How to politely reject a new feature request from the most valuable customers
Methods and strategies that work to politely decline a new feature request that your most valuable customer asked for. Try it out. It just works.
Karthik Kamalakannan / 26 August, 2020
Finally, you’re excited to release a new feature! You just choose for an enterprise package and you’re ready to work with your new customer. You’ve conversed with your team, and everyone is geared up for the new release to help the new customer achieve results by using your software.
And then unexpectedly, an email popped-up from your new client, requesting you to make a “some change in the workflow” of your product.
Though it's a “small change” it can be something minor, like improving the customization or color palette. But, it can also be something more crucial, like adding a new, sophisticated feature.
So, you probably worried about, what can you do next?
The wise thing is to say “No,” and you know it’s hard to do it. After all, heading-up to this sort of request can be time-consuming and cause a great deal of stress. But you’ll be worried about, what if saying “no” causes you to lose your customer?
Would you give in to all of your buyers’ requests, and if not, how will you say “no” without annoying them? That’s something we’ll be exploring in this blog.
No matter what, it’s always crucial to pay attention to your customer requests and feedback. However, sometimes, customers will be asking you for some things which will not give much value to the users except that the one who requested for. In these cases, you should avoid taking those requests as a priority. Here are some of the types:
Just think, that you developed a chatbot in your software and someone asks you to add a feature of “seen” that will help to acknowledge that the person has seen the message.
There is nothing wrong with including simple new features; after all, your product needs to be growing constantly, but not when someone demands a feature only because a particular person wants to overcome a specific issue. This is why you need to have a perfect product strategy.
Every customer may not have similar preferences, so their expectations are only on their side. It’s your job to decide which feature you should work on and which not to be. When you’re creating a universal product, it’s preferable to accept customizing your product to fit their needs which gives value only for particular groups.
For example, you’ve built some webinar creator platform and your user is requesting you to change the UI of the live polls. It’s not about how much you care about your buyers, you can’t just satisfy by adding your product features every time one person requests you to.
Sometimes, your customer may not be aware of the intensity of their request. They think they’re requesting for some small changes, but in reality, they’re requesting for a different product than you’ve already developed which puts a great burden. So, never accept the whole new product when you’re having a lot of things to do that you’re already accepted.
For example, when you’ve created a project event management platform that lets people track their plans while working with logistics. It’s an awesome software that will help people plan and manage their events. Yet there’s someone who depends on you to do the work for them, that means to upload the event data and customize the platform according to their needs. That’s not something you really should give priority.
Because when you’re running through the fear of customer churns you will oblige to accept every single request, that has a high chance of letting your business process fall. Finally, you’ll end up uploading your team with urgent and stress, yet unnecessary work.
Concentrate only on the product roadmap that has a higher value of developing features that will increase the value of your platform. If not, your team will have to race against the clock to add new feature customization for each customer.
A clear-cut product planning gives you a perfect vision of what your platform should look like. Making changes simply to satisfy your customers’ requests isn’t wise, because it involves more work which adds a heavy burden to the whole team behind. And also, you’ll end up distancing yourself from your vision.
Besides, developing new features or doing the work for your customers takes away a lot of time that you can invest wisely in developing a better relationship with other buyers who request smaller features, but more reasonable and understandable changes.
Replying “Yes” to your customers feels incredible.
After all, you don’t want to make them feel you’ve not heard their queries. And, you don’t want to put yourself in other shoes by worrying about customer churns or giving a bad review of your product. But, always trying hard to give your users everything they need at no matter the cost will only lead to a negative ROI and fall down your business. That’s why it’s very crucial to say “no” to your customers sometimes.
Begin by determining the things you can build or and you can’t. Have a keen conversion with your team and engineers and get them to walk you through their process. Get to know how much time they need for tasks so that you can prioritize them accordingly, and find out what possible adjustments they can make without disturbing their workflow too much.
This makes users know that you want to help them but you can’t break the company norms. Formal and well-explained emails have more power and are less offensive than a straight “No, sorry.” In most scenarios, users will understand their request intensity and go with your rules.
The last thing to remember is that users who’re accepting your “ready-to-go” option such as the basic pricing plan, mostly won’t have many requests as those who opt for the “enterprise plan.”
So, whenever you’re getting ready to close a deal with a powerful client, don’t forget to converse about your company’s rules and values. This will save you from future stress and give you the moral right to turn down unreasonable requests.
Let’s say, you can communicate with your customer that this type of request is not part of your product roadmap and can’t be your priority for now. You can also mention that a product update or platform customization is impossible at the moment because you have to prioritize other customers’ requests priority. Always be a good responder and include a detailed explanation. This impresses your customers and is yet appreciable!
When you’re getting a request from your customer, always check in about the issue they’re expecting you to solve. Ensure whether you can do it without making major changes to your product or it is possible to make a change on the way you’re creating something.
In the worst case, it is not possible you can do anything, however, you can still search for solutions or make small product adjustments as an alternative. Your user will check that you’re proactive in your chance to help them, which will strengthen the relationship and trust in your brand.
Voice and tone are matters when you respond with “no”. This is a crucial thing that creates a great impact on your customers’ overall experience. When a customer is reaching you with a request or explaining their issue, employ a positive and reassuring tone.
Always, remain soft and professional, and don’t let them feel you’ve dismissed their concerns. Also, ensure to mirror their tone. If your customer gets disappointed that you turned their request down, it’s not possible to get them back in sync. Showcase them you’re responding to their concerns and show your empathy. This will help you smoothen the impact of your “No.”
Ensure, when avoiding a request, always showcase your customers by explaining to them the possibility of taking action. Encourage them to give their feedback. This develops strong communication and relationships with people. If they accept your denying peacefully, ultimately, they will start supporting your future releases. You can also suggest them to give their feedback via the featureOS product feedback tool which lets them suggest the product updates that they want to see in the future at ease. The best part is you can also manage all of them in a single platform.
Let your customers know that you’re making meaningful changes with their requests and involving them in the process of growing your product. This will make them feel comfortable, even if you’ve denied their request.
Customers only look on their side. Sometimes, their requests can be unreasonable. However, all their requests deserve a soft response from your side. Ensure you always treat users with respect no matter what the request and showcase them that you value their opinion and insights.
If you want to be honest and truly listen to your customers’ needs and engage in meaningful communications with them, you’ll not only focus your relationship with them but also improve the loyalty of your brand and decrease the churn percentage.
So the next time, you’re about to deny an unreasonable request, remember that you can do it the “right” way and still keep your customer comfortable.
Now, I am pretty much sure you will have an idea of how to respond with “No”.
Last updated: December 3rd, 2023 at 8:43:17 PM GMT+0