Digital Quality Matters More Than Ever: Do Your Experiences Keep Customers Coming Back?

If you want to win in the digital world, “good enough” just won’t cut it. Technology leaders and visionaries don’t stop pushing to create better, faster, easier ways to do things, and as customers embrace their innovations, everyone else in the market must either quickly catch up or concede defeat.

Think about it: At one point, dial-up internet was good enough. Ordering the movie you wanted to watch on Saturday night on Monday so it had time to arrive in the mail was great. Calling different stores to make sure they had the items you wanted in stock before driving all the way across town to buy them was fine. If you wanted to know how your kids were doing in school you’d wait for parent-teacher conferences or report cards. You’d check the newspaper’s financial pages to see how your investments performed.

Today, those experiences seem remarkably dated. But all too often, organizations dismiss the role digital quality plays in driving customer satisfaction — and, ultimately, transforming their business models. Digital quality is a business issue, not solely a technology problem. As customer expectations rise, digital has become an integral part of the equation; it no longer exists separate from the business.

Investing in digital quality delivers value to the business

Organizations that invest in innovation, intuitive user experiences, and seamless customer journeys quickly capture serious returns. These companies report increased market share, faster time to market, better customer retention and satisfaction, higher average sales, and a host of other benefits that tie back to revenue.

To better understand the role of digital quality in today’s business environment, Applause analyzed a representative sample of our company’s testing data to launch the first ever State of Digital Quality report. We looked at global data from calendar year 2021 to identify the most common flaws in digital experiences and map out how organizations can prevent them from making their way into production. This data set spanned testing across websites, apps, IoT devices, mobile web and mobile apps in real-world scenarios.

The scope of the data is remarkable, including 159 countries, 70+ industries, multiple testing categories, more than 340,000 bugs, 13,000 mobile devices, 1,000 unique desktops and 500 OS versions. The themes that emerge are even more valuable: context and recommendations from our digital and testing experts, gleaned from work with our customers to address their toughest digital quality challenges.

Some key findings

It’s no secret that companies must find and eliminate defects before they reach end users to spark loyalty and prevent customer churn, and that they must do so across all dimensions of the customer journey. As the lines between the physical and digital worlds blur, new devices emerge and proliferate, and customer expectations rise, testing becomes ever more difficult — and essential. The degree to which companies commit to quality while embracing innovation makes a difference. Those who go beyond “good enough” set themselves apart.

  • Every digital experience requires comprehensive functional testing. Functional testing is the backbone of digital quality — a crucial and ongoing effort in creating exceptional experiences. Companies that produce the most popular and highest-ranking apps across all categories invest in comprehensive functional testing.

  • Accessibility is more than a legal checkbox. While many organizations recognize that neglecting accessibility (A11y) can put the business at risk legally, full digital accessibility has many benefits beyond risk mitigation. Shifting left to think in terms of inclusive design offers a competitive advantage.

  • Localization goes beyond translation. As companies expand to new markets, websites, products and apps must reflect the local language and social norms to build credibility. Digital experiences that demonstrate cultural sensitivity and attention to local preferences allow brands to foster trust and speed customer adoption.

  • Customer journeys must track seamlessly across devices and locations. Despite developers’ best efforts, apps and websites don’t always behave consistently across devices, networks, and operating systems. In addition, journeys that incorporate both physical and digital touchpoints require extra scrutiny to ensure a consistent experience.

  • Testing with real, live payment instruments is the only way to ensure every customer can transact successfully. A growing variety of payment methods, digital wallets, cryptocurrency, and trends like buy now, pay later (BNPL) make payment transactions more complex than ever. To ensure that payment experiences are working smoothly and seamlessly across a variety of scenarios, real-world testing with real people is crucial.

Learn how to improve your organization’s digital quality

Increasingly, we see that businesses that have shifted left to embed quality throughout the software development lifecycle reap rewards. Rather than framing it as a final gate to pass through before release, these companies have fully embraced digital testing and quality as an integrated part of the development process. These leaders have found that improving quality consistently pays off in cost savings, faster releases, and increased customer satisfaction and retention. This becomes even more critical as a more complex generation of apps emerges to meet users’ expanding expectations of seamlessness and ease-of-use.

In the world of the metaverse, AI, VR, rapidly evolving technology and heightened customer expectations, companies can’t afford to be complacent about digital quality. Read the full report for concrete recommendations on how to go beyond “good enough,” regardless of your company’s current quality organization or level of maturity.

In the coming weeks, watch for additional reports focused on the key industry vertical segments, including retail, media & telecommunications, finance, travel & hospitality, health & fitness and B2B software.

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Luke Damian
Chief Growth Officer
Reading time: 5 min

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