to decide on a feature. This is especially useful if you are new to the niche and there are already established companies with a customer base. Don't blindly follow them but if one of their features are getting mentions in Twitter, Facebook and other blogs it's fair to assume that it is a needed feature. If you can improve upon that feature then you have already gained a competitive advantages. It is important to remember that marketing plays a key role in any companies success. Even if you are late to release some feature but still market it better than your competitor you are the one who's going to rake in the profit.
The best way to test out a feature is to put it out on the market. As mentioned earlier the business environments are changing rapidly and quick releases are a must. There are new methodologies like Agile development which cater to this specific need. Small teams and companies are well equipped to take advantage of these methods because there isn't much hierarchy. You need to be flexible enough to quickly change the product or give a fix according to the customer feedback. Releasing small features often helps you fine tune your long-term goals as well because you are developing your product according to your customer needs.
Analyze Existing Data and Customer Surveys
If you have enough customers, analyzing their requests is another way to decide on your next feature. Most companies keep a feature list which they rank according to many factors. Identifying and categorizing your customers are critical in this process. In a perfect world you can treat every one of your customers in the same way. But in the practical world you need to spend more time on your higher paying customers. This is especially true if you have a free demo version of your software. In such cases identifying your paying customers and prioritizing their requests is a must.
A Combination Usually Works Best
Usually a combination of all the methods mentioned above tend to work best when prioritizing your next feature. There is no specific way to do it and you are bound to make some mistakes during the process. The most important thing is to listen to your customers feedback and act accordingly. Generally customers are willing to forget mistakes but they hardly forget unresponsive customer service.Learn from your mistakes and fine tune your process and you will get many happy customers.