How performance testing can help protect EEE manufacturers from negative consumer reviews

Author : David Linder | Technical Manager | SGS

03 February 2020


Manufacturers increasingly need to consider their products from the perspective of how happy consumers are with their purchase. Negative reviews by customers on online sites can have a catastrophic impact on sales. 88% of consumers now state website ratings & reviews as their primary source of information when considering buying a product.

This article was originally featured in the February 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

To retain competitive advantage, therefore, manufacturers need to ensure customers are happy. David Linder, Technical Manager at inspection, verification, testing & certification company, SGS explains how thorough performance testing can help reduce product recall risks, cut costs and protect EEE (electrical & electronic equipment) manufacturers from negative consumer reviews.

The key to having happy consumers is understanding their expectations – and then either matching or exceeding them. Usability forms a large part of those expectations. Usage assessment has therefore become one of the most important tools available to a manufacturer when helping them define and anticipate user feedback.

Products must also be ‘fit-for-use’. A ‘fitness-for-use’ assessment identifies possible weaknesses and allows manufacturers to compare their products with their competitors’. This allows a manufacturer or supplier to position their product in the right competitive environment. It will also help mitigate some of the risk associated with negative feedback.

‘Fitness-for-use’ assessments match the prime areas of usage that are commented on by consumers. These include:
•    Instructions to user
•    Handling
•    Performance
•    Durability
•    Usage

Negative reviews in any of these areas can result in a drop in future sales.

Which protocols need to be applied to the product will, of course, depend on the type of product. For electrical & electronic equipment (EEE) products, a range of testing protocols have been developed by SGS to help manufacturers and suppliers monitor and rate their products. These include:
•    Power tools – drills, grinders, etc
•    Garden tools – lawnmowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers, etc
•    Household appliances – steam irons, coffee makers, hair dryers, etc
•    Audio/video products – TVs, hi-fi, portable audio devices, headphones, etc

The starting point for any testing protocol is the perspective of the user. It is therefore the ideal way to anticipate possible consumer feedback.

Performance certification can also be used by manufacturers and suppliers to help differentiate their product in the marketplace. Following testing, the certification can be displayed on packaging, thereby demonstrating to consumers that the declared characteristics have been thoroughly and independently tested and validated.

SGS offers a comprehensive range of ‘fitness-for-use’ testing services at its high-tech lab facilities. They can conduct both performance and endurance tests, which can be replicated exactly to allow accurate comparisons between models.

These tests can also be used to identify weaknesses, allowing timely rectification, in addition to mitigating against negative reviews. For example, user guides can be modified, or parts and components can be replaced, if the tests reveal a problem. SGS can also support manufacturers during the rectification work, helping them to understand the test results and provide suggestions for improvement.

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