How to handle feature requests from users with Intercom and Github
A hands-on process we use to get from feature requests to happy customers
The full process
Here is the process in short. I will describe it in more detail below.
- Receive requests via Intercom
- Create a user story in GitHub and link it to Intercom conversation
- Prioritize backlog on GitHub
- See conversation pop back up in Intercom after closing GitHub issue => inform customer
- Evaluate metrics of new feature and ask customer how they use it/like
- Remove feature, if it doesn’t bring enough value for core customers
1. Receive requests via Intercom
It often starts with customers asking how to get something done in Gixtra on our Intercom support chat. Instead of simply answering and closing the ticket, we first ask, what they try to achieve. This often gets us to a whole new level of understanding the context and problem they face on the job to be done! A short conversation leads to two things:
- Ideally an immediate solution or workaround for their acute problem
- An idea for a feature to add value for similar customers in the future
Of course sometimes customers address us with ideas and feature requests right away. Even then it is very important to understand the job they’re trying to get done. This lets us get to the core and to even better features to make them more awesome at their job (check Kathy Sierra’s “Badass” about how to make users awesome).
2. Create user story and link to Intercom
We’ve used countless tools to track agile user stories — and they’re all great to some extent. But in the end, nothing beats the simplicity of Github issues :P.
Intercom has a nice integration: simply copy the URL of the Intercom conversation into the issue description (or a comment) on Github et voilà, you will see that the issue is linked Intercom. Now you can safely close the conversation and rest assured that it will pop back up, as soon as the issue will be closed.
3. Prioritize on Github
Don’t forget to prioritize. Not everything has maximum business value. This is a little tricky on Github, but it can be done via their “projects” (Kanban boards).
Here comes the easy part: implement the feature!
5. Inform Customer
After closing the issue on Github, you will see the conversation pop back up in Intercom. Now you can tell the customer, that the feature they needed is now available.
Sometimes it makes sense, to prepare a short screencast video (1min) of how to use the new feature. This video can then also be added to your help pages, YouTube channel (for marketing) and you can present it to other customers via an automated Intercom message with a video embedded.
Now watch how this feature is used. Ideally you had a metric in mind before you started implementing the feature. However, it’s important to measure the success. Also don’t forget to simply talk to the customer — ask them how they like it, how often they used it and where the feature could be improved.
7. Remove feature
If you see a feature not helping your customers being awesome at their jobs, don’t be afraid to remove it again! This might sound like heresy, but is actually the single best action to create a useful product loved by your customers. Seriously: regularly REMOVE features.
This little process might not be for everyone. It’s just how we do lean product development at gixtra.com. I’d be very interested in how you handle feature requests from your users!