Rapid business growth can sometimes lead to quality issues with a product. The result is dissatisfied customers and loss of positive word-of-mouth referrals. Scaling your business up to the next level is the only way you can see an increase in revenue. However, being aware of the potential issues with such upward movement can help you avoid the pitfalls.
What Impact Can a Poor Quality Product Have on a Company?
According to the Small Business Administration, there are approximately 32.5 million small businesses in the United States. The number fluctuates, but no matter what industry you’re in, you likely have some competition.
If you sell an inferior product, you risk your clients going to a competitor instead. All other things being equal, people will go for the item that works as promised. You can lose a loyal fan base if the quality of your product tanks.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you scale your business to what you want without losing the excellence of your products.
1. Appoint an Inspector
When your business grows to the point you can no longer track everything, appoint one or more inspectors to oversee the quality of your products. Ideally, they will check via the manufacturing process and see if everything works as promised out of every so many items coming off the assembly line.
Inspectors should also do quality checks of batches of finished products before they go out to customers. You may also want to hire testers to try to abuse the product and see what issues they find with quality. How can you improve?
2. Invest in Better Lighting
Some of the modern pick and place machines limit visibility in manufacturing. However, the right lighting can reduce errors and highlight issues before they become major problems. If you want to make sure your products meet your quality standards, install better lighting to ensure you don’t miss issues.
Proper lighting is also important in your warehouse and logistics operations. A well-trained packer can spot a product issue before the item goes out to a customer and pull faulty ones out of inventory.
3. Document Processes
Spend time writing out all your processes. Missing a step can mean the difference between a high quality product and one that breaks on first use.
Another advantage of documentation is that growth often leads to new employees. They won’t have to guess what you want if everything is written out. They’ll follow the processes already in place.
Creating a set of standards ensures the product is the same every time. You should also create processes for shipping to make sure things don’t change as your company grows. Customers expect the same level of service as before your brand took off.
4. Ramp Up Customer Service
Research shows around 90% of consumers base their loyalty to a brand on how well customer service meets their needs. As your company grows, spend time in more training for your agents.
You should also add omnichannel capabilities, such as allowing people to contact you via live chat, a toll-free number and email.
5. Fix Mistakes
When you come across a problem with one of your products, fix it immediately. If you’ve already sent out inferior products, replace them at your expense and send a note apologizing for the error. The more on top of quality you are, the fewer items will make it through with issues in the first place.
Own Up to Problems
People understand you may run into growth pains. As long as you are transparent and fix issues as you go, they’ll continue to trust you with their needs. People can forgive a lot, but if you lie or scam them, they will flee from your brand and tell others to stay away.
Spend time ensuring your products and processes are the best they can be. As you grow, it becomes even more important to stay on top of things to ensure quality.
This guest post was authored by Eleanor Hecks
Eleanor is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.