As the product owner, you’ll need to convince your beta testers to give feedback. Here are some techniques you can use.
The three best times to ask for feedback are:
In all three cases, make it clear exactly how to give feedback. Don’t make the user have to search for the best means to give feedback.
Your beta testers are doing you a favour by testing your product. Remember this, and remember that they are always just one click away from the many distractions offered by the Internet. Your beta testers need a way to give you feedback almost as soon as they think of it.
Don’t force your beta testers to go through a series of complicated steps. Make your minimum feedback requirement no more than a single sentence. Of course, make it possible for the user to give more detail where appropriate.
Avoid having a complicated signup process for a feedback gathering tool. The process of signing up can be enough for the beta tester to lose interest in giving feedback. It changes their mental context from ‘I really want to give this feedback’ to ‘what password should I use?’’
When a user gives feedback, they’ve helped you out. No matter how positive or negative their feedback, no matter how creative their suggestions, you should thank them and show that you are listening.
If you are sending a newsletter to your beta testers or showing a change log at startup, thank your most prolific beta testers by name in the newsletter or change log. Most of us appreciate receiving some public acknowledgement.
If your feedback tool allows it, use it to add an appreciative comment to the beta tester’s feedback.
During a beta testing period, you can improve your product rapidly because your user base understands your product is prone to rapid, breaking changes. Take advantage of this and act quickly on some of the feedback you get from beta testers. Release frequent updates that include changes suggested by beta testers. Many beta testers will lose interest before too long, so by iterating quickly you’ll get a chance to get those changes tested and retested.
How quickly should you iterate? I’d suggest daily during the initial part of your beta-testing program.
If your beta program is successful, you’ll get swamped with feedback. Make sure in advance you have decided on how users should submit feedback. Here are some options:
With all that valuable beta feedback, you’ve now hopefully got a product that is easy to use, has features that are genuinely useful and has minimum bugs. It is so good that customers are now giving you money (or advertisers if you’re going for a freemium model).
However, don’t stop there. Keep gathering feedback from your customers and your team so you can continue to improve your product, grow your user base and increase revenue.
But what feedback software should you use, when there are so many to choose from? In our article How to choose the best product feedback software for your company we’ll talk you through the most useful options depending on your business goals.