We’ve been taking a behind-the-scenes look at the way we handle customer service interactions at Harvest, and we’re currently looking a bit deeper at how we receive feature requests. Earlier this year, we launched Help 2.0, aimed to improve the way you find answers to your questions (and the response has been great). We’ve also been hard at work on continually improving how we deal with bug reports — in terms of getting them reported and dealt with quickly.
Now we’re turning our focus to feature requests – we get dozens of them each week. These requests come in through various channels, like Twitter, over the phone, by email, and through the Harvest Forum. We take feature requests very seriously and strive to keep an accurate count of how many people have asked for something, what exactly their use case is, and how we can get in touch with them (so that we can ask further questions as we begin to develop a feature, and to let folks know when their request has been realized as a brand new, working feature).
We’ve found that the Harvest Forum isn’t doing a great job to facilitate feature requests, and here’s why:
- It’s hard to keep track of who has requested a feature through the Forum, and to get a clear picture of what they’re looking for. When a request comes in by email, we can interact one-on-one with the requester and get a clear picture of what they need. Sometimes they ask for one thing, and by the time we’re done talking, they realize that what they really need is something different. That’s hard to discern when something is followed up by a string of posts that just contain “+1”.
- Forum activity does not directly correspond to our most frequently requested features (but it sure looks that way). If somebody posts about a really great idea, and 25 people respond that that’s a great idea, new forum visitors may get the wrong impression that that is our most requested feature (our current most popular feature request internally has 237 requests). That can lead to a bit of a mob mentality and questions like “why aren’t you working on this, it’s clearly a popular idea” being asked.
- When we handle feature requests one-on-one we can go above and beyond, by recommending work-arounds, 3rd party integrations, or alternate ways of approaching something.
What’s Changing in the Harvest Forum
As of today,
We’ll be leaving the Feature Requests section of the Forum online as a reference for folks, but we will be encouraging folks to get in touch with us directly with their feature requests. We’re going to try to reframe our forums as a place for cooperation, where any member of the Harvest community: staff, customers, 3rd party developers, can ask questions and help out one another. Harvest staff will still be present in the Forum, but we’ll be able to focus our efforts on helping people, rather than simply thanking them for their suggestions.
We’re excited about this change, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with our amazing and insightful community of Harvest users.