If you’ve ever released a software product, you know that no matter how much you test, there will always be bugs, kinks and unintended “features”.
Even the biggest software companies in the world release products with bugs… someone you might remember the infamous Windows ME or when Apple Maps started giving directions to nowhere.
It’s how well you deal with bugs after your launch that matters. With the right approach bug fixing can even be turned into a huge marketing advantage for you.
Now of course it is best to eliminate bugs before you launch and the first key is to…
Test Everything… Then Test Again!
The big companies spend as much time on quality control and testing as they do on development… and so should you.
Use your own software… not just for an hour… actually use it and try everything. Things that don’t work need to be fixed and if something seems unclear or even annoying to you, it will be much worse when it gets in your customer’s hands.
Why Would They Do That?
It can be difficult to bug test on your own. It’s your baby and you are likely to look past any problems that could be major issues for end users.
It’s also 100% guaranteed that some of your customers will attempt to use your software in ways you never intended, and some of them will break it in the process. These problems can only be uncovered during 3rd party testing, as you would never think about performing these actions yourself.
Building a Test Squad
It’s a very good idea to get help with your bug testing. Here’s some ideas on how to do that.
- Get friends and family to test it. Even better if these people are not internet marketers and have no idea what they are doing. It will simulate the part of your customer base that will be complete newbies.
- Give some of your existing customers and subscribers a free copy before your launch, in exchange for them helping you test the product.
- If this is not your first launch, you may have already identified some people in your support desk. The guys that always try to hack stuff, complain about stuff not working or constantly request new features. These are the perfect people to invite as beta testers.
- Sell early alpha access to your product (at a discount). This is a common tactic in the video game industry. Your paying customers have a vested interest in making the end product as good as possible and will be your best test crew.
Another benefit of using outside testers is that they will help you brainstorm new ideas. They might request features you had never thought about or suggest subtle changes that would make your product better.
Why Are They Still Using Explorer?
When you develop your software remember that people use different browsers and operating systems – some even use exotic combinations they refuse to update.
If your software is browser based you need to test it in all the most recent versions of the major browsers (at the very least Chrome, Edge and Safari). Not least because your design and user interface can look, feel and work completely differently depending on how well your coding was done.
If it’s desktop software you need to make sure it works on different operating systems and if not…
Meet Expectations & List Limitations
It’s perfectly fine to release a piece of software that only works on Mac or Windows. However if you don’t disclose this before the sale, you will end up inundated with refund requests and chargebacks.
Always list the system requirements (if any). Also if people need additional software or hardware to make your product work – they need to know. Same goes for knowledge, experience or skills needed.
Don’t worry, this can be turned into positives in your copy. For example: “Magic Video VooDoo 2 will work in any modern browser and only requires the microphone likely already built into your computer.”
Patch Day Is Best Day
As we said, no software will ever be 100% bug free and it’s how you deal with it that matters.
When your software is released your customers will find bugs that even your testers missed.
And that’s ok… in fact, it’s your moment to shine.
If you are honest and communicate with your customers it will go a long way. Let them know that you are aware of a problem and working hard to patch a fix for it. This will keep most people happy and avoid most refund requests.
Releasing patch fixes and updates can be one of the most powerful ways for you to build a relationship with your customers. It shows that you care and it shows that your software is not a one week cash grab – you are here for the long haul.
It can even be worth keeping some features out of the launch version in order to give you some cool updates to roll out down the line. Doing so will also give you more time to test the core features.
If you get your testing and patch fixing right – you can turn even serial refunders into loyal customers.
Happy bug hunting!