Being a QA Engineer and dealing with difficult clients
Custom software development is about creating a product that responds to the client’s needs. But from concept to final deployment, there’s a process in which a QA Engineer is essential.
Especially when we’re talking about life sciences and e-pharma, where the data collected through the software must be accurate and compliant with the highest standards.
That’s one of the reasons a QA Engineer has an important responsibility in making sure the software product meets requirements. Nevertheless, working with big pharma companies and clients can be a pressure, both in executing and maintaining a good relationship with them.
Alexandru S. is one of our best QA Engineers. He’s been part of AROBS for eight years, and currently working in the Life Sciences division team. Thus, he has a lot of QA wisdom to share. Read his article below.
Keywords: testing, QA Engineering, customer service, teamwork, automation testing.
When I started working as a tester back in 2012, I wasn’t quite aware of the depth of my job and the impact it has on the quality of the product. There’s a big difference between a tester and a QA Engineer. As I grew into the role of a QA Engineer, it became clear that there were more complexities involved than just clicking buttons, including close collaboration between the client, development, testing, production, and support teams. An entire cycle that has to work.
Every software tester’s goal should be to deliver great results. For that to happen, we must think and use the product like an end-user while at the same time understanding the processes that take place in the background. Doing this is not an easy job but, what if you also have to deal with a difficult client?
Let’s first focus on three things we, as software testers, can do to deliver a great client experience.
A QA Engineer should understand the users
Curiosity is one of the tester’s greatest assets. Before starting to test, there are some basic questions any tester has to ask himself, like “Who is using the product?”, “Why do they use it?” or “When or where do they use it?”. These are fundamental questions to help us understand the context and to create a testing strategy.
The easiest way to get answers is to ask your client to use the product. It is a great way to understand your client and his requirements, giving you the opportunity to determine priorities, understand pain points, set up your tests and get better results.
As a QA Engineer, you have to be cooperative. Speak with your team members, understand their ambitions, goals, what they like or don’t like, professional and personal. The more you get to know your team members, the more trust you create. Once you know your team, you can communicate and collaborate better, even conflicts will be solved with ease. Working together as a team is better than going at it alone!
Don’t get trapped in a loop
There is no limit in creating test scripts or finding ways to break them. We can find an infinite number of ways to use the product and just as many bugs to uncover. When you feel stuck in a loop testing the same functionalities, try automation. And break out of the loop.
Remember, quality and speed are two indispensable ingredients for success in agile environments.
Working and interacting with people is often harder than anything. Other than that, business relationships tend to be more consuming than personal ones. Why? Because there is a lot at stake. Our professional image, the fact that we represent the company we work for, and we also have to care about our client and his needs. And it’s not always fun and games.
Sometimes we run into difficult clients and, regardless of how we do our work, there will always be good days and bad days.
How can we manage the “bad days”?
Just a reminder here! When your client is upset, don’t shout back. It will only make the problem worse and deteriorate the relationship. Stay calm and polite. If it seems like he does not understand what you are trying to explain, don’t panic. Try a different way like, rephrasing your sentences, sharing visual aids, or referring to the documentation.
When the client calls, a QA Engineer answers. If the client sends you an email or message, don’t let it go unread for hours. Even if you don’t know the answer yet, reply with a “Thanks, I’ll look into it.” and come back with the solution later. It shows that you acknowledge his concern and provide action.
Find the problem
After replying to the client, investigate the problem, find its origins. Collaborate with your team members to be more efficient in finding the root cause and a fix for it. When your client has customers that already use your product, a fix for them is more important than why the issue is there. The “why?” can be investigated later.
A QA Engineer keeps track of everything he does
These are the traits of a great software tester. If the client is not correct, you must be able to support your claims with evidence. Write new tickets, strong test cases, and bug reports. Base your arguments on tangible items. Work smart!
As in life, communication is also vital in business. Have daily or weekly check-ins to keep the client informed about the progress you’re making, the problems encountered, establish new priorities and deadlines, etc.
For the QA Engineer as well as the whole team, everything comes down to delivering on time, within budget, and keeping it professional. Our clients are also humans. Their state of mind is not always related to work. Like us, they have good days and bad days. Good communication and cooperation will bring the best results for both parties involved.