Beta-testing key to digital success says Kwikcar CEO
WITH digital transformation becoming critical to the survival of organizations, launching new and innovative digital products, features, and solutions are almost commonplace.
However, not all of those features make the desired impact on customers.
Too often, businesses leaders find that the time, money, and resources devoted to a digital project fail to yield dividends because the idea wasn’t beta-tested well enough.
A beta-test should ideally be conducted at various stages — from the time the company decides to make an improvement or design a new feature or product to the time development work is completed prepared for launch.
Kwikcar, an app-based car rental company in Southeast Asia, recently told Tech Wire Asia that it has completed up to 15 beta-tests in just the past year.
“Beta-tests are key to digital success because they ensure the customer doesn’t drop off at any point in the customer journey. We aim to delight customers by repeatedly improving our app’s features, capabilities, and interactivity — and beta-tests are a crucial tool in our arsenal,” said Kwikcar CEO Jared Chan.
The company’s fondness for beta-tests has helped it identify and destroy several bottlenecks, helping it reduce the initial four-page sign-up to a two-page system and ensure foreigners are advised appropriately about whether or not driving licenses from their home countries are valid for local use.
Today, Kwikcar has more than 1,300 cars on offer, over 45,000 users, and boasts of just over 5,000 rental days per month on average — “and those numbers keep growing every time we sit down to pull numbers and study them,” said Chan.
The fundamentals of beta-testing for digital projects
While beta-testing might seem like something that most project managers might understand easily, in the digital world, the rules of beta-testing might differ.
With more access to data and easy access to real customers, beta-testing for digital projects must be developed into a discipline of its own.
According to Kwikcar’s Chan, here are three fundamental building blocks of any successful beta-test:
# 1 | User data analysis to root out problems
“Being an app-based offering, Kwikcar has access to plenty of user data. Without capturing any personally identifiable information, we can track how long a user spends on each page and each stage of the customer journey.
“This allows us to identify bottlenecks that we then decide to tackle using new technologies and features.”
For companies that don’t have access to such data or are creating new digital products without any baseline to understand customer needs, it’s important to get feedback from actual users before they embark on the project.
Beta-testing an idea might not sound like an important step, but it definitely ensures that resources are spent on projects that bring the most value.
After all, the most technologically advanced feature doesn’t do much for a company if it isn’t something that its users really care about.
# 2 | Internal ‘focus group’ to step into the shoes of users
“When you’re constantly working on something, you tend to get used to it. The focus group, therefore, needs to make a conscious effort to step into the shoes of the user.”
When members of the focus group start looking at the product or solution that they’re working on from the outside in, they uncover intelligent insights about how useful it will actually be because they have a strong understanding of the product.
Further, a focus group with perspective can work wonders for the company when beta-testing the digital product, feature, or solution it is developing because it allows them to think outside the box and see beyond the limitations inherent in the existing offering.
# 3 | Pre-launch beta-test for all new features/solutions
“This is the most crucial step for any business. At Kwikcar, we test each new feature with about 50 users, and if we don’t see a positive response to it from at least 80 percent of the users, we’re prepared to go back to the drawing board.
“Even if’s a 50/50 situation, we’re not happy because it means the improvement isn’t intuitive enough to benefit all our users.”
As Chan explained, the importance of the final pre-launch beta-test cannot be emphasized enough.
Companies might be too excited about their achievement or keen to make a move to captivate the market — but neglecting to beta-test prior to launch can be a bad idea and might even damage the company’s reputation if customers demand that it be rolled back.
Overall, in today’s digital world, companies can’t afford to be complacent. They need to focus on continuous improvements, but beta-testing is one thing they should make their strength if they want to succeed in the long-run.