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You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. It’s a funny phrase, isn’t it? Of course you need to break the eggshell…otherwise you can’t get the delicious, delicious egg into the pan! But we seem to forget this when it comes to customer feedback; you can’t do everything that your customers suggest, so it’s natural to break some eggs (decline some ideas) in the process of accepting and acting on all the great feedback.

Xomba Has Closed 51% of the Ideas on their UserVoice Forum – By Declining Almost Half of Them

51% is an impressive amount of ideas acted on. But Xomba (a community-driven publishing platform that shares revenue with its users) would have been torn to shreds if they acted on only the ideas on their UserVoice forum that they wanted to implement and ignored the others. Don’t fool yourself – your community is smart, and they’ll notice if you’re ignoring the ideas you don’t want to deal with. Luckily, Xomba knows this.

While 47% of those completed ideas were implemented, a whole 42% were declined. When I asked Nick Veneris, CEO of Xomba, how people reacted to having their ideas declined, he was very straightforward:

“Honesty is the best policy. We rarely decline legitimate requests. If the idea makes sense, we’ll debate it and allow it to remain on the forum for other users to comment on. I think it’s better for an idea to be under review or active rather than just killing it. What makes UserVoice so great is that we can solicit feedback from our users and allow ideas to evolve into something that is fantastic. If we only [respond to] requests that jibe with our objectives, then UserVoice serves no purpose.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Respect and encourage your community by showing them that you are listening to and acting on their feedback when it makes sense – but that you do have a plan and a vision, and you’ll only act on ideas that fit that vision. They’ll likely understand: after all, they wouldn’t be using your service if they didn’t think you had a good vision!

Xomba Feedback Forum

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that Nick isn’t sympathetic: “I wish we had a magical keyboard that would complete all development in an instant.”

I’ll talk to the team about a magical keyboard, but no promises…

Have your own success story or want to point out a company that is doing an awesome job with their UserVoice forum? Drop me a line at the email address below!

-Evan Hamilton
Community Manager, UserVoice

Nope photo courtesy of  Potential Past.

Eggshell photo by Mary-Katherine Ream