QA & Stratifyd Part II: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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In Part I of this series, we introduced Stratifyd’s Lead QA Engineer, Clay Raynor, and touched on our commitment to high quality standards. Now let’s take a look at what quality assurance is in the tech space and why it’s important for a positive customer experience.

What is QA?

QA is any routine process of determining whether a product or service meets a certain expectation of quality. The concept of QA as a standard practice began in the manufacturing industry in the 1800s and has since spread to every industry from auto manufacturers and FinServ, software development and technology.

Many people often confuse QA and quality control (QC). Although the two concepts are similar, there are important distinctions between them. QA ensures that everything released to consumers meets a certain standard of quality, whereas QC addresses other issues after production, such as bugs or defects.

In the tech industry, there are many different QA practices for improving products and developing innovative features. Some of the most popular testing methods among developers today include unit, integration, and regression testing.

Unit testing is often the first line of defense and is completed by developers manually. It ensures that the individual parts in a piece of software (think: a line of code) are functional and work as originally designed. For example, if a developer has written a unit of code to list a string of valid phone numbers, they can make sure this unit is working properly by creating a unit test which would either show either “true” or “false.”

After a unit of software is thoroughly tested, it’s integrated with other units to create modules that are designed to perform specific tasks. Integration testing is used to ensure entire segments of an application run smoothly. These tests can be arranged as a user scenario, such as logging into an app.

Regression testing is completed to make sure an addition or change to an application did not break any existing functionality. The main function of this testing method is to search for previous bugs that have been previously fixed and verify they remain dead. These tests can be arranged as a more in-depth user scenario, such as logging into a website to find every aspect of the home page is working properly.

QA practices and standards are continuously evolving to include a stronger customer focus so companies can deliver the highest quality product and remain competitive in their respective spaces.

QA’s Importance for a Positive Customer Experience

A solid QA system increases customer confidence and a company’s credibility, while also improving workflow and efficiency.

Ease-of-use defines the customer experience, so delivering a bug-free product is crucial to improving customer loyalty and satisfaction. From apps to contact centers, there are so many opportunities for customers to interact with a product, so it’s more important than ever to have strong QA practices.

According to Temkin Group, 60% of companies believed they delivered a positive mobile experience, however, only 22% of customers felt the same way. In a society where everyone carries a mini computer in their pocket, it’s important for companies to deliver a top-performing product or service. If a customer downloads a mobile banking app, they expect to deposit a check, transfer funds, or pay a bill seamlessly. If a QA system has been put into place, the customer’s expectations will be met (hopefully surpassed).

QA plays an important role in a positive customer experience with call centers. According to Microsoft’s 2018 State of Global Customer Service Report, 39% of customers prefer a phone call when engaging with customer support, with 66% reporting to use self-service, such as interactive voice response (IVR), before opting out to engage with a customer support agent. The lack of a QA system could quickly result in a poorly functioning IVR system, leading to customer frustration or complete loss of a customer.

The moral of the story is: QA = happy customers. Increased investments in QA teams and best practices will ultimately result in improved customer experiences and loyalty, and revenue growth.