Making good products is fundamental to establishing trust with consumers, and companies that accomplish this reap great rewards. According to data from Salsify, 46% of US consumers say they are willing to pay more for a brand name they trust, and 54% research a product’s quality before buying.
Which begs the question: What makes a product good, and how do you become a trustworthy company?
At its core, “trustworthiness” comes down to following through on marketing promises: selling products that do what you say they will and offering excellent customer service. In this article, we’ll discuss what makes a product high-quality and share some steps you can take to improve product quality.
What Separates a Good Product from a Low-Quality Product?
Product quality is subjective. One person might swear by Casio watches, while another will never buy anything but a Rolex. Neither one is wrong—they just have different needs and expectations. Casio fulfills the requirements of one consumer, while a luxury brand like Rolex is a better choice for another.
The person who buys a Casio G-Shock might want a watch that tells the time and is durable enough to get knocked around while surfing or hiking. It won’t meet their needs if it can’t handle the constant jolts from their outdoor activities. However, if it does, they’ll give it a good review.
The person who buys a Rolex Sky-Dweller is looking for an 18-karat-gold statement piece that exhibits their status and will retain its value over time. If they can turn heads on their evening out and are confident they can sell it in 10 years, they’re happy with that.
With this in mind, you should evaluate your product to determine how well it meets your target consumer’s needs.
Evaluate Your Product Thoroughly
It’s crucial to consider every aspect of your product before making improvement plans. Here are some questions you could ask yourself:
- What needs and wants does it meet? Above all, products must offer appropriate solutions to the consumer’s problems.
- Is it reliable? Products that fail or break prematurely will lose customer goodwill and lead to bad reviews and poor brand reputation.
- Is the price point correct? Consumers will be expecting less from a lower-priced product—thus making it easier to meet expectations.
- Is it aesthetically appealing? Making your product look better is going to have an impact on customer perception.
- Is it easy to use? Products that are difficult to use or understand can often frustrate customers.
- Is it efficient to use? If not, how can you make it more efficient?
If your product needs to be improved in any of these (or other) areas, your next step is creating an improvement strategy.
How Can You Improve Your Product Quality?
As we’ve discussed, you must know your product and target market inside and out. Then you can think about taking steps to increase consumer satisfaction. Let’s discuss the importance of product development, quality management, and continuous improvement.
5 Tips for Improving Product Quality
In a previous article, we’ve offered the following five tips, which we will summarize here.
- Start with product design and development – To meet customer expectations, you must start by designing your product to do so. Without good design, it doesn’t matter how accurately the factory produces your products.
- Define what quality means for your brand – To manufacture successfully, it’s vital you provide detailed specifications to your factory and clearly define acceptable defect levels. Otherwise, you don’t have any specific standard to meet.
- Establish a quality management system (QMS) – To ensure product consistency, you must develop a system that documents your processes for meeting quality objectives. If you don’t, you may be unable to get good results from your manufacturing partners in the long term.
- Consider product performance testing – To meet industry performance standards or follow through on marketing claims, you should test your products in an accredited lab. Doing this will allow you to verify that they are as good as you want or claim them to be.
- Develop a culture of quality – To limit the costs of constantly having to rectify mistakes, build a culture of quality in your organization. Otherwise, you may not have an environment where employees consistently take actions that benefit your brand’s quality.
For more details on these points, review our article about how to improve product quality.
Now let’s discuss some ideas for continuous improvement.
Focus on Continuous Improvement (2 Ideas)
Continuous improvement is crucial to meeting consumer needs in the long term. Many successful companies make it a point to continually evaluate their products, look for weaknesses, and upgrade or improve.
How do you do that? Reviewing customer feedback, monitoring inspection data, and product testing are three ways to spot weaknesses.
1) Gather Customer Feedback
Product quality affects customer satisfaction — and customer feedback is an invaluable way to learn more about how and where your products need improvement. You should always treat negative feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Make it easy for your customers to provide feedback. Offer product and experience surveys. Consider incentivizing customers to fill them out (for example, by offering a 5% discount on their next order if they complete a survey.)
Make the surveys intuitive and straightforward. Anything you can do to increase the likelihood of receiving feedback translates to more useful product information in your pocket.
Actively seek out reviews of your company and your product. There are so many sites that host consumer product reviews. Become familiar with them and keep an eye out for mentions of your business.
Be sure to have a presence on social media and investigate where you might be tagged or mentioned online. Positive feedback makes you look great, and negative feedback helps you learn.
2) Examine Inspection Data
If you’re serious about quality control, you are likely conducting quality inspections regularly. You might send an employee of your company or a third-party inspector to the factory to evaluate the goods that come off the production line.
Over time, you will get an idea of how well the manufacturer is making products to your specifications. You can keep track of your inspection results and gather data about the percentage of minor, major, and critical defects. Based on the trends you identify, you can look at opportunities for supplier development.
Need Help Ensuring Product Quality? Insight Can Help
By taking the steps we’ve outlined here, you’ll be in a better position to make a great product that solves a problem and achieves the high levels of quality you desire.
If you need help with quality control and assurance, Insight Quality Services offers services to help you assess your manufacturers and verify the quality of your products. They include:
- Product inspection services – we check your products at the factory to verify adherence to specifications.
- Laboratory testing services – we help you assess your products’ performance or ensure they comply with regulations in your market.
- Factory audit services – we assess your manufacturer to determine if they can meet your needs or to help them improve through supplier development.
Read our free guide on Price vs. Quality.