Episode #123 Beta Testing

July 8, 2022

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 You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 123.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove Podcast, your calm space for practical help to get your dream business up and running while being authentically you and taking care of your mental health. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you're here!



Hi, my strong friends. Hey, how do you know that your product and service is gonna work? Have you ever experienced a frustration where you go and you start working with someone or you're using their product or something and it doesn't work?


You get really frustrated. Even think about going to the DMV, how many people get frustrated by going to the DMV. Although they've been working on their processes, trying to make sure that it works, but it's still frustrating to a customer.


Have you ever considered doing Beta testing of your products and services to not only make sure that it's something that works for your client? That the actual thing achieves the objective, the dream that your clients had or the problem they were trying to solve?


Does it actually work on that? But also, what is that user experience? Are they frustrated with any parts of it? Does it work? Does any of it need to be changed?


All of this is called Beta testing. Can you believe that there are actually people where their whole job is Beta testing?


So fun fact, one of my first jobs Out of college, I was in a systems integration group in biotech. I was their token microbiologist in a team full of software testers. We were all Beta testing, the software, testing it for bugs, and making sure that it was working. We're also designing the software, getting all of the customer requirements. And the user experience, making sure that everything was nice and smooth.


So I had a whole job that was all designed around testing things, to make sure that they worked before we gave it to the customer. Then when I went on to work at Genentech for about a decade, I spent a lot of time creating some of the systems there too and having to enlist lots of people for the Beta testing.


Why Beta Testing Is Important


I wanted to talk to you about Beta testing, to introduce this concept to you, if you haven't considered it.


When you're going about building out your products or your services, you have that, but have you also thought about the user experience? What is it like from their shoes? What would they need? All of those little pieces to be.


This could be all the way from their experience with marketing things with you, and your sales process. All the way through when they actually click on your website to make a purchase.


And then how do they actually receive that product or service? Is there an onboarding that happens?


And then once they're actually using your product and service, what is it like for them?


And then when they're done with it, is there an off-boarding process or some other thing?


When I help you to design your products and services, I also help you to design all of the processes that lead up to it and the processes throughout it all the way through the end. We can get really detailed in all of these specifics. So when you're building it, you know, all of those pieces to build ahead of time, because it really sucks to just have a product that you're selling and you haven't even considered any of it. You're just out there trying to sell your product or service. And you're like here and you haven't even considered all of that other stuff.


And then once you have an active client, who's like, yeah, I want that. And then their experience is really clunky. And we know that first impressions are really important. So if they have a bad experience just trying to purchase from you or to schedule an appointment with you or to figure out how to use or access your product or service, it's not gonna go well.


In fact, they might even ask you for a refund and they might tell other people not to work with you. You can avoid all of that.


One is by flushing it all out so that you think about it ahead of time what everybody would need and then building all of those pieces. And yes, it takes a little bit of time, but it is so worth it when everything is working totally smooth.


Then when you actually build it, then you need to do Beta testing because I'm sure that you've experienced in any kind of software that you use, that sometimes there are bugs. Sometimes software doesn't work.


Your website is a type of software. Scheduling any kind of meetings with you is a type of software. All of your integrations and links, all of that is bringing software together. You may even have documents, but the way that you're delivering documents might also use some of your software.


Your processes might not be software, but you also want to check that, you know when you're supposed to be doing the different things in your process, and that it's really easy to just grab it and go. Because if you have to stop and go, okay, now wait. Now, how am I supposed to do any of this? It's gonna slow it down. It has all sorts of opportunities for error. So you wanna get it flushed out. You wanna build it and then you wanna test it.


Round 1 Of Beta Testing: Check The Flow


There are two rounds for Beta testing. Round one is where you're looking for the flow of everything together. Does everything flow? Were there any hiccups where you started to go and then you ran into something that didn't work and it stopped you?


And so you're doing this from a customer perspective. You're putting yourself in their shoes pretending to be a client going through your whole process.


If you do have software involved, you might want to have a couple of different emails for yourself to act as your pretend clients to run them through. So you're checking for the flow. Does everything flow? Does everything make sense to you.


And catch yourself, if you're the business owner you've created all of this, you might be going through going, oh yeah, that completely makes sense because you already know some of the other pieces.


But remember your clients have not gone through this before. They're not gonna know all of your processes. They aren't gonna know that this one thing that they think they need right now that they're actually gonna get it two weeks from now, you need to build that in. You need to have communication in there so that they know what to expect.


The best way of doing this is actually having somebody else Beta test for you to check out your flow. Someone who isn't totally familiar with what you do. Maybe they're a little bit familiar, but they don't have to know all of the intricacies. Because they're gonna be the one that comes up with all of the questions.


They're gonna be the one that goes, oh, well what about this piece of information? And then they can write that down for you. So that you'll know where were they in your process of onboarding or wherever it was? When did they have that question?


