Directed feedback plays a crucial role in beta testing because it allows you to get specific data from your testers to meet your objectives. Rather than just hoping that information comes up as testers use your product, directed feedback allows you to assign certain activities that are designed to collect the exact kinds of feedback you need from your audience.
The most popular kinds of directed feedback beta managers use are surveys and tasks. That said, there’s a wide variety of activities you can use to achieve your project goals. In an effort to help you add tools to your beta toolbox, here is our list of the four feedback activities we’re pretty sure you haven’t tried — but should.
1. Tester Calls
Conference calls (either one-on-one or with a group of testers) offer direct real-time communication with testers, similar to a focus group. These can be scheduled early or late in a beta test, which offers the product team a chance to talk directly with potential customers prior to their product’s release. These calls also increase participation rates by demonstrating the high value the company puts on beta testers and their feedback.
2. Site Visits
Visiting a beta tester is a great way to gain a first-hand understanding of your customers’ user experience. Beyond the natural benefits of a face-to-face conversation, tester visits allow product teams to watch target customers perform tasks in their natural environments, which can provide valuable insight into real-world usage. Tester visits can also increase participation by making testers feel more connected to the beta project.
Asking testers to submit videos of themselves using the product can also provide valuable insight (similar to a site visit). You can request that testers submit videos of specific activities (such as unboxing the product) or ask for video testimonials.
4. Directed Usage
In some cases, a product team might not request feedback at all. Instead of wanting to know what testers think about their product, what they really need is more backend data that’s generated by tester use. Asking testers to do certain tasks in particular ways or at certain times can provide important information about how your product performs in those scenarios without testers saying a word.
Part of what makes beta testing such an effective tool to improve products is its flexible structure. Depending on the kinds of feedback you need to collect, there are many different tools a beta manager can use to successfully collect the right data to achieve their goals. By adding these four feedback activities to your management repertoire, you’re that much closer to gathering a complete picture of how your customers will use your product. If you want to know more about feedback activities, check out our newest resource: The Feedback Playbook.