How should I say no to customer?


10

I have startup software company (SaaS model) that is just me. All funding comes in from my main customer(Customer A). Product still in development and I have specific roadmap for next versions.

At the same time I sold subscription to Customer B. Customer knew what he is buying and happy with the service(features and price). Contract signed, they are using it and all is well.

What I get now is regular (~ 2 times a week) emails from Customer B asking if some certain feature can be added. With first couple I said it is on road map (it's true) but now I'm getting questions about stuff that will be there but in 1-2 years maybe.

I understand where customer comes from (doesn't hurt to ask) but I'm not sure what to answer to this kind of questions. If customer paid for development - I might include it, but even in that case I'd rather not do this stuff. So, I wonder what is correct way to say that:

  • No, we not including features you asking about any time soon
  • Right now we busy with doing work that we getting paid for (separately from service)
  • We might do what you ask about sooner if you "sponsor" this development

P.S. I'm very green in all customer care and sales aspects. Customer B is my first actual product/service SALE. Customer A is my customer for 12 years.

Saas Customer Service

asked Jun 27 '12 at 00:09
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Katit
276 points
  • Just tell him that this is crazy idea and be very firm with this like "noooo waaaayyy". :-) It really works like this with this kind of people. – Andrew Smith 9 years ago
  • I do that with my very old customer. But we know when it's a joke :) – Katit 9 years ago

2 Answers


11

You basically have the answer in your question (though I would leave out your second statement):

We are currently working on several features to improve your experience with Product X.


At this point in time, we do not have plans to add Feature Y to our product. As per our contract, if you would like to pay for the development costs of building this feature, we can arrange to have it built over the course of the next 3 months. The cost would be approximately $1,000, depending on the exact details of the feature.

answered Jun 27 '12 at 02:13
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Elie
4,692 points
  • I'm thinking about making public roadmap for everybody to see and make it clear that "sponsored" features go in first. – Katit 9 years ago
  • That would certainly help with reducing communication (i.e. if someone asks about a feature that's already in the roadmap, you can just point them there). – Elie 9 years ago
  • Great answer - this is how my company works, it's good for the clients and even better for your bank balance. – Nick Stevens 9 years ago

1

I think you should set up a feature request forum that they can post ideas on. There are quite a few services that can help with this, eg...

This way you aren't obligated to respond to every one. They can just know they have thrown the idea into the hat to be considered.

Also, it's tempting to say "yes" too often, but you can't let it deviate you from the vision of your product. You will be thankfully later when you have said "no" to things that you don't want in there. They also wouldn't be expecting you to agree to every suggestion.

answered Jun 27 '12 at 11:26
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Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • Problem is that it's time drain for me to respond to inquiries. Often customer asks for "A" but it really means "B, C and D" and not "small" by any means if this feature to be there for good and useful for all. – Katit 9 years ago
  • That's why I suggest a feature request forum like this. If they email you then you are obligated to respond, if they are just adding it to the forum, you don't need to respond to each one. – Joel Friedlaender 9 years ago
  • My experience with such suggestion forums --as a customer-- is that it most often turns into a giant ugly bucket of wishes, and it's very rare that requested features get implemented, or even those highest-voted. – Torben Gundtofte Bruun 9 years ago
  • I agree that happens often Torben, but it's obviously up to the vendor what they make of the forum. It's a tool they can use, some don't use it well. – Joel Friedlaender 9 years ago

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