Because now, you know, most likely your customers will have the question at the same place. How can you update that part so that, that question is answered for them? Even if it's to say, we're going to address that in two weeks, right? At least they have that question answered that. Yes. We're Validating that you have this question, it's important. Although the answer is more appropriate to give you in two weeks and maybe here's why. Maybe it's not relevant at this point. Right?


Your testing buddy, your Beta testing buddy cannot only check out the flow, but can also check out bugs for you.


There can be bugs as if it was a software bug. There might even be things like typos or links that go to broken things where if you're testing it out on your computer or on your phone, maybe the link is working for you. But when somebody else is testing it, it doesn't work for them. And that's something that you'll wanna troubleshoot.


It also helps because they're gonna be looking at things from a desktop perspective and from a phone perspective. Because your clients as they interact with you, they could be using either of those devices.


Or if someone wants to use a telephone or email, what is that experience like? Or if it is in person, if it's in person a great way of Beta testing, because that might be an interaction that you're having with someone is to have your Beta tester be there too, just quietly observing. And you're asking them to look for certain things.


And then after you have that interaction, then you can find out from that Beta tester, who's observing you. What were the things that looked like it worked? What were the things that looked like it didn't work? So that you could course correct for next time.


Now, when you do have a Beta testing, buddy, doing this for you, it's great if they have experience also with Beta testing. If they've never Beta tested before they might not know what to even look for, because you wanna try to be as thorough as possible. The more errors in your process that you can fix ahead of time, the better it's better for you or your Beta tester to find it than for your customer to find it.


If you don't know anybody that has this type of experience, you might want to try to reach out to try to find people that have that kind of experience for you. And there can be people out in different entrepreneur Facebook groups that would be more than happy and they have the right level of experience.


And that's something that you'll want to ask them questions too, right? Because entrepreneurs are a great bunch of people. Everybody likes to help each other, but sometimes we might be a little bit green in our entrepreneur experience. We might not know all the things to look for.


So don't be shy. It's okay to ask people, what are they familiar with so that you have an idea of what do you want them to be familiar with before you enlist their help?


You might even wanna consider hiring a professional Beta tester. I'm sure if you go out and Google that you can search for Beta testers and see what pops up. Also, in those entrepreneurs, Facebook groups, you might even just throw it out there. Hey, does anybody know of professional Beta testers?


Because that could be a really great source of information, especially because they're gonna give you some honest feedback on if the person's service was really helpful or not. Or if it left a lot of holes in their process, like they didn't catch a lot of the errors. Okay.


That's round one Beta testing, is when you or a friend or professional is doing Beta testing. So that's your very first round. You're getting rid of as much as you can.


Round 2 of Beta Testing: Ideal Customer Feedback


Your next round of Beta testers should be with your ideal customers and you only need like three to five of them. And this is because you wanna get some end-user feedback from people that would actually want to use your product and services.


Now I know it's gonna be tempting to just go and ask your friends. Right?! Because our friends are more likely to say yes. It's always uncomfortable to ask strangers to do these things for us. Or if they are ideal customers that you're worried that they're gonna think that you're trying to sell to them, but really you just need Beta testers at this point.


And you might also wanna make sure that you're clear in that. That when you have Beta testers, it's not because you're going to sell to them or make a pitch to them. So respect that boundary for yourself, no matter how tempting it might be, because you need to make some revenue. If you're asking people to be your Beta testers, just make that decision. I am not going to try to sell to them. I'm not going to pitch this. I truly am asking them if they can Beta test.


Now you will probably want to offer some type of a compensation to them for doing this. Sometimes that product or service that they're Beta testing is the compensation. And as long as that's discussed ahead of time, and everybody feels that that is an equal transfer of value, then it will work.


However, everybody's time is really valuable. They might be testing this for you, but they don't necessarily need that product or service that you're offering. And they're just being there trying to help you and give you some feedback. You'll want to respect them and their time and offer some type of compensation.


So you wanna make sure that whoever these end-users are, they really do qualify as your ideal customer avatar. Because you wanna try to find out what experience they're having. What's important to them? And there's a few other questions I'm gonna go over that you'll want to ask them.


And that'll be another thing for you to consider you. Can't just throw something at people and go, okay, give your feedback.


It is way too hard of a burden to put on them. You need to make it really, really specific of what are you looking for? So make a list, maybe even a checklist or a Google form or something so that you can collect specific feedback. And then after you have some specific things that you're asking them for, then you can open it up to freeform, like, okay, what else? What other feedback do you have for me that I didn't consider. And then allow all of that to come.


So some of the questions you may want to ask these end User Beta testers are,


Is this product or service applicable to what you're doing? 

Does this actually solve a problem that you have? And is this the method that you'd want to use to solve that problem?


Is it understandable? 

So if you have instructions that go along with a product, are the instructions understandable? Do they know how to use this product? If it's a service, do they understand how to access the service and all of the components that go with it? All of the timing that goes with it? And then the delivery mechanism that you're using, if you're teaching a class or coaching or doing something like that, do they understand how you're communicating the material?


Is it engaging? 

