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Test Planning

How Customer Support Can Benefit from Beta

January 30, 2014

In the battle of product issues, customer support sits on the front line. From dealing with customer problems to ensuring customer satisfaction, they are truly the face of your company. Having an effective and well trained support staff is an important part of any business.

As a result, support teams can substantially benefit from being engaged in the beta process. The whole support system gives them a first shot at viewing potential issues. The real world feedback of a beta test provides them an opportunity to preview scenarios they might encounter once the product is actually released. Moreover, their continued exposure to the product gives them a unique perspective and can provide a level of understanding on the seriousness of specific issues.

Here are a couple of ways everyone can benefit from involving your support team in the beta process:

  • Test your support processes. Involving your support team during beta gives you the chance to test out your support processes before launch. This will give them the chance to make sure their procedures and tools work appropriately, while gathering data from testers on the customer experience. This can help to ensure that those initial days of your launch go smoothly.
  • Create and improve support documentation. Since your beta testers are real users seeing the product for the first time, your support team can learn a lot about how customers use the product and where they struggle the most. This can help them create better documentation and training materials to mitigate these issues. Beta testers can even collaborate with your support team to help create and edit these materials.
  • Prepare your support team for handling known issues. Not all bugs can be fixed before launch. The beta test will give your support team a preview of what they may face during the product launch, so they can prepare and practice. This way you have fewer surprises during your initial wave of support calls.
  • Get a new perspective in the development process. Since your support team is working with users day in and day out, they have a unique perspective on how the product is used and perceived. Involving them in the beta process gives you the chance to benefit from that perspective before the product is released.

In addition to these major goals, your support team can contribute in other ways. They can be a great voice to have on forums and can help triage feedback. Since they have relationships with your customers and tools to maintain those relationships, they can also be a great source for recruiting beta testers.

Overall, having support in the loop effectively builds a better transition from development to release. The reality is, the first group within your business to deal with the product once it hits the shelves will be customer support. Engaging them in the beta process is beneficial to everyone and helps to build a stronger product and a better customer experience.

For a more information on how support teams can benefit from beta, check out this visual breakdown. To start building a beta strategy based on your team’s unique goals and situation, request a beta test plan.

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