Almost everyone would agree that the quality of a product is important, but not everyone has the same idea of what constitutes high quality. For example, some people consider a product high-quality if it's luxurious or durable, whereas others may value efficiency or ease of use.
Regardless of the definition, product quality affects companies' purchasing decisions and profitability. Read on to learn what constitutes product quality, why quality is important and how to improve the quality of your products.
What constitutes product quality?
Product quality describes a product's capability to meet user standards. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating a product's quality:
- Does it solve a problem? No product would exist if it weren't solving or improving something. The extent to which it fixes the intended problem helps to determine its quality.
- Is it easy to use? A high-quality product shouldn't be complicated to use. Customers shouldn't have to spend too much time trying to figure out how to assemble or work it.
- Is it polished? Colors, dimensions, fonts (if applicable) and other elements of design should be in alignment. The product shouldn't appear cheap in any way.
- Is it efficient? The product should not only get the job done but do so efficiently. In other words, it should deliver quickly and require minimal effort from the consumer.
- Is it tailored to your customers? The product should be tailored specifically to users' needs, showing that you understand your customers and are willing to accept any recommendations they voice.
6 reasons product quality is important
Improving your product quality is paramount to your business's bottom line. Here are six reasons product quality is important:
1. It builds trust with your customers.
Most businesses won't succeed if they can't build customer trust; countless potential sales are lost when brands fail to make deeper connections with prospective buyers. By contrast, when you gain the confidence and loyalty of consumers, you have more freedom to make decisions such as raising prices. Ensuring high-quality products and services is one way to help you get consumers to appreciate and believe in what you have to offer.
Humanizing the company also can help customers connect with your brand. One way to do this is to create newsletters or social media posts that show updates and photos of what employees are working on. If customers begin to associate faces with your company, it will help them connect with your organization more than they would with a faceless corporate entity. Another way to build loyalty and appreciation is to establish a rewards program. Understanding the value of customer loyalty will be crucial when trying to establish repeat business.
2. It fuels recommendations.
Most people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising when making a purchase decision. This is why, when it comes to influencing consumers, nothing comes close to beating word of mouth.
Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a persuasive factor in both online and offline purchasing decisions. Friends and family want to know if someone similar to them had a good experience with a product. The higher-quality product a company has to offer, the better chance they'll have at driving positive reviews, recommendations and shares between consumers.
Starting campaigns to get people buzzing about a product is a great way to spread recommendations by word of mouth. You can also respond to complaints or compliments online to show that you provide good customer service, which is another aspect of high product quality.
3. It results in fewer customer complaints and returns.
Marketing studies have proved again and again that companies that produce high-quality products obtain more repeat business. Spending more time and money upfront perfecting a product before it hits the market will minimize customer complaints and returns.
It's common for sellers of high-quality brands to spend more to persuade consumers to try their goods. The more successful companies are at pleasing customers during their initial experience with a product, the more likely they'll be to see repeat purchases from those customers. [See related article: It's About the People: The 'Stakeholder Approach' to Building Better Brands]
Testing products with potential customers or a market research group can help to produce a great product. Most people in these groups will give brutally honest opinions, and companies can use that feedback to make improvements to their products.
4. People care about aesthetics.
One dimension of quality is the aesthetics, or how a product looks, feels, sounds, tastes and smells. For example, MrTakeOutBags pays close attention to these qualities, and it shows in the company's bakery cupcake boxes. The colors, prints, shapes, textures and features (such as handles) make all the difference, and it's what sets the brand apart from its competitors. Customers notice these kinds of details, which can make or break a sale.
Tip: Having customizable features also allows a company to give customers exactly what they want while tacking on a few dollars to the price.
5. It produces a higher ROI.
Studies show a strong positive association between quality and profitability. In fact, high quality produces a higher return on investment (ROI) for any given market share. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, having fewer defects or field failures results in lower manufacturing and service costs, and as long as these gains exceed any increase in expenditures by the firm on defect prevention, profitability will improve. In addition, improvements in performance, features or other dimensions of quality lead to increased sales and larger market shares.
If a company has produced a quality product and has marketed it effectively, it's time to see if you can cut costs without sacrificing quality.
6. It allows you to grow.
If your product quality is lacking at first, don't fret; that simply means there is room to grow, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. By listening to your customers' complaints or recommendations, you'll be telling them how much you value their input and satisfaction.
As you improve quality, you will strengthen your relationship with your customers. Willingness to grow is proof you care about more than just making money. Your brand will become stronger and more relatable, and you'll find even more ways to expand into new markets and reach new audiences.
How to ensure product quality
Here are five tips to ensure high product quality:
1. Implement a quality management system.
A quality management system is a set of business practices comprising the planning and execution of delivering a product. The system includes principles that help to prepare a product for its launch, such as customer focus, leadership, research and evidence-based decision-making.
2. Build a product strategy.
A product strategy details information about a product and the company's vision for it. Some points the strategy defines include the customers, market, competitors and business goals. This strategy serves as a roadmap for your product's journey, from creation to launch.
3. Consider competitors.
Considering your competitors is an important part of developing your product. What are they doing that you aren't (and vice versa)? How are their products performing? What works for them and why? Answering these questions will put you in a better position to compete with similar businesses in the market.
4. Listen to your customers.
Don't be afraid to ask your customers how you can improve your products. Use any negative feedback to learn more about your customers and help your products better meet their needs.
5. Always test your products.
It's essential to test every product before launch so you can anticipate how buyers might react to the product and see what changes you might need to make before you release it to the public.