As a SaaS founder, I often face the challenge of balancing the needs and requests of different clients. Sometimes, a client may ask for a feature that would add some complexity to our product, and that may not be aligned with our vision or the best interests of our community.
That’s what happened recently, when one of our clients asked for a feature that would allow him to manipulate the commissions system for his drivers. He claimed that this was the legal way of doing business, and that he would stop collaborating with us if we didn’t implement it.
Our policy for adding features is simple and fair: you can request a feature, we add it to our backlog, and when others request the same thing, we prioritize it. If the feature seems too good, we create a poll, ask many clients, and if they say yes, we do it. We are building a business for a niche, not a custom software for a specific client.
I tried to explain this to the client, but he insisted on his request. He even asked for a quote for a similar platform with his specific feature. I gave him a rough estimate, but I knew he wouldn’t go for it, because it was not profitable.
Then, I decided to ask other clients, who had enough drivers and could understand the situation very well. They confirmed that the request was not something relevant for them, and that it was actually a bad practice that would harm their drivers and their reputation. That means the client who asked for the feature was trying to play unfair, and that his differentiation was based on price. And because with that price he could not be profitable, he needed other income streams, and looked for loopholes.
The request would not add value to our product, but rather encourage our clients to run their businesses in an irresponsible way. I felt that I had a responsibility to represent the collective interest, and to do business in a way that would not affect our own future.
I’m glad that I asked more opinions and didn’t take all the responsibility. We are building this app for the community, by their needs. Until now, no one resigned the subscription, so I assume we are good, and will see in the future.
What do you think? How do you handle feature requests from your clients? How do you balance the needs of different stakeholders? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.