A cornerstone of building a positive brand reputation is offering a quality product. Everything else in your business can go well, but if you have quality control issues, you’ll eventually fail as people spread the word and stop buying from you.
Broken products or things that fail to live up to the hype disappoint consumers.
Improving product quality takes attention to detail. You must be willing to delve deeper and figure out how the product meets customer expectations and what you need to fix. While you can take proactive steps immediately, getting where you want to be may take a long-term commitment.
How Can a Business Improve Quality?
Gartner recently surveyed consumers to find out their thoughts on companies that compromise quality or delivery in some way to cut costs. Around 62% of people said they'd stop buying from a brand that suddenly had lower quality or reduced the product size but didn't reduce price–shrinkflation.
If you don’t put product quality at the top of your list, you can be sure a competitor will. Here are the top things you can do to improve your product quality in 2023.
1. Survey Your Customers
The best way to find out issues with your products is straight from the people who use them. Send out surveys and ask questions about how the product functions, the look, and the feel of the item.
You should also pay attention to any negative reviews you get. Do customers call tech support about a particular issue often? Then, it’s something you should fix before they have to call.
2. Customize Your Look
Part of putting out a quality product includes customizing the look. High-quality labels elevate the appearance of your products and help solidify your branding. Make sure your labels are the height of professionalism. You don't want to put labels with errors on your products as it can give your items a cheap appearance or make customers think you don't care.
3. Invest in Training
Human errors may be to blame for mistakes in production or poor shipping. Invest in your employees by offering in-depth training. Cross-train people to do one another’s jobs. If an inspector is out sick or on family leave, who steps up to test products and make sure they function as expected?
You also have to train your staff to put quality first. They may have other concerns, such as keeping your business profitable, so their jobs are secure. However, the entire company becomes unstable if you put out an inferior product.
4. Fix Problems
When you’re alerted to an issue, fix it for the customer. From time to time, things will slip through. When you show your buyers, you care and will step up to make things right, you create a loyal fan of your brand.
Offering excellent customer service also creates positive word-of-mouth marketing. Customers will tell others how you fixed the issue they had, and you’ll gain free positive social mentions.
5. Be Transparent
People say they want more than anything else for companies to be transparent with them. How you handle quality control issues can determine whether you retain customers. Retaining just 5% more of your customers can increase profits by as much as 95%.
If you find a problem with your products, inform your customers. If there is a safety issue, issue an instant recall. Yes, it will cost your company money, but it’s better than the consequences of someone being injured by a faulty item.
6. Reward Quality Improvement
Give your employees things to keep an eye on to ensure quality. If they come up with an idea that improves the process or product, reward them for their input. The more invested your employees are in ensuring your business is the best it can be, the more your entire business will benefit.
Want to see your commitment to quality soar? Set goals and hold contests for employees to reach past those quotas. Reward everyone with a party, a day off, or another perk.
7. Define Quality
What quality looks like for your products may be different than how it looks for another company. You can’t apply a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to improving product quality in the next 12 months.
Take the time to figure out what needs to be fixed and then lay out the processes. How should your staff measure quality? You can either approach it via testing and scientific measures or by the reaction you get from your customers.
You can’t know if you’re making improvements if you don’t know what to measure, how often to check and how to ramp up effort in specific areas.
8. Don’t Go Crazy
While quality is essential and setting a goal to improve it in 2023 is smart, you don’t want to focus so intensely on the quality that you aggravate everyone in the company and stress yourself out.
No company is perfect. As you release new products, mistakes may slip through. Your goal as a business improving product quality should be to keep an open mind about what needs to be fixed, track complaints and fix things as they arise.
Branch Out Your Research
In addition to surveys, looking at feedback, and tracking product performance, you should also pay attention to what competitors do with their products. As they improve quality and features, you need to ramp up what you offer.
Test your products, continuously do market research and strive for excellence. Take the steps needed to improve your product quality in 2023; it will pay off for years.