Launching your software in beta mode is an excellent way to get feedback on your product and make any necessary adjustments before bringing it to market. Your beta testers hold all of the valuable information you need when it comes to improving your product, so it’s worth it to take the time to ask them about any difficulties or pain points they experienced while testing it.
To find out the best questions to ask, I asked nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question.
What is the No. 1 question I should ask beta testers of my new software and why?
Their best answers are below:
1. What Are You Trying to Accomplish by Using Our Software?
Your software’s purpose has but one goal: to help the user achieve their purpose. If you aren’t constantly asking the user what their objective is and adapting your software to help them more directly reach their end goal, your software will fail. At all times, you need to be aware of both their immediate next action and its purpose in furthering their end objective. Your software should cater to these short- and long-term needs. Repeatedly asking them what they want to do is one of the best ways to ensure that you understand the direction they are heading in at all times. –Joshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets
2. What Is Your Use Case?
Understanding what your Beta testers are using your app for can suggest the direction it takes when it reaches a larger audience. Study the behavior of your testers and ask them, “At what point was the app most useful and what are the triggers that will make you pull out the app and use it?” The use cases will define what works and what doesn’t for your audience. – Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea LLC
3. Did You Feel Compelled to Buy From Me?
Good websites take a user down a sales funnel until they buy from you (and/or capture the lead to market to later). You want users to poke around and spend time on your website. Ask them what they wanted to do next after the home page, or after visiting the blog, etc. These actions will lead to more sales of your product. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
4. What’s the Most Confusing Part of My Software?
You want to find any points of confusion early on and either eliminate them or clarify them. Asking a large enough group of beta users to tell you where they became confused will show you where you’ve built things to be too complex or difficult to use. If you don’t want to simplify the functionality because you’re creating a very powerful, detailed tool, then make it easy for users to get to your help resources. Follow up with the same question after you’ve made improvements until the overall response is that your software is clear and easy to use. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
5. How Much Would You Pay?
This is where the rubber meets the road. Even if the startup is not ready to commercialize the product or has a different business model than direct sales, it’s worth asking beta testers to find out how much your software is actually worth at that point in time. Think about this question as a data point in time, and in the future as your software becomes more mature, ask the same question and see how much real value was added with all the additional features and polish at each new release. – Daniel Theirl, Rubikloud Technologies
6. Why Wouldn’t You Use This Product Again?
The #1 question you should ask beta testers is why they wouldn’t use your product again. Ask them to point out the parts of your technology that don’t lend to repeat use. Don’t focus on what users like, but find out exactly what they don’t like. Make notes about consistencies among users presenting negative feedback and spend time thinking through feedback that doesn’t seem consistent. Often you will find that some users are willing to provide more detailed feedback than others — this information is particularly useful since it required the user to spend more time analyzing the experience. – Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com
7. What Didn’t Work as Expected?
Just because you know how your software works doesn’t mean your users will. You might have a really innovative product, but if it isn’t intuitive, it can’t succeed. Asking beta testers if any functionality didn’t work the way they expected can provide tremendous insight into the user experience. Plus, it’s a broad enough question to catch bugs that slipped through the cracks. – Stephen Gill, 50onRed
8. If You Could Game This Software to Do Something Seemingly Unintended, What Would it be?
Often the most interesting pieces of information that come up during a beta test are the ways in which users with fresh eyes may want to utilize your product that were completely unintended or unanticipated by your team. By welcoming the data as a happy accident instead of dismissing it as a non-fit, you may find new, lucrative market opportunities for your software well beyond your initial vision and scope. – Demi Pietchell Newell, Mixed Media Fusion, Inc.
9. Would You Recommend to a Friend?
Taking a net promoter score on how likely a beta tester would recommend your software to a friend will give insight into the value of your product. It’s that referral interest and promotion that will ultimately add to the growth of your business. – Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind
Image credit: Shutterstock
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