While it's possible to only use Feedback internally, opening it up to your customers will drastically improve the amount and quality of data you receive, and will save you even more time and effort that would otherwise be spent speaking with customers and translating their thoughts into Feedback
There are a number of reasons why some companies are hesitant to launch to customers, but we've built in a lot of handy features that enable you to launch safely.
Launch to a Subset of Customers
If you use the Feedback and Resource Center integration, you can launch Feedback to a subset of customers by limiting visibility of the Feedback module in the Resource Center.
Stop New Customer Requests
If you're concerned that launching Feedback to your customers will result in a tsunami of new ideas and angry complaints, then simply prevent customers from submitting new requests.
Simply go to Settings > General > Disable new customer requests.
The benefits of doing this are that you can still collect customer votes and priorities, and you can still use flexible emailing to conduct research and gather use cases. You get all of the benefits that launching to customers provides, but without a flurry of new requests.
Another common concern is that if you decide to work on a request some time after it was initially submitted, the timestamp shown will become a source of friction between you and disgruntled customers who had to wait ages for you to build it.
Fortunately, that doesn't have to be a problem. You can simply turn timestamps off.
Go to Settings > General > Hide timestamps from customers.
This way you can focus on what you are building, rather than worrying about what you aren't.
Gather Feedback on a Smaller Group of Requests
If you'd rather limit the requests that your customers can see, perhaps to research a particular project, or to show a limited roadmap, then you can do that in Feedback with a few tweaks.
One way is to assign the relevant requests to a certain Product Area, and then to give your customers visibility of that Product Area. You could put other requests that you want to hide in a Product Area and keep it internal only. This would result in your customers only being able to see the requests you've assigned to that module.
If you've also decided to prevent customers from submitting requests, then you can create private requests by default, so that only team members can see them. Then, if you want customers to see them, you can simply make them public.
This is a good way of limiting what customers can see in terms of requests, while still benefitting from priorities and research opportunities.
Another way of limiting the requests that are visible to your customers is to moderate them first. You can turn on request moderation by going to Settings > General. Any new requests that come in and are set to "Not Reviewed" will be invisible to customers until you've changed the status.
This means you don't have to worry about your customers seeing requests until you've reviewed them yourself. Reviewing in this context means that you change the status to "Awaiting Feedback".
Email Notifications Without Login Links
Rather than turning email notifications off completely, you can use this setting to turn off any auto-login links.
Auto-login links would allow the user to access the Feedback portal by clicking the request URL in the status response email. By disabling the links, you can still close the feedback loop and keep customer updated, without giving them access to Feedback.
Head to "Settings > Email and Whitelabel", and then check the box labelled "Disable auto-login links in visitor emails".
As you can see, launching Feedback to your customers doesn't have to be scary. You can effectively "soft-launch" to customers using the methods above, and still benefit from the data and research opportunities that launching to customers provides.