How to (actually) do customer support QA in 2020

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If you speak to any customer support professional these days, most, if not all will say that quality assurance (QA) is one of the most important activities within their team.

This year has seen an unprecedented spike in digital experiences creating an increasingly competitive consumer market. As a result, providing high-quality customer support is now more important than ever to give companies a competitive advantage.

Why is quality assurance so important? Here are some stats:

  • 73% of customers say that friendly customer service reps are the number one factor contributing to customer loyalty
  • 86% of customers are willing to pay more for quality service
  • 89% of customers have switched to a competitor after a poor customer experience

With the benefits of quality assurance being proven by customer support teams around the world, why is it the first activity to get dropped in peak periods?


Why is QA always the first to go?

There are 3 main reasons that customer support teams in 2020 are pushing QA to the wayside or simply not doing it as well as they could:

  • They aren’t using the correct tools
  • Their QA tool is not integrated into their performance assessment process
  • Their QA process isn’t scalable

This article will provide a 3-step guide to ensuring you actually do your QA, do it effectively and consistently, and can scale it as your team continues to grow.

 

Step #1 – Ditch your spreadsheets

QA spreadsheets

The first step in establishing an effective quality assurance process is equipping yourself and your team with the right tools to do so.

Spreadsheets and Google forms may be cost-effective for smaller teams to do QA. However, they actually have a number of huge downfalls that can hinder the effectiveness of the process. Spreadsheets make quality assurance: 

  • Operationally inefficient and time-consuming
  • Hinder development with lagging data

For any team looking to improve their service quality with minimal effort as their team scales, shifting towards a CRM-integrated QA tool is a no brainer.
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Operational efficiency

Perhaps the largest problem when it comes to using spreadsheets for quality assurance is that they are extremely time and resource inefficient.

The average QA lead spends hours manually extracting, analyzing, and reporting on customer conversations on a daily basis.
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“I used to spend 3-4 hours per day on creating a QA spreadsheet for each agent each week…not to mention organizing weekly quality reports”

Rohit Salian, Team Lead & QA Expert at Truecaller

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With QA software all of these laborious tasks are done for you. This gives you more time to focus on what’s important.

Adopting an integrated QA software can boost your operational efficiency by:

  • Saving you hours per day on data entry and searching for interactions to review
  • Negating the need for report building with real-time quality scores readily available in one transparent place
  • Never having to leave your CRM to review conversations
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“With my current QA tool [Kaizo], what used to take me 3 hours in reporting takes me 30 minutes”

Rohit Salian, Team Lead & QA Expert at Truecaller
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This way QA leads can spend their time on improving internal processes, developing new strategies, and coaching agents to provide better quality conversations with customers.

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Real-time vs deferred data

A common downfall heard from QA leads using spreadsheets is that they are lagging.

Manual quality assurance processes built on spreadsheets are extremely time-consuming. This often means that by the time it comes round to reporting/coaching on these numbers, processes may have changed or a quality issue may have been repeated by agents.
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“With spreadsheets, we had bi-weekly QA cycles. 1 week to build reports on the previous 2 weeks data, the next for feedback. This lengthy process meant we were always one step behind and often reviewing processes that had already changed”

Filip Telinoiu– QA Lead at Tripaneer

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With integrated software, your data is in real-time and all in one place. This gives you one organized, holistic view of your QA process.

It also makes it easy to pinpoint problem areas in your conversations or processes and adjust or coach on them immediately rather than waiting until a larger issue occurs.
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“Now [with Kaizo] our QA cycle is twice as efficient and has cut down to one week meaning no more data-entry!”

Filip Tiuliuoa– QA Lead at Tripaneer

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Step #2- Integrate, integrate, integrate

Integrated QA

Now that you’ve ditched your spreadsheets for a QA tool you’re probably thinking, ‘How do I know which one to choose for my team?”

The answer is simple. One that is completely integrated with your CRM.

Whilst there are a lot of QA tools available, a lot of them are stand-alone. This means that they are separate from your CRM and are not directly linked with your incoming tickets. 

For any team looking to make quality assurance a vital part of their performance assessment process, shifting towards a CRM-integrated QA tool is the first step.
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Everything in one place

One of the biggest benefits of having an integrated quality assurance tool is that your entire QA process occurs in one place.

This means no more shifting between different browser tabs or copy and pasting data. All of your tickets, review conversations, and quality scores are available and updated in real-time within your CRM.

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“Having Kaizo integrated with Zendesk has eliminated the need for cross-referencing. It saves me hours and leaves absolutely no chance for error when reporting”

Sophia Spagnuolo – Quality Assurance Lead at Fetch Package

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With QA integration nothing leaves your insular CRM, meaning that there is no time wasted switching between tools and no chance of human error.
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Giving numbers meaning

The primary aim when it comes to QA is to systematically improve the quality of your agent’s conversations with customers.

When it comes to spreadsheets or standalone tools, QA leads often only have quality scores to work with for coaching purposes.

But what do these numbers mean? Why did Agent A receive a 7 for quality last week and only a 6 this week?

With integrated QA you are able to drill into these scores to review exactly which interactions contributed to this score.
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“With Kaizo 1:1’s are much more efficient. Rather than telling an agent what quality score they got this week, I can simply click the score on their Scorecard and instantly see which reviews lead to them achieving this number”

Sophia Spagnuolo – Quality Assurance Lead at Fetch Package
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This gives quality coaching sessions more meaning and efficiency. Without examples to show agents where they went wrong/right it’s just a bunch of numbers.

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Step #3- Make it scalable

So you’ve ditched you’re spreadsheets and you’ve integrated your QA tool with your CRM. But how do you make sure that your team continues to do QA even when you start to grow or times get tough?

The answer. Get your whole team involved and take a bottom-up approach to QA.

Typically, QA is a top-down activity, run solely by the management team. Often they’re the only ones who can review and agents don’t see their quality scores until their report or 1:1 at the end of the week.

They have no say in what is fair or unfair. Often agents are merely are presented with a score and an example of where they went wrong.

This lack of transparency can be very demotivating for agents. This can lead them to feel no sense of ownership over the quality of their responses. This can also lead to a lack of performance or dropping the QA process altogether.

With integrated software, you can easily involve the entire team in the QA process to make it more fair, developmental, and transparent.

For example, Kaizo takes a bottom-up approach to quality assurance by: 

  • Allowing agents to access their QA scores in realtime on their scorecard and be able to drill into that score at any time for self-coaching
  • Allowing agents to comment on their QA reviews to open up a fair and constructive discussion between themselves and the performance reviewer.
  • Rotate agents’ knowledge with peer-to-peer QA

Not only does this motivate agents to improve their quality performance, but it gets them involved and creates a more cyclical process of knowledge sharing rather than top-down which is infinitely more motivating, fair, and progressive.

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QA with kaizo