The simple answer to this question is very. Consumers expect excellent quality from any and all interactions with a business. High quality experiences spread good word-of-mouth attention for businesses. Poor quality, on the other hand, can be a reputation killer.
Think of your experience with any fast food chain you’ve ever visited. Have you ever ordered food and had a terrible interaction with the staff working that day? Did that make you want to go back?
Would you buy the same make and model car if your previous one constantly required expensive replacement parts? Or buy tires that have a 75% fail rate past 10,000 miles?
I’m guessing the answers to the last three questions are consistently, no. If so, your answers line up with the rest of the country. In the U.S., about 50% of consumers reported experiencing a problem during their most recent shopping trip. Of those, 81% chose not to tell the retailer about the problem and 32% of the silent, unhappy shoppers said they’d be unlikely to recommend that retailer to friends and family.
Poor quality in software is even more detrimental to business than in other service or product industries. Software companies, unlike other organizations, have a slower rate of return depending on the product type and format. This delay could mean there is already time and effort invested into the next release, product, or client when a request comes in for fixing an issue.
Companies making software with yearly releases take a huge gamble by releasing a low quality product. It allows competitors to charge in and take their users or gives users time to find a replacement for their software.
Companies that work via contract won’t be rehired if they continually deploy poor quality software. Their slow death is made even worse by negative word-of-mouth after multiple poor quality deployments.
Quality can be poor in a variety of ways. Some areas of quality are driven by the fact that the user sees things they shouldn’t, or calculations are returning incorrect data. Unfortunately, there is a huge window of quality that is gauged by personal opinion.
As a Quality Analyst, here’s what I look for and describe as poor quality software:
If the user experiences any of the above issues, they are definitely interacting with a poor quality product. The following issues are a bit more subjective and/or not considered major issues unless they are overly present.
While I focused a lot on what poor quality software is by looking at what are basically flaws and signs of brokenness in the software, nothing can prepare a user for poorly designed software. Poorly designed software is the bane of our industry. Not considering how the end user will use the product or application, or not even caring is a sure-fire way to be considered poor quality in the eyes of the user (who in almost all cases is the most important person in this equation).
Poor Quality = Poor User Experience = A Poor, Poor Future for the Software Company.