Did you know that 87% of respondents to the World Quality Report agreed that quality assurance (QA) was essential to business growth? With the same report suggesting that 25% of a project’s total development cost should be set aside for QA testing, it’s clear that these final checks cannot be overlooked.
In a competitive marketplace, quality assurance is the seal that states that your company can be trusted to deliver at the top level. Whether you’re offering a physical product, a virtual product, or a service, QA is essential to your relationship with customers.
Viewed in this context, it’s apparent that a quick once over before packaging a product or sending a document will no longer cut it – quality needs to be incorporated, apparent, and celebrated in every area of your organizational structure.
Read on to discover why quality assurance should be central to your business practices, and how it can level up your business practices.
The most obvious and immediate result of poor quality assurance is a loss of customers. Remember, with online commerce customers have more choices than ever. If your brand fails to deliver on its promises even once, customers will not hesitate to move on to another option.
Likewise, mobile users have a plethora of apps available to them, so even the slightest of technical glitches could lead them to hit the “uninstall” button. Thorough QA testing before launch can boost your app retention rate, and gain you those all-important stars in the app store.
Of course, in reality, there’s bound to be a glitch, defect, or missed deadline now and again. These instances need to be logged and analyzed to ensure that no further patterns emerge. If the issues reoccur, this could mean you’re mismanaging your organization’s resources or time, leading to losses both internally and externally.
It doesn’t take long for the word to spread, thanks to review sites and social media. If one customer has a bad experience, chances are they will let other shoppers know. A loss of reputation can lead to a long-term loss of customers to competitors – and as a result, lost revenue.
Boost Company Culture
If your customers are unhappy and your reputation sinking, your employees will feel less personally invested in the brand. This will lead to decreased performance and engagement, allowing for further mistakes to be made. This is a downward spiral you can’t afford to be drawn into!
In comparison, a team with quality as part of their mission will feel more personally engaged in maintaining those standards, and proud to work for a quality-focussed organization.
In turn, a quality-driven human resources team will create more positivity in the workplace – rather than simply clocking in and clocking off, employees will have a chance each day to make a real difference to customers’ experiences. This motivation is much easier for employees to emotionally connect to than revenue or return on investment.
The positivity doesn’t end in the office: through quality branding, you can create a genuinely engaged audience, happy to share their positive experience and create a wider conversation around the company. When your customers truly trust you, you’ll find them doing your work for you by advocating for your brand and referring new customers.
Save Time and Money
A stitch in time saves nine, as the old adage goes. This rings true for quality assurance, as fixing errors in production can take significantly less time and save more money than repairing the same error after launching a product or service.
All the work done on top of an error would need to be reworked, calling for whole teams to do a “redo”, rather than working on the next project or product. This is not only a misuse of time and resources – it will also leave employees feeling deflated.
It’s also worth considering the fact that your initial product may form a prototype for future updates and new versions. A well-tested first try will significantly cut down time when designing and developing future products and services.
The more tests take place throughout a product or service’s development, the more confidence in the product increases. You will be able to put your final offering to market knowing for a fact that customers will be satisfied, rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
Consistent testing will also allow for a unified vision of the end product amongst everyone working on it, across your organization. Making choices based on evidence and analysis will reassure all employees that they’re representing the best possible option, and allow them to do so with gusto.
Customers’ confidence in your offering will also increase if you can give some insight into your rigorous testing processes. Consider Ikea’s marketing, in which they are open about their rationale behind choosing materials as well as the durability testing each design goes through before hitting the shelves.
A lot of issues with products – both physical and virtual – are not immediately available to the ordinary user, and will only make themselves known over time. That’s why customers are thankful to see that rigorous testing has been done for them, so they don’t face any nasty surprises.
Testing Is Critical
When most people think of QA, they consider the checks run at the end of a project, or prior to a product changing hands. This is a crucial aspect of maintaining quality standards, as your testing team can use their expertise to ensure that products, goods, and services are exactly what’s promised, and will stand the test of time.
Those in the technology sector will be familiar with running quality assurance tests. These need to be implemented as an integral part of the product’s development cycle, ensuring that only the best product is released to the market.
There are many types of automation testing to explore, instantly running different scenarios to see how the software can handle it. Introducing automation into your testing cycle can boost productivity by giving developers more time to focus on finessing the product.
It’s worth investing in your staff’s skills when it comes to automation – look into hiring developers with knowledge of AI, or enroll existing employees in RPA training online.
Don’t forget, however, that your end-users will be human and capable of making errors that an automated system cannot. For your final rounds of testing, bring in beta users or run an A/B test to ensure that the product is user-friendly as well as technically correct.
Consistency is Key
However, testing is not the only point at which QA needs to be considered. For starters, it needs to be worked into your product design or service strategy from the beginning. Depending on your industry, the goods and services you sell will vary – but a commitment to quality shouldn’t.
Complete thorough market research to discover pain points that customers have with competitors’ products and services, then design an offering that works around those issues. Test and source top-quality parts and materials, and ensure that staff have the relevant tools and training to meet top standards every time.
Consider how quality assurance can be made apparent in your work environment: invest in highly skilled professionals at every level and show dedication to their ongoing training. The more invested you are in your team, the more invested they will be in your products and services.
Ensure that your management systems are people-centric and agile, able to catch any issues early in the game, long before they impact your customers.
Ensure that your own quality standards are seamlessly interlaced with regulations and compliance. Aim to go above and beyond the levels given by legislation, and seek industry accreditation for your dedication to quality. Nothing builds customer trust like a list of awards on your homepage.
Should an issue slip through the testing net, your company will need a highly trained and invested customer service department to demonstrate that your dedication to quality goes beyond the product itself.
Ensure a friendly and professional service to keep customers satisfied even in the event of an issue. Bonuses such as a free conference call service will elevate your company in customers’ eyes.
Spread the Word
Finally, let your commitment to quality shine through your branding and marketing. This starts with the feel of your online presence: a tidy, accessible, and luxury-feeling website makes a good first impression. Even touches like io domain registration for a tech startup can engage the right audience and demonstrate your attention to detail.
Beyond this, build messaging that highlights quality as core to your mission and values. Done well, this can establish a genuinely trusting relationship and lead to repeat custom and new leads alike.
For your company to thrive, you need to make quality more than a buzzword – and QA more than a final check. Whether your product is physical or virtual, testing needs to be a critical part of its development cycle, from gaining customer feedback to SDLC quality assurance.
Your stakeholders will notice the difference, from satisfied customers to engaged employees. A quality-centric approach to business is sure to give your organization the edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Kate Priestman is the Head of Marketing at Global App Testing, a trusted and leading end-to-end functional testing solution for QA challenges and test automation. Kate has over 8 years of experience in the field of marketing, helping brands achieve exceptional growth. She has extensive knowledge of brand development, lead and demand generation, and marketing strategy — driving business impact at its best. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.