Customer service quality assurance (QA) has shifted from a nice-to-have function to a crucial department within most modern service teams. But for many, the hardest part of QA is the first step- setting up your quality assurance checklist.
If you are setting up your customer service team’s QA program, you’re probably asking yourself a number of questions. How do I define quality for my team? How do we measure it?
Unfortunately, there is no single correct answer to these questions. However, setting up your quality assurance criteria is made much easier by creating a quality assurance checklist.
What is a quality assurance checklist in customer service?
A QA checklist is an essential tool for ensuring consistent delivery of high-quality customer service across all touchpoints of your business. It can be used by every member of your team at every stage of the customer experience — from first contact through resolution — to guarantee that every interaction meets or exceeds your standards for exceptional customer service.
The purpose of this document is to identify the quality of interactions between your business and its customers. The checklist should be developed with consideration for the type of lines of business, products and services offered, and customers being served.
Why do you need a quality assurance checklist in customer service?
Above all, a quality assurance checklist can help you identify problem areas in your company’s customer service process. It will help you make sure that the team follows best practices and provides the highest level of support to your customers.
This checklist is used to standardize the process of reviewing and grading interactions between customers and customer support staff, e.g. phone calls, chat sessions or emails. It will guide you through each step of the process, from defining and measuring customer satisfaction to designing a quality assurance program that will help you manage expectations and improve the way your team interacts with your customers.
If a customer is not satisfied with the service they received, they will most likely not do business with your company again or recommend the company to others. You can use the information gained from these checklists to develop processes that will improve future customer interactions.
Quality assurance checklists also help you look at the bigger picture of your customer service. They can help you identify patterns in customer feedback, determine what training new agents need, and find areas where you can optimize processes across the board.
To make things clear we have broken down the checklist into the 3 key categories:
We have also provided a simple guide on how to measure the effectiveness of your QA program with points and quality metrics.
Quality Assurance checklist categories
The solution is the most simple and important quality category. The criteria should measure how effectively your agent solves customer issues.
Checklist items for agent’s solution
- Solved customer’s issue
- Gave alternatives when required/applicable
- Displayed expert product knowledge
- Answered all question effectively
- Provided a timeline for the resolution
- Educated user to drive self-service
- Updates/solutions promised
- Upheld promise made to the user
A positive attitude is a key part of providing high-quality service. An agent’s ability to show empathy and use the right tone of voice can often be the difference between a customer giving a good or bad review.
To avoid any issues you can score an agent’s empathy and tone. This will help find areas they can improve on more accurately.
Checklist items for agent’s empathy/tone
- Welcome greeting used
- Response carried the tone of [company] culture
- Held a positive tone of voice throughout the conversation
- Took the lead in the conversation
- Building authentic rapport
- Empathised and apologised appropriately
- Instilled confidence and trust in the customer
- Appropriate use of emojis/gifs
- Thanked the customer at the end of the conversation
- Offered additional support
Efficiency is often not associated with quality assurance. However, efficiency doesn’t only refer to the speed of your response. It involves effectively balancing time and resources to provide a solution to the customer and avoid a repeat contact.
Checklist items for agent’s efficiency
- Resolved issue in a timely manner
- Appropriate use of macros
- Solution was concise and to the point
- Updated notes on case accurately
- Categorised case properly
- Addressed additional questions to avoid follow-up conversation
Measuring the effectiveness of your quality assurance checklist
It’s pointless revamping your customer service team’s QA checklist if you have no way to measure its success.
Some would argue that quality is not quantitative. However, when it comes to customer service performance, numbers are essential.
To accurately measure your new QA program you will need to focus on 2 key areas:
- Internal scoring: Measuring an agent’s performance per conversation by assigning each quality criterion a value.
- Quality metrics: Tracking quality metrics to measure the effect your QA is having on your team’s performance and the customer’s experience.
How to measure quality assurance with internal scoring
An easy way to measure quality is by setting up a scoring system. Giving each criterion a score and weight will make understanding of your agents’ performance more precise. This also makes it easier to pinpoint learning opportunities and areas that require extra coaching.
💡 For example: Spelling/Grammar can be allocated 10 points out of the 50 points that make up your Empathy/Tone category.
How to measure your quality assurance impact with metrics
Now you have your internal scoring system. Next, you will want to measure the impact of your QA program using a performance metrics scorecard. This will give you an overview of how QA is affecting your team’s performance and your customer satisfaction.
To get the full picture of your checklist’s success, focus on measuring the following metrics:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Gives a value (usually as a percentage) to show how satisfied your customer was with your solution.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): Provides an answer (between 0-10) to the question: ‘How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?’
- Negative Response Rate (NRR): Measures the number of negative customer reviews an agent/team receives vs positive reviews. This is shown as a percentage.
- First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR): This evaluates the efficiency of an agent’s solution. Measuring the percentage of customers’ requests that are resolved during their first contact.
- Repeat Contact Rate (RCR): Measures how effectively an agent handled a customer’s request. It is the percentage of solved tickets that have been reopened by a customer due to an unsolved issue.
Making it your own
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of delivering a great product or service. You can have the most innovative product in the world but if your customer service is bad, nobody will stick around for long.
But what separates a positive customer service experience from a negative one? It all boils down to how well your team understands the needs and expectations of your customers, and how effectively they are able to meet them. Having a QA checklist in place will help you measure your agents’ performance. You’ll be able to identify weak spots and improve them.
Every customer service team is different. As a result, each team will have a different standard of high-quality service. So remember, this QA checklist template is not a guide you have to follow exactly. It is a good starting point to develop your own personal quality program.