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  • Cotopaxi Lyon

The Role of Quality Control in Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

In today’s technology-driven world, where there is no shortage of products to choose from, ensuring customer satisfaction from the get-go is paramount. We expect a seamless experience, and if we don’t get it, we’re quick to abandon and search elsewhere. We promptly leave checkout flows due to frustration, delete apps because they continue to glitch, and switch providers because their interface just looks nicer. We all do it, and thus, the importance of QA.

The average annual churn for SaaS companies sits around 40%, while e-commerce sees abandoned purchases due to poor user experience at a rate of 60%. Each lost customer or sale not only means lost revenue but over time leads to a damaged reputation. Conversely, excellent user experiences lead to loyal customers and a positive reputation. When we love a product or application, we are likely to tell others about it and encourage our family, friends, and coworkers to use it as well.

As part of overall quality control, foundational quality assurance plays an integral part in ensuring user happiness. QA helps ensure products are bug-free, maintain an intuitive user flow, and are accessible to all.

What Factors Contribute to SaaS Customer Satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction occurs when all parties—Product, Development, QA, Infrastructure, and Customer Service—work in partnership, centering empathy for the user and dedicating time and resources to quality.

In planning for SaaS customer satisfaction, companies focus on several factors, including:

  1. User Experience: User experience is more than just ensuring the product works as intended—it includes considering what the experience is actually like. Does new user sign-up work intuitively? If a new contract is submitted, does the user know it is being saved and see a loading bar showing the save progress? Do they see verification when the save has been finalized? Product design has a significant impact on user experience. Not only does it need to look good, but it also needs to fit the market. What may be great design for a kindergarten tutoring platform might be terrible design for a banking application. Additionally, if the product includes multiple applications or is used across multiple devices, the ease of use between applications and continuity of design (when applicable) need to be prioritized.  When we step into a QA role, we analyze the end user and take on a user persona that matches the end user. We consider: How adept a user is with technology in general, and with this type of product in particular. If a typical user for the product is in their 70s, what do we need to keep in mind when testing? Alternatively, if the typical user is a software engineer, what specific traits, knowledge, and context do we need to keep in mind? What is the physical environment the user is typically in? Is that same 70-year-old volunteering in a church basement, and is the device they are using connected to WiFi through a hotspot? Is the medical professional using the application in a rural area where signal may cut out? Is the teacher in a noisy classroom with their attention pulled in multiple directions? All these environments bring up different criteria for us to test against: For the 70-year-old volunteer with a weak signal, how does the application function when the submit button gives them no indication that it is still loading due to poor network bandwidth? Given they are likely not fluent in technology and frustrated, it’s likely they keep pressing the submit button. So we ask ourselves: What are the effects of the user not knowing their form has been submitted? Is the form submitted multiple times? Does nothing happen? For the medical professional who lost signal, is all their data lost or is the data temporarily stored until it can be uploaded? How do they know this? If they don’t know, will their next action be out of fear of lost data and frustration? For the teacher in a noisy classroom, is the product’s user flow so intuitive they can move through the necessary flow without much attention on the process? Are all required actions/data fields explicitly spelled out? Is there a common type of disability a user may have when using the product? What is the accessibility experience like for all users? That 70-year-old volunteer is quite likely to have some vision and hearing impairment, while that medical professional may be neurodiverse. Keeping these factors in mind while testing helps us empathize with the user’s experience and understand the impact of these experiences. If the 70-year-old volunteer has a poor experience with the product their volunteer organization is using, are they less likely to volunteer in the future? If the medical professional has a stressful experience with the mobile vaccination clinic’s product, is it the last straw that causes them to quit their job? What does the user expect in the product’s design? As noted above, design for an EdTech application is not fitting for a FinTech application. Design plays an integral part in conveying the purpose of the application, the importance of information/flows in the application, encouraging the user to use the application in a certain way, as well as helping the user feel like the product is the right fit for them. Poor user experiences can have far-reaching consequences. For many, a poor user experience leads to abandoning the specific product, but for some, an unpleasant or stressful user experience is alienating and can lead to self-doubt.  By taking on the user persona for our QA work, we provide ourselves with a tool for analyzing how the application will be received. If we do not take on these personas, we may default to assessing design based on our own preference or exclusively by what acceptance criteria have been defined by product and development.

