As a SaaS do you do custom development?

Anna Kuzma
24 replies
Let's say one of your high-value customers is missing a certain feature, but you currently don't have plans to build it. Would you offer development of this feature (let's say as a module) on a custom basis, meaning you would allocate resources for the development of this feature if the customer pays for it?

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Jaskiran Kaur
I am fond of Science,Technology,Art,etc
Yes my company, Cerebrum Infotech develops customized software solutions. We have developed Apps and Management systems like On-Demand Delivery Apps, E-Marketplace Apps, On-Demand Home-Services Apps, Ride and Rental Apps, School Management systems,etc.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@jaskiran_kaur Thanks for the answer. But the question was about a bit different case... I mean if a company has a product and sells it as SaaS, does it develop features that customers ask on paid basis
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Jaskiran Kaur
I am fond of Science,Technology,Art,etc
@kuzmanna Yes we do that too Anna.
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Jaskiran Kaur
I am fond of Science,Technology,Art,etc
@kuzmanna Is there anything I can help you with Anna? feel free to contact me.
Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@jaskiran_kaur thank you, Jaskiran. Actually I wasn't looking for a development team, just asking other companies to share their experience
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Fabian Maume
Founder of Tetriz.io
It depends if the feature could be used by other people. Feature request from paying user is one of the best types of feedback you can get, but you need to think back a bit to see if it could be useful for other users too. Otherwise, you will endup with a consulting business rather than a SaaS business.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@fabian_maume yes, agree with you Fabian. You shouldn't always do all that customers request. But there can be cases if a particular feature is a deal breaker, so we add it as a module that is switched off by default for all.
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Germanas Latvaitis
Head of product at day and dev at night
Yeah, and it's pretty common with early adopters for B2b Saas. Basically building stuff for clients that you are going to reuse for others. It's a win-win situation.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@germa thank you for sharing your experience, Germanas :)
Sharath Kuruganty
Head of Community at Threado
I wouldn't build something and put massive effort based on one customer's feedback. Try to talk to other customers of yours and have a solid data point where this new feature is going to bring value to everyone else. It's hard to prioritize but it's worth your time.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@5harath in many cases such requests are very custom cases, and will not be used by majority. And quite often the requests are urgent. I mean sometimes we offer to do custom development to develop this particular feature as a module that will be switched off by default
Sharath Kuruganty
Head of Community at Threado
@kuzmanna Ah I see. I guess then it depends on what kinda feature it is and the effort.
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Stefan Morris
I fight for the users
I think this depends on multiple factors: - If the feature has potential outside of the customer's request - How difficult it is to develop - How much maintenance will be required - How valuable is the customer, and is there a possibility of losing them if you do not offer the feature Now if you are asking if *as a policy* would I offer custom development, I would say that it is always on the table - for me, anyways.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@stefan_morris great points, Stefan. I would probably add to you list - Does the feature break the current logics or effect the flows. I think that custom development should more be an exception than a rule
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Margarita Shvetsova
Launched Nitro today 🚀
I think it really depends on how long it will take to develop this feature and whether you have people resources for that... With one of our products, human translation platform, we often implement features which clients asked for. But most of those features don't take too long and can be done in parallel with other tasks. With another product, which is in beta now, we have an important client who requests features and we implement these features as soon as possible. This is exactly what you said: the customer pays for a set of features designed by their request. As this product is actively developing now, this model works well for us, and the customer's feedback is invaluable.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@margarita_s88 Thank you for sharing your experience, Margarita! Great point about the small features, quite often we also make them on the go. What concerns your second case, I think it's very important to stick to the overall product strategy while implementing the requested feature requests. May I ask you, how do you collect and manage the incoming feedback?
