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Aug 20, 2019 06:44:26

What is the best way to respond to a customer that is requesting several custom features?

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Sarah Hum

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Continuing to answer Quora questions to do my 200WaD while marketing Canny.

Here's my answer to: What is the best way to respond to a customer that is requesting several custom features?

If you're on Quora, your upvote would help my answers get seen. Thanks in advance!


Before you decide that their feature is truly custom, make sure you dig into their use case a little more. For example, you can ask:

  • What problem are you trying to solve with this feature?
  • How do you do that today?
  • What's an example of what you're trying to do?

Oftentimes, we find that people think they want something but we have a better solution. Either we have a workaround or we have a different opinion on how it should be done. Offering your knowledge of the space will actually help build trust.

If their request is something we'd potentially build, we add it to our Canny board. We send them the link as well so they know that their feedback is being tracked. This also helps set their expectations because they can see everything else we're considering.

Thanks for your feedback! I've tracked your feedback here: [link] so you'll get updates if we decide to prioritize it. Feel free to chime in there with additional thoughts.

If the customer is someone we really want, we add:

If this feature is a dealbreaker for your team, let us know and I'll escalate your request to see what we can do.

At that point, it's up to our team to decide if we want to prioritize it sooner than later.

If you decide that a customer's request is something you'll definitely never do, just let them know that. Don't give them false hope. They will just be disappointed down the road and that will reflect negatively on your team.

Bigger companies are especially notorious for requesting custom features. In these cases, we usually say something like:

We've decided we're currently unable to prioritize feature X and Y.
We're a small team and have to be careful with how we spend our time. These features would take up over a month of full-time work. They also wouldn't add value to our existing customers.
We understand that these features are likely dealbreakers for you but let us know if you're still interested in moving forward.

Just be clear and transparent about why you wouldn't build their feature. The best you can do here is give them a positive experience even though the answer is technically "no". They might even decide to stick with you just for that.

Originally published at www.quora.com

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