  2. Accessibility: Technology is used by individuals from all walks of life, including the young and old, visually impaired and neurodivergent, and more. Products must be designed with empathy for all users, ensuring they are accessible to all. Accessibility testing encompasses a lot. It includes verifying color contrast to ensure folks with color blindness can see differentiation, ensuring screen readers work as intended, and including closed captions for video and audio recordings so those with hearing impairment or neurodivergence can easily understand the content.

  3. Data Security: In this day and age, your data is gold and should be securely protected. This becomes an even bigger issue for industries that deal with more sensitive data, like MedTech, EdTech, and FinTech products. Companies must implement robust security measures, adhere to industry standards, and proactively address potential vulnerabilities.  As QA professionals, we test the precautions put in place by developers to verify that the platform is secure. This could involve testing login functionality to ensure it follows best practices, making it unlikely that your account will be hacked. It might also involve testing permissions for various user types to ensure a base user cannot access admin data, which could include anything from private medical records to student data.  Data security is by far one of the highest areas of risk for user churn. It is essential that products are built with security measures in place to protect your data.

  4. Reliability and Uptime: Users expect the applications they are using to be available and functioning properly at all times. A user doesn’t care if there is a large number of people signing on at the same time, leading to lag, or if the game is slow to load due to unprecedented viewership. It is essential that applications are built to scale and are continuously monitored to minimize downtime.

  5. Customer Support: We believe that customer support is as important as Quality Assurance. Where poor customer support leads users to abandon applications and tell their friends about their poor experiences, high-quality customer support leads to loyal users who tell the world about the product. Providing responsive, helpful, and knowledgeable customer support significantly impacts customer satisfaction. This includes offering multiple support channels (email, phone, live chat, etc.) and maintaining reasonable response times. We recommend issues reported to Customer Support are regularly reviewed by Product, Development, and Quality Assurance to be aware of not only high-priority issues the user is seeing but also frustrations and high numbers of issues seen in specific areas of the application.

  6. Integration Capabilities: Ensuring the SaaS platform integrates seamlessly with other tools and applications used by customers is important. This enables customers to streamline their workflows and make the most of the SaaS product.

  7. Scalability: SaaS companies must ensure their platform can accommodate customers' growth, both in terms of user count and data volume. This allows customers to expand their use of the product without worrying about outgrowing its capabilities.

  8. Regular Updates and Improvements: To maintain customer satisfaction, SaaS companies should continually evolve their products. This means not only fixing bugs but also adding new features and improving existing ones based on user feedback. Regular updates show customers that the company is committed to providing the best possible experience and is responsive to their needs and suggestions.

  9. Training and Resources: Providing comprehensive training materials and resources can greatly enhance customer satisfaction. This includes detailed documentation, tutorials, webinars, and a robust knowledge base. When users feel supported and educated about how to use the product effectively, they are more likely to have a positive experience and remain loyal customers.

By focusing on these factors, SaaS companies can enhance customer satisfaction and foster long-term customer relationships. Quality assurance is not just about finding bugs; it's about ensuring the entire product experience is smooth, intuitive, and enjoyable for the user. When all aspects of quality control are given attention, from user experience to data security, companies are better positioned to meet and exceed customer expectations.

At Lyon Quality Assurance, we specialize in providing comprehensive manual software testing and consulting services. Our team, based in northern Michigan, is dedicated to ensuring your products are not only functional but also intuitive to use. Reach out to us to learn how we can support your quality assurance needs and help your company thrive.


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