How to Improve Product Quality

Scenario: "Yo, we just have to pile on the features! More features! High-five!" We're big believers in the fab-concept: You cannot improve what you cannot measure.

  • A basketball point guard can't improve his impact without measuring his assist count.
  • A defense lawyer can't improve his quality without measuring his win percentage.
  • A advertising agency can't improve its impact without measuring its clients' ROI.

Likewise, a business can't improve its products' quality without measuring what?

  • a) ^ news reports on product
  • b) ^ features in product
  • c) ^ of defects from product

Did-ya answer (c)? Yup, yup.

"The Number of Defects?! WTF?"

Number of defects could include:

  • Bugs in a software application.
  • Returns on a coffee pot.
  • Delayed check-in times in a hotel stay.
  • Price negotiations of Johnny Buffet mugs.

That is, whatever minimal sucka the customer finds -- even slightly -- irritable in your product: it's a defect. And, that's costing you $ka-ching$.

How Defects Hurt Financially

Products associated with defects drain the shizzle out of your bottom line with:

  • Drained credibility.
  • Decreased referral rates.
  • Destroyed company confidence.
  • Depleted resources.

You'll struggle growing your business's $bling$ if you're pouring resources fixing your customers' problems, instead of using those resources to increase sales.

How to Improve Product Quality

Improving quality starts with knowing how much your product sucks right now; then, it progresses with making it less suckier over time.

Say Ana's gift shop sells Sanjaya Malakar t-shirts.

To improve the quality of her offerings:

  1. Ana measures the ^ of t-shirt returns for February.
  2. She seeks to decrease that ^ like a mofo in March.
  3. In April, she'll seek to decrease it even further.

Keep in mind: All products -- no matter how badass people might think they are -- will still suck in some way. (For instance, the Apple iPods -- "Ooooooooohhh great product! Yay!" -- had sucky batteries.) If companies tell themselves they've achieved 100% non-defects with their products, they're lazy sons-of-b@!$&*.

Take the example of Ana's t-shirts above, and let's just say she achieves zero ^ of Sanjaya Malakar t-shirt returns for April.

So has she reached optimum quality with her offerings? No way, San Jose! She could still improve the quality of her offerings by improving:

  • The shirts' referral rates.
  • The shirts' turnover rates.
  • The shirts' daily sales.

To improve product quality, live by the sexy rule:

No defects.


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Posted on March 29

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