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Product Development

6 Reasons Companies Don’t Beta Test Their Products

March 20, 2017

We talk with product development teams every day about beta testing. While most are on board with the necessity for beta testing, many companies have excuses ready for why they haven’t beta tested their products in the past.

You’ve probably run into this reasoning in your career as well, and since one of our goals here at Centercode is to continually educate the industry on the value of beta testing, we thought, what better chance to address these issues head on and get down to the bottom of them? Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you’ll be thinking twice about these excuses and taking the necessary steps to bury them.

Here are six reasons people don’t feel the need to beta test their product and the dangers that go with it.

We Don’t Have the Time or Budget

Development teams are often faced with tight deadlines. Your customers (and executives) expect a working product by a certain date, which can lead to an all out sprint to get the product out the door. Maybe your schedule is really tight or you simply don’t have enough resources to run a beta test. If so, ask yourself these questions: Am I 100% sure that my customers will be happy with this version of the product? Do I know how they’re going to use it and talk about it? Do I have enough bandwidth and budget to cover unexpected support issues once the product is launched?

What most people don’t realize is that running an efficient beta test will actually save your company time and money in the long run. Without identifying problems beforehand, you’re setting your team up for hours and hours of support calls with frustrated customers and development time fixing the current product when you should be focused on what’s ahead. Keep in mind, compared to other testing processes, a beta test produces the greatest ROI when it is executed appropriately.

We Found All the Issues During QA

Quality assurance is extremely valuable to the development of any product. However, it doesn’t uncover every single problem real customers will face in uncontrolled environments. You need to take into consideration that problems will arise from factors in the real world that can’t be identified in a lab. With the increasing complexity of tech ecosystems, it’s also becoming more and more difficult for even the best QA teams to recreate all the different usage scenarios necessary to make sure they understand how a product functions.

In addition, your customers may not interact with the product the way your team does, but you’ll never find this out until you put it in their hands. Many teams forget that beta testing provides more than just quality-based feedback. It helps you test documentation, collect mock reviews, and understand the pain points your customers face when using the product. Hard to identify this in a lab, isn’t it?

We Already Know What Our Customers Want

First off, no product developer, no matter how smart, can create a perfect product without feedback from their potential customers, so feedback from real people needs to be part of your process. But maybe you’re confident in your current market research efforts, or perhaps you’re collecting customer feedback through support teams and account managers after product release.

Either way, while these mechanisms are important they ultimately reflect a reactive mindset that doesn’t get you in front of real problems before they happen. Instead, think of gathering feedback as a proactive measure. Through beta testing, you’re uncovering issues ahead of time and creating a more seamless experience for your customers. In turn, you’ll have better product reviews, fewer support tickets, and happier customers.

Not to mention that without a beta test, you’re missing out on feedback from a core group of individuals — potential customers (versus existing customers). These are the people that add tremendous value to your product and help you make better decisions that drive sales.

Our Product is Simple and Easy to Use

We hear this one a lot. “My product/feature is so simple, there’s really nothing to test!” It may be true that your product is simple, but you’ve been close to this project for months (even years) and you can’t be sure that your customers will think it’s as easy to understand as you do. This could be their first tech product or their first app.

What seems like common knowledge to you is different for the next person. Maybe you like the font and color of the UI but your customers disagree, or the device doesn’t fit in the palm of their hand like they hoped. No matter how simple the product, the amount and variety of the feedback collected during the customer validation phase can be endless.

We have tested the most basic of products and still received piles of valuable feedback that improved the customer experience. It’s often the simplest interactions where customers have the highest expectations, so it’s important to make sure you get it right.

My Family and Friends Tell Me It Works Great

This is the most common reason we hear from people as to why they don’t beta test. Unfortunately, your family and friends do not always represent your target market nor would they feel comfortable giving you negative feedback. They’ve watched you pour your heart and soul into this product and only want you to succeed, which creates unavoidable bias.

You need an outsider’s perspective to tell you what they liked and didn’t like about the product. And not just any outsider, but someone that would potentially use your product to improve their own life. These are the people that will give you the feedback you need to hear, without thinking about what you want to hear.

I Don’t Have Time to Find Testers or Know Where to Get Them

This is an easier fix than you might think. If you’re searching for testers, try looking at your current customer community or reaching out via social media. You can also announce your test to our testing community at Betabound. We have over 170,000 pre-qualified testers who are eager and ready to jump in on your next test.

Don’t forget, people are eager to get involved and have a say in developing the products they use. It makes them feel empowered to know that their voice is actually being heard. Start small and run a beta test with 20 or so testers. You’ll be surprised how much information they can produce in a short amount of time.

Running a beta test doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. It’s the perfect opportunity to hear from your target market and plan for the road ahead. By educating yourself and understanding the true value of a beta test, you’ll be able to make better decisions and build better products. Check out our ebook, Customer Validation in 20 Minutes today, and discover how to tap into modern beta testing!

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