For Product Testing, It’s About the Problems – and Identifying Them Before It’s Too Late

Why Leveraging Product Tester Communities to Identify Problems Early Leads to Greater Success in the Market

Your products have problems customers can identify, and that is very exciting. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s exciting that your products have problems – pain points, issues, design flaws, etc. that your customers can help you identify – if they help you identify them before you go to market.

Collecting product testing feedback from actual users representative of your target audience early in the product design and development process allows you to identify and fix problems, small and large, so you can bring a product to market that delivers an exceptional customer experience.

Identifying Problems is a Critical Product Research and Testing Objective

It’s important to note that the problem may not just be with your product, but an inherent design flaw or miss in every product of this type within your brand or even within the market. Identifying flaws that customers may be, quite frankly, sick and tired of dealing with, is a critical step in the product testing process that will have the long-term effect of increasing sales, decreasing return rates and bolstering customer satisfaction.

The best way to identify these flaws is to leverage a group of actual users who will put your product to the test the way it is meant to be used, in the environments it’s supposed to be used in. It’s far more valuable to test the durability of your hiking boot with a user doing a multi-day hike with varied terrain than a user who is casually walking a flat path.

You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression once your product hits the shelves, so, allow your target customers to tell you what the problems are at a point when you can fix them without negative impacts to your sales and brand. The result will be increased consumer goodwill and decreased user dissatisfaction (think: fewer returns and less markdown inventory).

Three Relevant Advantages of Identifying Problems Through Testing

  1. Avoid Future Problems and Fix Current Ones, Too

Informing the design and development of your products through product testing allows your team to catch and correct otherwise unforeseen issues that will come at a cost once a your product is in the market. For your products that are already in the market – from plateaued styles to new products receiving poor reviews – testing current products will generate the feedback details necessary to improve the style holistically, positioning a style update or new style for greater success. Both of these approaches may be daunting when considering the time and effort that might go into generating that quality feedback, which is why a platform and community purpose-built for this use is critical.

  1. Tell the Right Story, with Confidence, at the Product Level

Identifying potential problems through product testing with a targeted product tester community can present numerous valuable marketing opportunities. Attacking the various pain-points identified through pre-market testing creates feedback and data collection opportunities for not only your product team, but also your marketing organization. Being able to take any major pain-points or questions your testing community raises and address them in the product can arm your marketing team with a sharp edge over your competition when speaking directly to your consumer community.

  1. Tackling Product Problems Shows Your Brand Cares

At the brand level, reacting to problems identified in the product research and testing phase shows your brand respects its customers, and listens. Customers, now more than ever (and with no signs of stopping), are constantly tapped into the world around them. They understand that they are marketed to based on their interests, lifestyle, and social media behavior. Actively listening to the people who ultimately you want to purchase your products and services proves to customers that you respect their needs, their voice, and most importantly, their time. Your customers are intelligent and well-informed – if you design products around what they need, you will build lasting brand loyalty.  

The biggest mistake a brand can make is trying to tell its customers what they want without listening to what they are already trying to tell them. With so much competition for customer attention, be the brand that understands your customers better than the rest. Product testing doesn’t start with a solution – it starts with a problem. If you leverage a product tester community of relevant and reliable users to tell you what those problems might be, the solution will follow, and your product will be positioned for success.