Is Your Quality Assurance Program Built For 2021?

Customer service quality assurance was born in a world where companies looked at customer service as a necessary evil.

Though many companies still operate this way, I know from personal conversations with many of you that this is not why we are passionate about customer service.

We view each interaction with a customer as an opportunity to delight, build trust, and foster a loyal relationship. Customers are at the center of our businesses. Each conversation is a representation of our brand, and an opportunity to create a customer advocate.

We don’t just measure our teams’ successes by improving the number of contacts handled per hour, increasing the number of contacts avoided, and reducing our average handle time.

Instead, we measure our success based on our customers’ experience.

However, so many of our QA scorecards don’t reflect our vision for service and instead reflect the values of traditional customer service.

The main objective of traditional customer service quality assurance programs was to monitor agent compliance with critical, internal protocols and reduce the number of compliance errors over time.

Compliance errors could include improperly taking Credit Card information over the phone, incorrectly sharing internal company information, or breaking certain other security processes.

The other objective of traditional QA programs was ensuring process adherence.

Agents are often assigned a script and quality assurance is put in place to ensure people follow the script. The objective is to create consistency across agent conversations towards an optimal Average Handle Time (AHT), which improves resource forecasting and planning.

This traditional scorecard feels like a checklist. It’s 10+ questions. The questions are too specific and create a ‘script’ feel – did the agent use the proper greeting? Did the agent use the proper closing? Did the agent say Thank you?

There are specific compliance and mission-critical questions that need to be asked explicitly, but these are an exception. I’m referring to the questions about the actual interaction with the customer.

Getting a 100% on this type of scorecard is not correlated to a great customer experience. It’s better suited for monitoring process and compliance adherence.

Modern-day customer service quality assurance is focused on monitoring the key customer-impacting outcomes. Quality can be defined by the customer.

  • Did the customer ask to clarify what we were saying?
  • Did the customer have to repeat their question?
  • Did the customer say something unique about themselves, and did we acknowledge it?
  • Did we anticipate potential follow up questions based on the customer’s profile?

It is still important to track key internal process and compliance adherence, but these questions are internal, business-impacting and not necessarily customer-impacting.

Modern-day customer service quality assurance also takes a holistic view on the customer experience. It not only tracks things within the agent’s control but also tracks insights outside of the agents control.

  • Should we turn this answer into a Knowledge Base article?
  • Did internal processes prevent us from solving the customer’s request?
  • Did our company policy/processes upset the customer?
  • Did the customer provide competitive or market intelligence?

Tracking answers to these questions immediately makes quality assurance more strategic as we collect insight not only about the agent but also pains and kinks in the overall customer experience.

In traditional quality assurance, we measured a QA program’s success by setting QA benchmarks as goals, and monitoring progress against those goals. QA data was isolated from the rest of our call center metrics.

Modern technology makes it much easier to combine QA scores with the rest of our key metrics. We not only measure improvements in QA scores but also identify the impact of QA score improvements on Resolution Time, CSAT, CES, or NPS.

If done properly, a QA program is a powerful solution to analyze and improve our overall customer experience as we continue to put customers at the center of our businesses.

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