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Releasing a New Feature? Don’t Forget to Do This.

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You put a lot of work into every new feature you build. Maximize the impact of your effort with this simple customer outreach strategy.

When you release a new feature for your product, or a new offering for your service business, it’s usually the culmination of a lot of hard work and time spent getting things right.

Of course you want as many people as possible to know about it.

Yes, you should always keep your customers in the loop about product updates.

Yes, you should do in-app announcements about important new features.

Yes, you should send email alerts about truly game-changing improvements.

But there’s a simple tactic that few companies ever think about that ends up leaving a huge pile of customer delight and goodwill on the table.

That simple tactic?

Going back to the very same customers who requested that feature and sending them a personal note.

If it sounds obvious, well, it should be. But sometimes the obvious tactics are the ones that get lost the easiest in a sea of high-level strategic thinking about mass email campaigns.

Today, I’m going to show you the simple system that we use at Groove for tracking feature requests, and how we turn that tracking system into hundreds of thrilled customers each time we release a new feature.

How We Track Feature Requests at Groove

Trello is one of our favorite tools for customer service, as well as project management in other areas of our company.

When a feature request comes in from a customer, we log it in Trello.

And when multiple customers request the same feature, we add a hyperlink to their Groove ticket directly to the Trello card.

This system lets us track all feature requests in one central place.

And it also gives us immediate access to every customer who requested a particular feature.

How We Let Our Customers Know About New Features

When we release a new feature that has been requested by our customers, we do a few things to spread the word.

We post an update to our product blog.

We let all customers know, either via an in-app pop-up message or an email, depending on the size and impact of the feature.

And we reach out to every single customer who requested that email with a personal follow-up note.

That third step is the one that most businesses neglect to do, and yet it’s the one that results in the happiest customers for us.

The reason is simple: these customers have told you exactly what you can do to make them happy. If you do that thing, why wouldn’t you tell them about it?

The feature request tracking system above makes this process easy.

Here’s what we do:

First, we create a Common Reply in Groove (our help desk)

Next, we send this email to each customer who requested that particular email, and we try to personalize it wherever we can.

Yes, we could automate this process and send all of the emails at once.

But I don’t recommend it.

Spending the extra couple of hours sending personal emails is worth it. It helps you build better relationships with your customers, and frankly, they’ll love hearing the good news in a personal email, rather than a mass newsletter.

The responses we get range from customers who are just happy about the feature…

To those that couldn’t be more delighted:

Over the last couple of years, this simple step has helped us bring back some businesses who had abandoned Groove, make existing users see how much their feedback is valued, and build deeper relationships with thousands of loyal customers.

The Value of That Extra Step

It’s been said by countless football coaches, fortune cookies and break-room motivational posters: the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

And while it sounds like a cliche, it’s true.

Customers don’t expect that little extra, because most companies don’t give it to them.

By taking the small step of a personal email to a customer that requested a feature, you set yourself apart from 99% of those that they do business with.

It’s a differentiator that helps build better relationships with your customers, and that’s a benefit worth spending a little bit of extra time on.

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About the Author

Len Markidan heads up marketing at Groove. He’s focused on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers.

Read his latest posts or follow him on Twitter

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