Maintaining tester engagement is one of the most persistent challenges facing today’s Customer Validation (CV) professionals. More than half of professionals are having issues securing useful feedback. In connection to this, half also reported challenges when it comes to tester communication.
Tester communication encompasses interactions at every stage of your project, starting at recruitment and continuing to test closure. It’s crucial for developing your testing culture, setting confidentiality expectations, educating your testers on how to participate in your test, directing them to the product areas where you need feedback, and much more.
Because tester communication is such a mission-critical piece of your engagement strategy, the methods, tone, clarity, and frequency of your communications have a big impact on participation during your test. In this blog post, we’ll look at the most common warning signs that your communication strategy is negatively impacting tester engagement, and share quick fixes for getting things back on the right track.
Tester Communication Breakdown: Warning Signs
- Testers are unresponsive. Testers often stop engaging with a project when they don’t have a clear understanding of what they’re expected to do.
- Sharp drop-off in feedback. While there will be a natural decline in feedback after the first week of testing, a sudden drop-off during your test indicates that your testers may need some guidance in the form of tutorials or educational resources on how to participate in a CV test.
- Incoming feedback is vague or lacks specific detail. Similarly, when you get feedback like “The product is broken” or “The product doesn’t work,” it might mean your testers need direction on what constitutes helpful feedback and how to provide it.
- Angry responses to activity reminders. Vague instructions, failure to follow up with questions, or sporadic communication confuses testers and may cause them to lash out in frustration.
- Missing feedback in key product areas. Without appropriate direction and guidance, your testers can’t reasonably know which features and product areas you need them to cover.
Quick Fixes for Tester Communication Breakdown
Developing a solid communication strategy is as much about building trust and respect with your testers as it is about setting clear expectations. It’s important to remember that they’re volunteering their time and energy to help you improve your product, so it’s in your best interest to ensure they have the tools, training, and support to do so. Extra care should be taken to make sure your messaging — from your project space to your emails to question follow-ups — promotes a positive tester experience.
Here are some quick fixes for the warning signs listed above.
- Check Your Messaging. If your testers are unresponsive, look at how you’re interacting with them. Are you friendly and approachable, even when testers show anger, frustration, or indifference? Are you offering clear communication channels when they need to reach out? Are you quick to follow up on their questions and comments? Are you showing gratitude for the time and effort they’re contributing to your project?
- Check Your Emails. If feedback is dropping off, look at your email. Do you have a regular cadence for sending out weekly activities and surveys? Are you giving your testers clear and concise directions on what to do? Are you sending gentle reminders with survey and activity due dates so your testers have a timeline to follow?
- Check Your Topics. If you’re missing key product feedback, look at how you’ve mapped out your topics. Do you have specific activities for testers to complete in relation to that feature experience or product area?
Exploring Your Testers’ Ideal Engagement Journey
Now that you have the tools to identify this common obstacle to high participation, take it further with a step-by-step guide to maintaining enthusiasm at each phase of your CV project. Get a journey map for ideal tester engagement and tips for troubleshooting related challenges in our brand new ebook.