It doesn’t take much for inactive testers to affect your data, especially when it comes to analyzing forms of directed feedback (like surveys or tasks). Even if a small percentage of your testers opt out of responding to a mandatory activity, it can affect your data in a big way. For example, maybe testers who are struggling with installing your product aren’t responding to your onboarding survey. Without their responses you could be losing valuable insight into the actual installation experience.
It’s extremely important that a beta manager not only has a clear plan for maximizing tester compliance but that he or she is willing to put the leg work in to get a high response rate. In an effort to help you develop that plan, here are a few steps you can take to encourage tester compliance:
1. Establish Expectations
Before your test begins, establish participation expectations with your testers so they know what’s expected of them. This will take a couple forms, including conducting intro calls, having testers sign a beta participant agreement, or providing detailed resources for your testers on how they can participate in your test.
2. Introduce Yourself
Depending on the size of your test, you should consider doing intro calls with each of your testers. This allows testers to put a voice to a name and build rapport. Intro calls are also a great opportunity to explain key aspects of your beta test, such as the nondisclosure agreement, the test schedule, and your participation expectations. Finally, intro calls give your testers a chance to ask any questions they might have before your test begins. This ensures your testers are on the same page as your team from day one, which can have a huge impact on tester responsiveness and overall compliance. If you can’t do intro calls with your testers, make sure to send a welcome email with this information instead.
3. Update Testers Regularly
Once your tester activities are posted, be sure to notify your testers so they can get started. In your notification, include the deadline for that activity to be finished. For example, our beta management team assigns activities on Wednesdays and gives testers five days to complete most directed feedback. This ensures testers have the weekend to complete the requested tasks and surveys.
4. Send a Reminder
A day or two before any tester-facing deadline, send a gentle email reminder to any testers that haven’t completed their assignment. Make sure the email includes a link to the activity in your beta portal so they can easily find and complete the task assigned to them.
5. Continue to Follow Up
Once the deadline passes, send another email reminding your testers to complete their activities. Remind testers of the consequences of not participating in a timely manner (such as losing their opportunity for the project incentive or future testing opportunities).
6. Feel Free to Call
There are plenty of reasons why a tester still might not have completed his or her assigned activities. Your emails could be going to their spam folder, they might be confused about how to complete the assigned activity, or they could have hit a show-stopping bug. In any event, try calling them to find out what is hampering their participation. Often the personal phone call is the nudge they need to get back on track.
It’s important to remember your testers are regular folks like yourself. Reaching out, following up, and being courteous can go a long way towards engaging them. Testers appreciate this engagement more than you think. They can sense when a beta manager plays an active role, which directly correlates into testers that are more responsive, and therefore, more reliable. If you want to know more about how to foster reliable testers and collect high-quality feedback, check out our newest resource: The Feedback Playbook.