You rely on your testers to give you relevant, high-quality feedback about your product. This requires fostering a relationship with them so they feel that they’re being heard and valued.
Tester validation is a key concept in beta test psychology. The easiest way to do this is by establishing a feedback loop in your beta test. Testers submit feedback, your team reviews it, and then you respond to it in a meaningful way. This third step is the one beta managers often miss, leaving their testers unappreciated and unmotivated.
The vast majority of testers aren’t motivated by free products and incentives, but are instead drawn to beta testing for the opportunity to contribute to and improve a product they use. This means that your testers are naturally excited about helping you improve your product.
What can turn them off, however, is if they feel their contribution isn’t recognized or appreciated by you or your team. That’s why it’s important to send something as simple as an acknowledgement that you received their feedback, just to let them know that you recognize their hard work.
Many beta managers simply collect feedback without responding to testers, closing the feedback loop. This can leave testers feeling like their feedback is going into a black hole, which will result in decreased participation rates and lower quality feedback. Thus, closing the feedback loop by letting testers know that their feedback was received and is appreciated (ideally within one business day) plays an important role in maintaining continued tester participation.
Feedback responses don’t need to be complicated. They can be as simple as a quick line letting testers know you’ve read their bug report and thanking them for their contribution. If you have the information, you can even tell testers what’s being done to fix the bug and let them know they might be asked to test the fix later in the test. You can also help the tester by giving them a workaround to their issue in the meantime.
These small responses provide crucial validation for your testers and make them feel like they’re a part of the product improvement process. It lets them know they’re making a difference and that you’re listening to what they have to say. By doing so, you encourage testers to give better, more robust feedback as your test progresses.
If you take the time to write unique and real responses to your testers, they will pay you back tenfold with increased energy and feedback.