UserVoice is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that removes the guesswork from product management by providing a seamless approach to gathering user feedback and making informed decisions as a result. It helps you manage feedback (questions, comments, concerns) from your sales and support team, which ultimately allows you to evolve your business strategy and reallocate resources if/where needed. Even better, it permits you to request new features from Microsoft that may actually make their way into development, features that will help you better serve your customer base.
In our recent article about Microsoft Teams, we discussed the features and benefits that apply to your company. What you may not have known, is that Teams, among other MS 365 applications such as Office, has partnered with UserVoice. As a result, MS 365 subscribers may leverage the tool to build a suggestions portal for their staff and stakeholders to submit feature ideas, establish a ticketing system for customer support, and contribute an articles knowledge base. Sound good so far? Let’s take a closer look.
In order to leverage UserVoice you must connect your account and throttle limits as needed. From there you can take a number of actions such as create, retrieve, update, or delete a UserVoice item. You will be able to set up trigger parameters that let you know when a UserVoice item has been created and/or updated. You may also create definitions that help users understand items being added to the portal, and users can of course submit feedback throughout. Microsoft has provided a guide for connecting to this innovative product management and customer support tool here.
A perfect example of how you can leverage UserVoice as an MS 365 subscriber is found with MS Office. Microsoft has stated it simply enough: “UserVoice is the official suggestion box for Microsoft Office”
Let’s say that your IT person has expressed a frustration with the current version of Outlook. They simply click the link for Outlook in the portal, and check to see if someone else has already submitted similar feedback before creating a new comment. If there is a similar comment, they can “vote” for the feedback creator’s suggestion and even add their own comments in the thread. The more comments and votes a feedback item gets, the more likely Microsoft will be move it into development. UserVoice activity essentially leads to prioritized software development.
Conversely, if your IT person cannot find a similar Office product frustration, they can create the item and see if others vote and submit their own comments, among which may be the answer your own company was looking for. Ultimately, the UserVoice Answers community is the best place to post and review questions or comments on existing MS product versions.
Need more tangible examples of how it works? Below we have provided links to real MS Office 365 UserVoice forums to show how items have been or are being actioned:
Development completed - Request to change Exchange Online recipient limit (1,547 votes)
Development in the works - Request to change the tenant name in Office 365 (10,392 votes)
Alternative solution - Support a Catch All email address (292 votes)
UserVoice’s application in MS 365 may seem like nothing more than a forum that allows you to discuss limitations and request new features from Microsoft. It is that, but more. The feedback that you receive on your own requests can provide the answers you need to better leverage your MS 365 subscription for enhanced productivity. This ultimately allows you to better serve your own customer/client base. If you have presented original feedback that garners votes and engagement from the community, you may even find that your suggestions are actioned by Microsoft. At that point, a significant product (and productivity) management concern and/or opportunity will be effectively addressed by new product feature development.