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unitQ: Our Vision of Product Quality Nirvana

When my co-founder, Nik Lindstrom, and I sparked the initial conversations that eventually became unitQ, I was ready for a challenge. Nik and I had previously founded a company called Skout. It was a mobile-only social network that we eventually sold in 2016. That acquisition capped an amazing nine year journey with a fantastic team, a great community, and groundbreaking product. I was, and remain, incredibly proud of what we built with Skout, and selling the company gave me a chance to reset and recharge.

Spending time with my family and friends (and surfing!) took up most of my time in those days. I was lucky enough to eliminate meetings, product reviews, marketing pow-wows, 1:1s with co-workers, and other work activities from my life. Going from full-speed to full-stop was a binary change that I found both relieving and a bit stressful. So after a year-and-a-half, I reconnected with my former colleagues.

As we reflected on some of the challenges we faced at Skout, one of the biggest was staying on top of product quality in real-time while growing at an explosive rate. With a product spread across so many platforms, languages, versions, and third-party integrations, something, somewhere, was always broken. 

In one incident, there was a small bug affecting our Polish language Android app, causing it to keep crashing on launch. Since Polish language users were only a small portion of our overall audience, we didn’t flag or prioritize the bug as a high-impact issue. But, after receiving a large volume of negative Play Store reviews from our Polish users, we eventually pushed out a fix. What we later discovered was that delaying the fix cost us $360,000 in revenue and 6 months of frustrated users. That’s real money and customer goodwill that we squandered because we didn’t recognize the true impact of that seemingly minor quality issue.

Product quality can make or break a company

I won’t name names, but you’re probably already thinking of a recent annoying app experience. Whether it’s a clumsy UI, lack of responsiveness, errors, crashes, or a failed integration, even minor quality issues can push your users to competing apps. But, looking at it with a different perspective, your users are the ultimate quality team. They’re constantly testing every possible configuration of device, language, network, product version, OS and OS version, connection, and more. 

Looking back on the ad hoc, manual product quality process we used at Skout, it was frustrating to realize how we struggled so long on a problem that every product company experiences. So why hadn’t anyone built a platform to capture user signals in an actionable, real-time manner?

And so, unitQ was born

We set out to capture the massive amounts of priceless product quality data users are creating, and do so in a systematic and timely manner. We assembled an incredible team of amazing people, including some old faces from Skout. In the beginning, we were lucky enough to have both large and small companies take a chance on an entirely new product that was defining a new category, but also solving a universal product quality challenge. 

Today, almost three years later, unitQ Monitor is used by support, product ops, engineering, and leadership teams at category leading companies like SiriusXM, Pandora, Quizlet, StyleSeat, and many others. I am—all of us are—extremely proud of the platform we’ve created. It is something truly magical and I’m delighted to hear our customers continuously rave about the platform, the data it captures, and the insights it surfaces. They’re excited because the benefits are real, quantifiable, and substantial. In fact, unitQ customers have realized:

  • 20% average improvement in product quality in just 30 days.
  • Up to 40% reduction in support ticket volumes.
  • Up to 35% increase in app store star-ratings.

New metric to provide holistic insights into quality

We know that product quality is critical to company growth. New users are quick to drop bad products, and existing users will eventually churn to a competitor if product quality issues aren’t quickly addressed. But, just as we experienced at Skout, the gaps between users, customer support, quality assurance, product development, and engineering combine to create friction for any product quality improvements.

What unitQ brings to all of these teams is a new metric for product quality, which we call the unitQ Score. It provides an up-to-the-moment, data-driven approach for measuring quality, tracking progress, and comparing product quality directly with that of competitors and other leading organizations. 

The unitQ platform then connects product and quality teams to the granular issue data contained within user feedback to quickly identify and address issues. This helps companies boost engagement and retention because they’re getting product quality insights they can instantly use to polish the diamond they’ve already built. It’s all possible because our platform captures existing user feedback data from the App Store, social media, and other channels. That data is then integrated with the internal tools they’re already using, like Zendesk, PagerDuty, Slack, and more. And, across their company, teams use those insights to make quantitative, data-driven decisions about product quality and direction, engineering prioritizations, support allocations, and more, and then quickly get to work improving and enhancing their products. 

You can have it, too. Just request a demo and we’ll show you how it works.