Why I Won’t Be Using BetaPunch for User Testing

Alternate Title: How NOT to Do Social Media for Your Startup

This morning, I happily tweeted about the service UserTesting.com, which I’ve been using to get brutal but extremely helpful feedback on user experience at Referly.

I love usertesting.com

The Twitter account for user testing startup BetaPunch replied (see the full thread of tweets here), asking why we weren’t using their service instead.

BetaPunch Beta Punch BetaPunch.com

I replied that I was still annoyed (which I am) that they publicly tweeted links to the results of free usability tests they ran for us when we were trying out their product back in October (thankfully they agreed to delete the tweets at the time). After that, I felt like my privacy had been violated (and who really wants competitors, strangers, potential investors, etc. viewing user tests of their very early stage and admittedly confusing product) and we already were familiar with UserTesting.com so I decided to stick with them.

BetaPunch.com Beta Punch BetaPunch

I figured there was some very junior social media person manning the account and assumed the conversation would probably end there. But it didn’t, so we have a little social media case study in what not to do if you’re going to chase after your competitor’s customers.

So, I won’t be using BetaPunch. They’re rude, don’t respect my privacy, and clearly don’t want me to be their customer anyway. Not sure how they missed “the customer’s always right” – but I’d settle for “don’t be mean to customers” in this case.

I don’t need to be right, I just need to be right enough to want to pay you.

What do you think, is it ungrateful to trial a freemium product and then not upgrade? Let me know what you think in the comments.

And BetaPunch, you’re welcome for the traffic… enjoy the SEO, too.

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The @wilw saying is, Don’t be a dick.

http://www.reddit.com/user/SwagifyMe   Beta punch harrases people on reddit too. 

I’m stunned by the ineptitude of how BetaPunch handled the exchange.  My bottom line advice to folks is to treat everyone well.  When I see someone acting like this with anyone, I know they might act like that with me.

Disclosures: Danielle is a friend, and I’m an advisor to UserTesting.com (whose CEO, Darrell Benatar (not Pat’s brother), is one of the humblest, kindest entrepreneurs you’ll ever meet).

Wow. From this conversation you would think that BetaPunch is an internet troll instead of an actual company that cares about users and wants to make a good product. 

@danielle- I actually count TWO thank you’s from you to them in the original twitter exchange. What are they talking about. Talk about classy-accusing you of something false. Sheesh

That is all so very well said. Totally agree.

Had a weird experience with this company and founder – he rated my tester FOR me giving them 4 stars – and this confirms the guy is not capable of building a product and customerbase that I want to be a part of.

It doesn’t matter how Danielle handled the situation. Whether it was petty or awesome is not relevant. It doesn’t matter how annoying you think a customer is…you can’t lash out at them like that. If you do, you run the risk of them complaining to their friends (or posting a blog post smearing your name) whether its a fair reaction or not. The customer may or may not always be right, but a company should always try to set things right when a customer is unhappy if they want to further the business. A company CERTAINLY shouldn’t lash out at a customer just because they got an answer they didn’t like (especially when they asked for the reason in the first place).

Besides, her initial comment to them was not rude or ungrateful, it was honest. As a usertesting company, you would think BetaPunch would appreciate honest feedback. #irony

12 Jan 2013, 5:46am
by pietpompies

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Yeah, look… you didn’t exactly post anything more useful in the content other than the tweet screengrabs, I think we all got the picture by just looking at the grabs. That said, going on a trial / free account is about more than just getting something for free and then saying thank you, it’s about trying out the product, and in my opinion even more about testing the way the company is dealing with their customers. In this instance, BetaPunch have shown that they have an exceptionally poor grasp of not even customer relations – but common good old courtesy. I also get the feeling that this is a little fresh out of school know it all kid that was posting on their behalf… it’ll be interested to see if their CEO (or at the very least somebody higher up) responds to this with something resembling “We’re sorry, this was stupid, please forgive us”

Danielle, to provide constructive feedback (as requested of another poster)…

In this conversation, you allowed yourself to get sucked into a public debate that could only hurt your reputation. MANY people know who you are (I’ve watched a few of your talks even), so engaging on a text-based medium that offers *no* context with another service that most people haven’t heard of, really offers no upside. Were you in the right on this? Yes. Did you need to really flex to prove it? No. IMO social media banters are about strategic plays to either satisfy your followers or pull in new ones through publicly re-enforcing your character and integrity. In this case, I don’t believe either occurred.

What should have happened is no response to the $39 vs. $10 tweet, other than “I have my reasons, but thank you for the offer.”  Your policy should be quick, terse, diffusion or dismissal of any debate topic that challenges your decisions as a customer on a public forum. You have something to lose that others may not have due to your popularity and integrity that you’ve shown throughout your career: respect. You’re better than this.  (Hope this helps)

12 Jan 2013, 8:24pm
by JimPiquant

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You handled this correctly, you gave them a chance to say sorry and get another crack at your business but they decided to be knuckleheads.  They deserve the bad press.

12 Jan 2013, 8:28pm
by Margevans

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i also hate marketers.

It’s not ungrateful to trial a freemium product and then not upgrade. Any freemium product should understand that not all trial users will convert – it should be built into their business model. I think the larger issue is that people don’t make purchase decisions based on gratitude. The fact that BetaPunch feels that you owe them a thank you and more importantly, your business, says more about their ego than their product. 

People do, however, make purchase decisions based on trust. And BetaPunch broke your trust when they released your tests without your permission. That’s nearly impossible to recover from. 

15 Jan 2013, 10:15pm
by Tracy “I like email” S.

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Is private email becoming an old school technology? Bad move on their part.

I don’t believe it. Customer is still King.

Childish and petty? Exposing horrible customer service is anything but childish and petty – it’s extremely important for those who are researching their options for products. How else would the consumers know Betapunch was capable of treating their customers so poorly? Customers are ALWAYS king or in this case, QUEEN. 

[...] don’t use them. Some, even use them to lash out to their users, as it was the recent case of Beta Punch. Social Media channels are very personal by nature, if you use them to nag at someone, the feeling [...]

[...] true with B2C – If you want an example of how a startup can handle a PR crisis poorly, read Danielle Morrill’s recent post on her encounter with BetaPunch here.) Accepting fault is how people stay married and how companies stay alive. We were wrong and it [...]

I was about to try betapunch. Good think I looked for more options. And I already saved a few friends who were also looking for beta testers for some new websites and platforms they are working on. Thanks for saving me from a very unpleasant experience.

Having a similar experience with BetaPunch – they’re being very nasty with me. A customer service representative told me “it’s not the end of the world” that my test I completed just never uploaded and that they don’t take any responsibility for their recorder (which is virtually unusable) because it’s 3rd party. What kind of logic is that? Every e-mail I sent was responded to in a flip, nasty unprofessional way. I am currently filing a BBB complaint. Nice to know they didn’t behave this way with me exclusively.

25 Jan 2014, 4:26pm
by Christina

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Oh wow. That is hard to read. I think I tried their service when they just launched. Apparently, they got bought and have a new owner. But somehow I am not completely buying it, it feels like someone is just trying to wipe the slate clean. If I am wrong, I apologize to James, who is apparently the new owner. James, we need some proof that this story is not a lie.

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