Beta tests have a few basic stages: planning, kickoff, managing, and closing. There are best practices that go with each of these stages. Last week we discussed planning your hardware test, so this week we’ll get into what you should do during kickoff to ensure a successful test.
Kicking off your beta test is an exciting time. Your goal here is to make sure your testers have everything they need to begin providing quality feedback right away. This will help prevent delays and reduce the time your team spends supporting testers early on in the test. This will also help to make sure you collect valuable information about the issues your customers might face during their initial interactions with your product.
The best practices below will help get your test off on the right foot and help you take advantage of your beta testers’ initial excitement to get their hands on your hardware product.
Include a welcome letter
Since you’ll have your testers’ attention when they open your package, it’s a great opportunity to remind them of a couple important things they’ll need to know during the beta test. Include a welcome letter with the product thanking the individual tester for their participation and reminding them of their responsibilities.
You can give them directions for their initial use of the product and remind them to give feedback on the unboxing and installation experience. If appropriate, this is also a great place to remind them that they’ll need to return the product (and all of the other materials in the package) at the end of the test. This letter helps to make the tester feel like they are part of something important and should take their role in your beta test seriously.
Complete the out of the box experience
Try and get the beta unit to be as close to the final experience as possible, with the right packaging, documentation, and accessories. Beta testing provides a unique and valuable opportunity for customers to open and experience a product in their own homes, just as if they’d brought it home from the store. They can then provide insightful feedback on that experience, so you want to get it as close as possible to the real thing.
Include all ancillary parts and accessories
Many products have (and need) accessories like chargers or cables. If your product requires additional parts to function, you have two options. You can either send the part with the product to each tester, or only recruit testers that already have the necessary pieces of equipment. If you have international testers, be sure to include any necessary adapters they may need to use the product and its accessories properly.
Keep an eye out for more posts about the best practices for running a hardware beta test. Next time, we’ll share advice for managing your test.