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Margarita Shvetsova
Launched Nitro today 🚀
@kuzmanna Anna, glad to take part in an interesting discussion :) I agree about sticking to the overall product strategy, but with our 2nd product it worked differently: what the client requested changed the way we looked at the producted, and it started growing into something bigger and more useful than we thought originally. Regarding collecting feedback, it depends on the team: we have several products and several teams. I mostly work on our human translation service (Nitro) and I'm the one who monitors feedback which comes through Intercom chat and sometimes email. Other Nitro managers and me let the dev team know about the important feedback details: feature requests or suggestions. Usually these get added to Trello as separate cards. The ones which dev team would like to work on get added to Backlog list on Trello, the rest goes to Feedback list and the team browses it when they run out of features to implement. What about you? How do you prefer to manage feedback?
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@margarita_s88 This is very interesting case :) This is always great to receive such kind of customer feedback, especially when it adds value to your product. If a customers asks for a certain feature, and most importantly tells you why he needs it, you don't have to play the guessing game trying to figure out if the feature will be of demand or not. Of course, one customer cannot represent the majority, but you can understand the pains of your audience and see the direction to move to. Such customer-centric development approach can save you lots of development hours working on the things that will not be used. That's really cool. And, if the customer if also paying for the development of these features, it looks like a dream customer :) In our company, we created a Feedback Portal for customers to leave feedback. We placed it on our Support Portal page, and also added a feedback widget on our website. Usually, our customers leave feature requests on our portal. Prior to adding the request, they are suggested similar topics to avoid duplicates. As soon as the request is added, other customers can see it, discuss and leave their votes. This way we can see how popular this feature request is among others and automatically update everyone interested in case the status is changed. Sometimes we publish feature requests to the portal to see the reaction of our customers. We also make our Product Development Board based on feature requests public, so that users can see what we are working on, what's planned, what requests are denied. You can see it here: https://help.useresponse.com/roa... Of course, we also receive the feature requests via email and live chat. In this case, our managers add the feedback to the portal on behalf of the customers.
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Margarita Shvetsova
Launched Nitro today 🚀
@kuzmanna Great idea with the Support Portal page! I've checked it out and it is a good way to collect feedback, and users feel their feedback is appreciated and will be taken into consideration. I got another question: is it easy for your team to keep the feedback coming? I have faced the challenge of getting people to give feedback. Some will take the initiative and let us know on their own, but with the majority of clients it's hard to get feedback, especially because our product is a self-service platform, and people don't feel like spending extra time on such unnecessary things as feedback until they REALLY need something :)
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@margarita_s88 Yes, indeed, creating a public feedback portal helps to create a feeling for the customers that their feedback was heard, and taken into consideration even if they receive "Request declined" message. What concerns your question on how easy is it for the team to keep the feedback coming... A very good question actually :) I cannot say that we are overwhelmed with feedback and feature requests, but considering that we have quite a complex product with wide list of functionality, from time to time our customers are running into some obstacles they wish worked in a different way or suggest some feature they have seen in our competitors functionality. Lots of them use our tool on daily basis, and they know that if they send the feedback, they will definitely get a reply. And our goal was provide them an easy and convenient platform to send the feedback to.
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Stefan Smiljkovic
Visionary of Automatio.co
If the request aligns with our vision/roadmap and the customer is ready to pay a premium for such a feature, then yes! That is a great way to be funded and build what you planned anyway, especially if you are bootstrapping.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@stefan_smiljkovic thank you for the reply, Stefan! Yes, custom development can be a great support sometimes 🙂
Fatih Yıldız
Founder @Newsletter.ist
If your organization tries to grow up, then you need to build whatever your customers ask for. By the time, while growing, you should keep in mind that the mess needs to be organized and cleaned up soon. If you are in a very large organization with thousands of customers, you are more relaxed and spend time on it to understand what it is deeply. So you can make better decisions. I just don't like doing it as it's pretty hard to maintain it in the long term. Even if you do, you should not forget. Most people forget to cover technical debt and welcome to the chaos in the company.
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Anna Kuzma
B2B Marketing & Growth
@fatihyldz1 That's such a great point, Fatih! You are 100% right, large companies wouldn't care about the personal approach and any cust dev. Great customer support and customer-centric development are the things that actually make small companies stand different.