Will they actually finish it all the way? Now, this is especially applicable for anyone that is an online course creator. Online courses have a very low completion rate. If you can get someone all the way through your course, you're doing amazing. I think Amy Porterfield has estimated something like 6 to 12% of people that purchase a course actually finish the whole thing. That's a pretty low statistic.


And so it can be a little alarming to someone who has created this product to see that their students are not finishing it. It feels so much better when a lot more people are finishing it. And they're actually doing all of the exercises because you want them to get the result at the end. So you'll want to ask them, is it engaging?


Part of it is an entertainment factor, right? I mean, as much as we don't wanna admit it, you know that if someone is entertaining you while they're delivering content, you're more likely to stay engaged with it.


I know for me, I have a really hard time sitting still in a chair for a long time if I'm not interacting. So when I was in college, I may have really engaging professors that were giving really great information. I found it very fascinating, but just the way that my brain is, my body's wired that if I'm sitting somewhere and I'm just listening and listening and listening, I'm gonna fall asleep. No matter what, it's just this sleepy gene that I have.


So I actually need things that are either short. And then I get into action where I'm doing like a hands-on thing or that there's a lot of participation from the audience.

When you're getting feedback from your Beta testers, you're gonna wanna ask them, is this engaging so that people will actually do all of the things that are in it and that they complete it all the way.


That also makes me think about soda. Are you a person that when you go and you buy a bottle of soda you finish the whole thing? I'm not, maybe call me a weirdo, but I only like maybe three or four ounces of soda. And then I lose interest in it. I mean really like it could taste really great, but I lose interest in it quickly.


That might also be some other feedback to consider is asking them, was it really good? Was it engaging? What's the right quantity to give you? Because you can really cut down on your cost if you only have to deliver four ounces of your material versus 16 ounces of your material.


Is it usable? 

We might give really great products and services, but then once they get it, they get really excited. They buy it and then they get it. And it's like, eh, there's something that got in the way of them using it. It might be a time constraint, like a time of the day, a calendar time. Or even if we're looking at a 12-month period that they might have bought it right now, but this was the worst time in a year to have to use this.


I know I've always had issues with home printers. So if I've purchased something that requires me to print out a ton of stuff, that could be something that makes it unusable for me. I might need to have online things that I could use instead of printing it out.


Or if you are asking people to print things out, also consider the ink usage because we can create some really pretty workbooks and things to go with our services or our classes or whatever we're providing. But if we're asking them to print it out and it's using a ton of colored ink, then they may have a hard time with that with their printers too. Because we know colored ink is really expensive and it can run out really fast.


Or if you've created something where it's a hundred or 200 pages of something, now they might have to have it printed somewhere else, professionally. So finding out was it usable?


There might be some of those obstacles that get in the way and when you know what those obstacles are, then you can try to work through it. You could either change what the thing was, or maybe you can provide it in a different way. Or you can provide it, like if it is a printout, is this something that you could send to people so they don't have to print things out.


Were they able to apply it? 

Is there anything in it that made it where they didn't want to apply it?


They might have some mindset obstacles on even applying it. And if they do, then you can address those mindset obstacles when you do your next version of it. Or if there was some other reason why they couldn't apply it, like maybe there was a financial barrier. I don't know what your product or service is, but sometimes we might say, oh, you have to purchase all of these extra pieces.


Let's say that you're offering jewelry making classes, or you've created an online course for jewelry making, but the supplies are really expensive. Or they live in an area where they can't access the supplies. They're not gonna be able to apply what they've learned because they have barriers to be able to get everything that they need. So asking them, were they able to apply it? What obstacles got in the way, then you can work through some of those things.


Just to go quickly over those questions again.

  • Is it applicable?
  • Is it understandable?
  • Is it engaging?
  • Is it usable?
  • Were they able to apply it or were there obstacles that got in the way?


Is Beta Testing Worth the Effort?


It sounds like this is a lot of work. And I'm not gonna lie, there's time invested in it, but it's also very, very valuable. Because if you put a product or service out in the world that hasn't been tested, the user experience of it is not gonna be great. They might ask for a refund, they might give bad reviews somewhere.


You know, people still use Yelp. So it's possible that people can give you a bad Yelp review.


You wanna make sure that your product and service is good and that it works for them. You wanna make sure that all of your processes around it for onboarding them and so on, that all of that is a great user experience.


When people come in and their experience is all good, they're gonna give you really good reviews. They're gonna tell other people about it. You're gonna end up being able to sell more of your products and services in the long run.


So Beta testing is an excellent use of your time. If you would like to explore this topic further or need some help in flushing out all of the details of your processes or your products and services, then I invite you to head on over to my website, go to the Work With Me tab and check out the different ways that we can work together.


All right, my friends, I hope that you have a great week and I will talk with you soon. Bye-bye.


Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove Podcast. When you are ready to make your dream business a reality and take care of your mental health, I invite you to join the Unshakable Business Co-Lab. This is the mastermind membership you've been waiting for. There's no limits on your imagination, nor your timeline. We're with you every step of the way. To learn more, please visit www.myfreedomgrove.com/join. I'll see you there!


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