we are planning to publish a regulation on ideas area.
I'm thinking to write a post, as Community Manager, where explain to user how this area works.
2 questions for you :
1. have you done something like this?
2. What are your best practices on ideas area? how often do you give feedback to users?
ok...are 3 questions 🙂
thanks for your contributors!
Yes - educating and setting expectations around Ideation is very important:
In addition, we are monitoring the area constantly to ensure submissions adhere to the guidelines.
Good topic. Regular updates to users who have invested the time to give you feedback is really important.
Of course, the hard bit is ensuring that it happens. You do not want to be promising something you cannot keep to.
My experience is that clients absolutely love the idea exchange, but managing it in an active community does require significant time investment. For anyone reasonably new to ideation I always say that they should never underestimate the level of management required, particularly as time goes on. Ideally it needs to form a part of your company's development cycle. So before and after each release you are updating clients on the status of their idea.
You might also want to think from a customer point of view about what is a realistic expectation for how quickly you respond and change the status of an idea to a "Under Consideration" or a "In Development" or perhaps a "Maybe Later". I would think most customers would expect some sort of response within a week, at least to acknowledge their idea, thank them and say it is under consideration.
Good luck, I will be keen to hear what you come up with.
we decided to publish a post where we declare the average timing for feedback an a kind of regulation of this ideas exchange (what we expect, how it works, etc)
we will report all ideas received in a month and then we have a monthly meeting with other areas (Product, Digital and so on) to collect their opinions on the ideas.
After this meeting we go back to the community and said if an idea is accepted, in development or rejected… we expect to give feedbacks on the Community every 30 days.
1. 31 December: collect and report all the ideas received in the month
2. within the first week of following month (7 Jan) meet the owner area for a feedback
3. in the following 7 days (15 Jan) write a feedback to Community
So, in the worst case (idea submitted 1 December) user must wait 45 days...
Good stuff @SimoneM, that sounds like a very thorough process and one that will be easy to understand for the community. I'm sure they will appreciate your transparency.
I'm not sure what official language you'll be using for your "rejected" ideas but I would recommend you have a think about whether rejecting them outright is the right approach, especially if you were planning to do it every month. At my previous community we instead had a "maybe later" label. The thinking was that development priorities (and product managers!) can change over time, so we never wanted to totally rule out an idea or suggestion. Obviously this also meant that the idea exchange was always a positive place - that no idea was ever considered silly not matter how impractical - we never dismissed anything outright. And it gave the community a chance to support every idea with their votes. This actually often makes it easier to give feedback later - a customer can be more understanding that their suggestion is not going to be implemented when they can see that it hasn't had the support of the community after many months.
@JasonHill in italian we will use "Non fattibile", we can translate vith "Unworkable" as label and then write a comment with an explanation of why we don't accept the idea.
I'm reading the first ideas we received and some of them are about something we can not develop for technical or legal reason so I think is correct be trasparent and say it to our community.
thanks a lot for the very interesting discussion!
A few comments based on my experience at NOW TV...
We had the ideas exchange already set up when I joined the company. Given we were operating almost like a startup, it made sense to collect ideas from customers to shape our future.
The first challenge with that, though, was that we'd already got a clearly defined product roadmap, which meant some ideas which were requested over three years ago still aren't implemented today (for example subtitles and surround sound). This can cause increased negativity from customers who had a heightened expectation of you intoducing things they asked for.
Secondly, the ideas submitted vary greatly in their scope. As we're a content provider via apps, customers will ask for new device support, increased functionality on devices, specific bits of content to be added to the service, and even extra TV channels to be added. There's not really a lot we can do on the content related things, so again, we get customer disappointment off the back of those requests.
Lastly, people don't like searching before they submit an idea, in my experience anyway. When I finally got round to sorting our ideas section out, there were over 1200 individual submissions. About 300 were content related, but the remaining 900 were all to do with general service improvements. After going through them and merging duplicates, I had about 110 ideas remaining. There were A LOT of duplicates!
So, to summarise my recommendations:
I've tackled this fairly primitively, but effectively, with this set of rules/instructions. My ideas board is locked to new posts, with that message linked at the top. If people want to submit a new idea, they follow the steps there to submit a new topic elsewhere on the forum, and then I move the topic over. I also edit the idea title to make it clearer for others to understand.
Great discussion, I wish I had stumbled in here sooner. Here is another example of setting expectations and explaining the different status lables for submissions. Due to the number of ideas received we decided to do something a bit different and archive ideas from view if they were not acted upon after 6 months. It cleaned up the site quite a bit but caused some issues as well since posters could no longer view their archived ideas.
For quite some time I would also write periodic blog posts to highlight ideas that had been at least partially implemented.
I'd be happy to share further if you have more questions and can even speak to a customer's point of view since I have some experience there as well. 🙂
Thank you all for your contributions!
we are receiveing too many ideas (three times what we expected) so we decided to do this:
1. Now: a post to inform users we collect new ideas until 6th jannuary
2. 7 jan: close the ideas exchange
3. analyze ideas and provide a result within 30/40 days
4: send a PM to all users thanking for participating and with a small gift (for example an ebook)
In future: open the ideas change only in specific time windows (duration 1 or 2 months) and replicate the pattern above.
An initial spike is normal when opening up an ideation site. I like to think of it as opening the flood gates, an initial deluge until the level comes down over time. I haven't had any experience with opening and closing of the ideation tool but would hope that it still follows the same trend. This does however afford you the opportunity to properly advertise the ideation periods in advance. Please keep us posted in the traffic trend as you go down this path as I for one would be interested in how it goes. Best of luck.