Whether you’re building a customer support team from scratch or scaling up your current team, it’s important to make sure team members know how to deliver top-notch support. Regular evaluations of customer support interactions and customer feedback are key ways to improve quality standards.
When it comes to providing great customer service, quality assurance is a key consideration. Creating a customer service quality assurance process helps you identify recurring issues in customer interactions and provides your associates with the tools they need to improve their quality of service.
Let’s take a look at how quality assurance in customer service works and how you can improve your team’s performance by implementing a QA program. We’ll also look at why you might choose to outsource QA services to a trusted third-party.
Quality assurance is the collection of processes a company uses to make sure they deliver products or services that consistently meet their standards. In manufacturing, that might mean testing products as they come off the assembly line. In software development, it means double-checking a computer program for bugs. And in customer service, it involves reviewing customer interactions, such as phone calls, email tickets, or chat logs, to ensure customer satisfaction.
Of course, QA managers can’t review every single call or conversation with their customer service associates. Many customer service QA programs use automation, review management tools or even artificial intelligence to identify which team members need the most support. Even without AI, human review of a statistically significant random sample of tickets is effective.
QA managers can use a combination of call monitoring, conversation review, QA scorecards, employee management systems, and other tools to implement more effective training programs and improve agent performance.
Quality assurance is all about addressing your customer’s issues effectively – but the benefits go beyond faster response times and improved customer satisfaction.
A quality assurance program makes it easier for you to support your team members so they feel confident in their product knowledge and can thoughtfully and thoroughly address customer needs. Plus, you can use your quality management process to streamline workflows, reduce handling times, and improve KPIs across the board.
The main benefits of customer service quality assurance include:
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) can provide some insight into how your customer service team is performing. But QA specialists can address issues on an individual level by reviewing difficult customer interactions and even coaching team members in real-time.
Modern customer support QA tools like Aprikot.io replace Excel spreadsheets with QA scorecards that make it easy to see how your team is improving and in what areas they need help. That, in turn, provides actionable data for improving KPIs and other metrics. You can install the Aprikot.io browser extension to use it alongside other tools.
By using standardized benchmarks like QA scores and QA checklists, you can offer a more consistent customer experience – which is key for when your team grows. Even if you have a combination of in-house and offshore customer support associates, you’ll be able to guide them through the same onboarding and training programs.
This way, customers know what to expect when they reach out to your contact center, whether it’s in the same country or on the other side of the world.
Even without considering quality assurance, customer service can be a stressful job that involves dealing with angry customers and handling complex issues. An effective quality assurance program can improve your team’s morale by celebrating positive customer interactions instead of only focusing on negative ones.
Plus, peer QA programs keep your team engaged with one another by introducing group accountability. Higher engagement leads to happier teams and less employee turnover.
Ultimately, customer support quality assurance is about keeping your customers happy. By reducing response times, solving customers’ issues, and providing a high quality of service, you’ll increase customer loyalty and customer retention for your brand.
It’s never too soon to come up with a customer service quality assurance strategy for your company. Here are five tips to help you get started:
Customer service standards vary widely from one company to another, so it’s important to reflect on which areas of customer service you want to improve. Ask your customers for feedback after each customer support interaction to see how your team can offer better help. For instance, customer feedback may cause you to realize your team needs to work towards a faster response time or resolution time, which might cause you to look for ways to help the team become more efficient.
A quality assurance program should start early. During the onboarding process, consider reviewing written responses by new agents before they hit send. That way, they can gain experience on actual cases, but with a bit of extra guidance.
Other steps in a training program may include product knowledge tests and language proficiency requirements.
Scorecards and rubrics are key for assessing team member performance, so you can quickly identify where they can use more training and guidance. Scorecards are valuable because they standardize QA review – everyone is judging conversation quality against the same criteria. This makes them a vital tool for quality assurance, customer service, and more.
When using QA scorecards, team members rate a customer interaction against a pre-set rubric. To ensure aligned scoring, make sure your questions are brief and the rubric is easy to understand. Most importantly, your rubric should relate to your team’s internal goals. So, let’s say a general goal is empathizing with a customer’s issue. The rubric can ask evaluators to score how well the agent restates the customer’s situation and how well they show they understand the customer’s frustration.
In most cases, responses should be graded with yes or no answers, but some questions may be graded on a scale. We recommend using binary rubrics as much as possible, because they make it much easier to keep evaluators aligned to one another. Questions might include:
Scorecards can be used to grade how well an agent followed protocols and conveyed the company’s brand and values.
If you took the time to review every customer interaction, your quality assurance team would soon outnumber your customer service associates.
Random call monitoring or ticket sampling is usually the most objective option, but you can have a targeted strategy for which conversations you'll review. You might choose to focus on calls or emails completed by new associates or conversations that receive a poor customer satisfaction score.
Also, not every conversation has to be reviewed by a QA specialist. Often, QA programs are peer-driven, in which all team members provide feedback to each other. That said, while quality should be everyone’s job, especially in high volume environments, having some team members who are chiefly responsible for QA is a good idea.
If you don’t have a quality assurance specialist on staff and you don’t want to hire one, you can outsource the process to a third party. This can provide an outside perspective on how your customer support team is performing and how you can improve customer satisfaction.
For example, PartnerHero’s quality assurance services can help you build a custom rubric and roadmap using roadmap templates so you can evaluate your team’s performance and stay on track. We can also build a dedicated QA team for your company and fully manage your quality assurance program.
Whether you’re concerned about customer retention or quality assurance, customer service depends on quality, efficiency, and consistency. By implementing a customer service QA strategy, you can improve your team’s performance and boost customer satisfaction scores. But an effective quality assurance program requires a detailed plan, including training, QA scorecards, regular conversation review, and trend analysis to drive continuous improvement.
For many companies, it makes sense to outsource the work to a team of QA specialists so their in-house team can focus on what they do best.
At PartnerHero, we offer everything from customer service quality assurance consulting to software QA services, with the option of embedded analysts or dedicated QA teams.
Our associates are based in the US, Honduras, South Africa, the Philippines, and beyond to provide round-the-clock coverage and global expertise.