With the digital world’s growth in recent years, companies began prioritizing quality of service and customer experience. Until some time ago, the cheapest product or service was the most in demand. Today, this no longer works for everyone: according to Zendesk, 70% of customers spend more with companies that offer a fluid, personalized, and seamless experience.

The internet has become a means through which it is possible to search for the best-priced product and the supplier that guarantees the best service. Therefore, the need to create new experiences is driving the creation of products and services.

In 2018, a study carried out by Dynatrace, a software intelligence company, where more than 800 CIOs from several countries were interviewed, showed 89% of these leaders believe that, henceforth, companies will have to launch new versions of their products faster than before.

Due to the need for agile innovation, digital businesses started to add updates more frequently: new integrations, features, plug-ins, etc. Theoretically, the insertion of new features would provide a better user experience.

However, are all these changes indeed effective?

The same Dynatrace study showed 73% of CIOs believe digital innovation’s speed is putting customer experience at risk.

How would these digital businesses be putting customer experience at risk if they are seeking improvements?

73% of CIOs believe digital innovation’s speed is putting the customer experience at risk.

Apps, websites, and e-commerces are considered living systems: technical changes and developments happen every day–Uber, DoorDash, large marketplaces, and banking apps are some examples of systems that are updated daily and have thousands of users/accounts. The need to frequently release changes increases the chances of a previously working feature malfunctioning or stopping working. Often, a functionality not related to the new application may fail. And, when this happens, that product’s conversion is immediately affected.

Let me give an example: in a car rental e-commerce, a feature to include additional drivers in the same reservation for a vehicle seemed like a fantastic idea. But, when adding this feature, an error in the e-commerce caused the additional drivers’ insertion fee to be charged incorrectly.

This caused a big problem when a driver arrived on site to pick up the car. By having to pay the extra fee when picking up the vehicle, the customer’s experience was damaged because: 1) to the customer, it was not clear they would be charged, as the website did not indicate the fee at the time of booking; 2) for the rental company employees, stress was generated by having to explain the fee. In addition to the financial losses, this could ultimately lead to a legal problem.

What can be done to ensure a digital product’s quality?

Software testing is essential because it ensures a digital product’s quality and, therefore, avoids hindering customers’ experience. 

Most companies don’t look at their software development process taking into consideration adequately including quality-focused activities to reduce chances of flaws and bugs reaching the final product and impacting the user experience.

Neglecting the quality step comes at a high price! The later a bug is discovered, the more difficult and expensive it is to fix. If the digital product is already live, the cost to solve a bug can be up to 100 times more expensive than if it was detected during the design and specification of that technical evolution.

Digital customer experience

Source: Integrating Software Assurance into the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), 2010

Moreover, according to data from Stripe, an American payment solutions company, the average time a developer spends fixing bugs is 17 hours a week. In other words, half a week is being used only to fix technical issues, which prevents the product evolution from being properly structured.

Some important tips so the technical evolution takes place smoothly, without interfering with the user experience:

1) The entire team must have the quality mindset. Even if there is no Quality Assurance (QA) professional, that is, a person responsible for checking quality during the software development process, the team must understand the product’s success depends on everyone.

2) Quality must be thought of during all stages of the development process, not just at the end of it. Remember that: the later a bug is detected, the more expensive it will be to fix, meaning, financial loss and more hours spent by the team on issue-fixing.

3) Don’t leave it to solve the problems later. By reviewing requirements and possible user stories before they go into the development team’s production, many bugs can be avoided.

4) Make sure there is good communication between the people on your team: the more they share knowledge and participate in relevant decisions, the better the project will flow. When communication is good it is easier to know what is being done and what it is being done for. Having a constant alignment of all scenarios between the Product Owner (PO), Software Developer (DEV), and Quality Assurance (QA/Tester) is essential for the project’s success.

5) Lastly: invest in test automation. The higher the level of automation during the process, the less dependence on human actions. This way it is possible to guarantee good practices are being applied and that the product’s most relevant characteristics are being monitored. Thus, if any change in the product affects what was already working, there is a good chance these issues will be detected.

Investing in quality is always the best option.

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