For support managers, your ultimate goal is the make sure that your customers get the most out of their experience with your product. A beta test can help get your team, your processes, and your documentation ready to handle that task. To get the most out of your beta test, however, you need to set it up to meet the right objectives.
Below we outline the objectives that support managers should focus on during beta testing so they can get the feedback they need to support their product come launch day.
Test the Product’s Support Process
Your support team is going to have to be ready to go the day your product launches. Beta testing can be used as a trial run for your support systems and processes, so you can look for gaps and areas for improvement. This will help you ensure that your support team is ready to handle any issues your customers might face once the product is in the wild.
Improve Documentation/Support Materials
Your beta testers are fresh eyes for your documentation and support materials. Asking your testers for feedback on your documentation can determine how easy it is for real customers to understand your materials and uncover questions they might have as they go. This helps you improve these materials and lessen the load on your support team after launch.
Study and Improve the User Experience
Beta testing gives you insight into unscripted usage patterns for your product, which can result in some surprising support scenarios. Beta participants will provide detailed feedback about usability challenges they encounter, allowing the product development team to make changes to the product. This also helps you in preparing your support team to assist customers in these scenarios.
Assess the New User Experience
Many support requests stem from the new user experience. Beta testing is commonly used to evaluate and identify issues related to this experience (onboarding, installation, out of the box, etc.).
Find and Fix Bugs to Improve Quality
QA can’t run tests with every platform, peripheral, or product that might interact with yours, which results in hidden defects. Beta testing helps cover those gaps by providing real-world usage in an incredible variety of environments and scenarios. It’s surprisingly common for beta testers to discover a number of show-stopping bugs that QA was unable to discover, which can help prevent a lot of support calls.
Evaluate the Impact of Known Issues
Often times, you’re aware of existing issues in your product that have yet to be addressed. Beta testing gives you the chance to see just how widespread and problematic those issues really are. This will help you gauge the frequency of these problems and determine whether you need to prepare to support them.
Gauge Performance and Compatibility
Many products, especially those which exist in a network environment, are impossible to fully simulate in a test lab environment. Beta testing gives you the opportunity to test your product in thousands of different environments and scenarios to analyze how it measures up and what issues your customers might run into after launch.
If you’re a support manager, these beta testing objectives will help you get the most out of your beta test and ultimately have a much smoother launch of your product. Your team will be prepared to handle the issues your users face in those crucial initial experiences and you’ll have solid documentation and processes to help them.
We’ll continue with our beta testing objectives series in the coming weeks, so keep your eye out for more installments. Next time, we’ll be explaining the main objectives for founders.