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Product Development

Beta Testing Is More Than Just an Insurance Plan

September 29, 2020

Here’s the universal truth about insurance: you buy it, but you hope you never actually have to use it. We treat insurance as a necessary evil for this reason. Nobody ever looks forward to purchasing or using it. In every case where insurance gets used — be it for your car, your house, or your life — it’s because something went horribly wrong.

This is exactly how most companies have traditionally treated their beta and related late-stage customer testing programs. They only see these programs as an insurance plan — a checkbox on top of other investments already made in critical areas like market research, quality, and user experience. All the while, they’re missing out on the true benefits of customer testing.

Let’s talk about the often untapped potential of beta and delta testing and the small shift in thinking that unlocks big benefits for your organization.

The Small Shift

While a key value of customer testing is validating the results of market research, quality assurance, UX/CX testing, and other investments, achieving its total value means considering the completely unique context it brings — and therefore understanding its distinct ability to go beyond the inherent limitations of those prior initiatives.

The fact is, only customer testing programs leverage real users, in their true environments, experiencing an actual product, over a period of time. This is a completely unique and essential combination of factors that simply isn’t achieved by any other type of program. Customer tests are truly the last mile of perfecting any product. They build on existing customer co-creation, QA, and research initiatives with an explicit contribution to product success.

The Big Benefits

As you start to look at your beta and delta testing efforts as more than insurance, the benefits keep on coming. But how you ultimately realize those benefits depends on your role within your organization. Here are just a few of the boosts customer testing brings to different departments once its true value begins to take hold.

Benefits for product teams

  • Firsthand customer feedback that reduces internal bias
  • Ideas for feature enhancements that drive innovation and your product roadmap
  • Cross-functional team alignment through concrete customer insights

Benefits for engineering and QA teams

  • Quicker testing and evaluation across a broader spectrum of use cases
  • Surfacing real-world bugs that lead to critical fixes before launch
  • Prioritized list of issues and how those issues are impacting user experience
  • Identifiable gaps that can be closed by automation testing in the future

Benefits for support teams

  • Firsthand, pre-release sources for developing self-help resources
  • Step-by-step use cases for how customers are encountering and approaching issues
  • Support for load planning and staff training

Benefits for marketing teams

  • Intelligence on which features and experiences to focus marketing messages on
  • Customer quotes and testimonials to use in promotional materials
  • Trends and insights into high or low performing product features

Taking Your Program Beyond Insurance

In nearly 20 years of testing thousands of products across countless categories, it’s unthinkable that a test would either produce no results (i.e., the ideal outcome of an insurance plan) or only find issues and concerns that other programs should have already found (or did). Instead, a great customer test surfaces original, high-value issues and insights — every time. This is how a perfected product is made.

Learn more about Centercode’s unique solutions for tackling the challenges of testing in an agile world with an in-depth look at how we’ve helped hundreds of companies across industries bring thousands of products to market in Making Good Technology Great.

Making Good Tech Great

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