A report from the Centercode Research Team found more evidence linking to challenges we as Customer Validation (CV) professionals already know — it takes too much time to get useful feedback. Whether it’s the quality, the lack of coverage, low volume, or simply the effort it demands, more than half of CV professionals reported issues with managing feedback.
The reason? There isn’t always a single cause, but what it mostly comes down to are time sinks. Combine this with the many moving parts of CV — not to mention the number of professionals who are still managing customer tests as just one part of their job — and the fact that there never seems to be enough hours to go around. It’s even more frustrating when you’re putting in a lot of effort and seeing little return.
With the year coming to a close, time is on everyone’s mind — where it goes and how you can maximize your time next year. Here are three reasons why getting enough high-quality feedback consumes so much time, and what you can do to address each one as you plan the year ahead.
Reason #1: You Have the Wrong Testers
Biggest Tell: Not Enough Relevant or Useful Feedback
The wrong kind of testers — whether they don’t fit your target market or they’re testing for the wrong reasons — are a huge time sink, especially when your CV results are on the line. One of the clearest signs that you’re working with the wrong testers is a low volume of quality feedback.
What You Can Do: Look for Enthusiastic Members of Your Target Market
If the quality of your feedback is negatively impacting your results, start by improving the quality of your tester pool. Your ideal testers share the technographic and demographic traits of your target market, so they provide more relevant and thorough insights.
Tapping into targeted testers who are naturally motivated to help you succeed means you’ll spend less time chasing after their feedback, because they’ll be eager to help you improve your product by providing detailed feedback. This means a boost in both volume and quality.
Need somewhere to start? Try the tips and strategies in the free Recruitment Kit.
Reason #2: You Have Too Many Testers
Biggest Tell: Redundant Feedback
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too many testers. One of the biggest signs is redundant feedback; you’re pulling in the same insights over and over — but still not getting coverage for all of the features you need to test, given the amount of time you spend triaging customer input.
What You Can Do: Figure Out Your Ideal Number of Testers
Work in the CV industry long enough, and you’re bound to have a meeting where someone in charge throws out a random number for how many testers you should include in your project. But this number shouldn’t be chosen arbitrarily. In fact, it’s critical to know the ideal number of testers for your project so you’re not setting yourself up for diminishing returns.
Depending on the breadth of your project and the kind of results you’re looking for, the ideal size of your tester team will change. You don’t always need hundreds of testers. An alpha test, for instance, may have as few as 20 technical users. What’s right for your project will depend on your product, your target market, and the product questions you need to answer.
Reason #3: Your Surveys Need a Makeover
Biggest Tell: Triage Takes Too Much Time
There’s no doubt that surveys are powerful and useful tools. But like using the back of a screwdriver to hammer a nail, a survey isn’t always the most efficient way to accomplish your goals. The biggest tell that your surveys are causing friction is that triage is a time-consuming nightmare. You may be spending hours manually reading and sorting tester responses, going back and forth with feedback follow-ups, or struggling to identify key findings.
If you’re also afflicted by low survey engagement, ask yourself this: if all of my testers had responded to this survey, would I have time to read their responses, organize them, follow-up where necessary, and prioritize that feedback?
What You Can Do: Collect Feedback Directly into Dedicated Channels
Collecting a week’s worth of bugs, issues, praise, feature requests, and ideas through a single channel like a survey means you’re spending a lot of time reading responses and organizing feedback. By having testers submit their feedback through dedicated channels for issues, ideas, and praise, they’re helping you keep feedback organized. This makes it faster and easier to identify high-priority and time-sensitive issues and send them where they need to go.
Once you have feedback coming in through organized channels, you unlock the true potential of surveys: filling the gaps with context. Surveys work best when you’re collecting a large sample of data that measures customers’ attitudes. Instead of using them as your primary mode for collecting bugs and product impressions, switching your testers’ focus to forms maximizes your returns from surveys. Moreover, freeing yourself from the burden of triaging dozens of open-ended survey responses puts time back in your pocket for other high-value activities, like analysis and reporting.
Learn more about the challenges affecting Customer Validation professionals and the tactics industry leaders are using to overcome them in the industry report.