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Test Management

Building a Rewarding Testing Experience: During Your Beta Test

September 25, 2014

In the second installment of our Building the Experience series, we’re delving into the measures you should take during your test in order to maximize participation by giving your testers a rewarding testing experience. If you’d like a refresher on what to do before your test begins to set the right tone, be sure to read the first installment of the series.

Resource: Building a fulfilling and engaging testing experience is just one part of a successful incentives strategy. Download our Beta Test Incentives Kit for a walkthrough on building a comprehensive strategy for motivating and rewarding your beta testers.

Many beta tests kick off with an initial burst of participation followed by a decline in activity as some testers lose direction or interest. So, from the moment your test begins you need to find creative ways to show your testers the value they’re bringing to your test in order to keep them interested. This will make your testers feel important, valued, and naturally motivated to keep up their initial level of engagement.

These acts of appreciation can take many forms, but the primary purpose remains the same: to communicate to your testers that you appreciate the value they’re bringing to your beta program. We’ve broken these activities into three categories, with easy-to-implement ideas for each approach.

Gestures of Gratitude

These are opportunities to show your appreciation for your testers’ time and contribution. They’re small gestures that are easy to do, but are also easy to forget in the whirlwind of a beta test.

  • Respond to submitted feedback with a “thank you?” or “great idea”. This lets testers know that you’re listening to their opinions and they aren’t just going into a black hole.
  • Schedule short phone calls during your test with your top testers to ask about their experience and thank them for their specific contributions. These can not only provide valuable insights on the product, but also give you ideas to improve your beta processes.
  • Create a top testers group for your best contributors that gives them preferential access to future testing opportunities. This gives your testers something to aspire to and creates momentum for your
    testers to contribute at a high level, all while improving the long-term value of your beta program.

Open Communication

These are your opportunities to show testers that you value their participation by keeping them informed about exactly how they’re contributing to the success of the product.

  • Publish updates on how their feedback is getting used. Even if the updates are brief it’s a good reminder to testers that their feedback is contributing to the product’s development in a real way.
  • Hold conference calls where you can update testers on the product and get their feedback on your beta testing process. This is a chance to increase a sense of community amongst your testers.
  • Ask for their opinions about other aspects of your business. Beta testers can be some of your biggest brand evangelists. Asking their opinion about the company’s brand, image, and values is just another way to show you value their opinions, and you might be surprised by what they say!

Public Accolades

Everyone gets a warm fuzzy feeling when they receive acknowledgment for their work — especially in front of their peers. These are powerful opportunities to inspire your testers by showcasing your top contributors.

  • List your top or most active testers within your beta community, on your company’s website, or even within your final product (credits, documentation, etc.). This will inspire your testers to keep submitting feedback and participating. Just remember to reset any public leader-boards regularly, or testers may feel like they’ll never be able to catch up with the current leaders and will simply give up.
  • Mention all-star testers within beta management meetings and reports, then let these testers know they were mentioned. If your organization leverages transparency with their audience, you can even broadcast your team meetings to your beta testers. They may seem boring to you, but your testers will love peeking into how your company works and feel even more invested in the beta process.

Protip: Scoring Your Beta Testers
Giving your beta testers points for each activity they complete during your test is an easy way to see who your top testers are and to build things such as leaderboards or top tester groups. Our beta management platform makes it easy to either automatically or manually assign points to testers based on both qualitative (e.g. verified critical bugs) and quantitative (e.g. number of logins) metrics. You can then use these scores to recruit for future tests, distribute gifts, or decide who to showcase at your next staff meeting.

Scoring Testers screenshot

All of these methods are designed to make your testers feel valued without distracting them from the beta test itself, because every activity is tied directly to their ongoing contribution to the test. Since these methods are also free and easy to implement, try to fit as many of them into your test as you can. These acts will compound to create a testing experience that truly and consistently engages your testers.

Our next posts discusses how to close your test in a way that leaves your testers happy and singing your company’s praises, so take a look!

Download our Beta Test Incentives Kit now!

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