Product Development

How to Optimize Customer Testing for A/V Product Development

August 27, 2018

The best way to ensure your A/V product development efforts hit the mark is to bring your customers into the development process as early as possible. But with a growing customer base for home entertainment devices and an increasing number of features and product areas that could benefit from customer feedback, how can you ensure you’re focusing on what matters most to your audience – and gathering feedback to enhance that? Here are some Customer Validation methods to consider.

How do I engage my high-profile enthusiasts earlier in A/V product development?

Whether your extreme users are audiophiles, videophiles, or any other product-phile, their loyalty can turn the tide in a competitive marketplace. These high-profile customers are a niche segmentation of your target audience whose technical expertise and rigorous product usage give them higher expectations than the average user. Because their interests are strong predictors of market trends, tapping them for feedback early drives product roadmap decisions and ultimately product adoption.

By inviting key customers and other influencers to a customer advisory board, you’ll have immediate access to their insights during product development. The earlier you introduce their feedback, the easier it will be to inform your product roadmap and steer it toward performance capabilities and features that will resonate with your larger audience.

How do I ensure interoperability in the real world?

In today’s homes and businesses, interoperability is the expected norm. 68% of consumers in their 20s and 30s expect devices from different vendors to “talk” to each other – easier said than done. The IoT industry has continued to struggle with this as devices from different vendors continue to develop their own sophisticated systems. Even with better defined (and followed) standards, meeting technical specifications and achieving global interoperability is hard. Still, consumers who purchase a television are 54% more likely to purchase a home entertainment product in the future. With this in mind, the ability for a device to “just work” within a connected landscape has a big effect on customer satisfaction.

Testing products with real users in real homes eliminates a lot of the guesswork regarding how your product will perform in the wild. As expectations for seamless interoperability grow and multi-room setup for entertainment systems gains traction, it is vital to move outside the lab as quickly as possible. Alpha stage customer tests let you truly know your product’s performance in actual customer environments, allowing your quality teams to surface critical issues early on.

No Time? 92% of your critical issues can be discovered within two weeks of customer testing.

How do I validate delightful product experiences?

Offering the features you know your market wants is only an entry point – having your target market deeply delighted by those features solidifies future customers. Taking steps to ensure you’re meeting the key drivers of product experience cultivates brand loyalty while decreasing returns and bad reviews.

Beta Testing allows you to hone in on the features your customers care about most. Using customer-driven insights to guide A/V product development priorities keeps everyone on your team – including your stakeholders – focused on your customers. Once the bulk of your interoperability issues have been addressed in Alpha stage tests, your testers can focus on evaluating which aspects of the product experience delight or frustrate them most. Armed with their real-world feedback, you can fix, improve, or promote those features with confidence.

If your product could require professional installation, bringing installers into your user tests can give helpful details about usability and user environments that promote product success.

How do I evaluate extended-use product performance?

Knowing how customers will naturally use your product adds another layer of user experience that often hides behind bug hunting or guided feature evaluation. For example, what features do your customers use frequently or ignore? Do they stay interested in the product after using it for a couple of days or weeks? Although you will get reviews after the product goes live, they won’t have the nuance, objectivity, and specific detail you get from high-quality volunteer testers.

Field Testing enables you to get ahead of potential issues by monitoring your product over an extended period of time before and sometimes continuing after release. Focused on evaluating natural use, it enables you to collect long-term user sentiment. It’s also an excellent way to start building analytics-based data on viewing, listening, and usage. In the short term, having eyes on problems that crop up after extended use gives both your support and quality teams a head start. In the long term, you can develop insights into product adoption that inform the product roadmap of future builds.

Introducing the voice of the customer to the A/V product development table early is the only way to ensure you’re truly in tune with your market. When you’re listening, your customers will reward your attention to their interests, suggestions, and expectations with loyalty and brand advocacy.

We’d love to stay in touch with the ways we can help you increase the effectiveness of your Customer Validation efforts. Sign up for our newsletter for monthly best practices, webinars, and events related to improving product success through Customer Validation!

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