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Customer Service Quality Assurance (QA): The Complete Guide

Quality assurance13 MIN READSep 6, 2023

Customer Service Quality Assurance - The Complete Guide

Customer service quality assurance (sometimes called support QA or customer service quality control) has become a standard practice for ambitious businesses. Though simple in nature, it improves retention, drives customer loyalty, and increases revenue.

What is customer service quality assurance?

Customer service quality assurance (QA) is the practice of monitoring customer conversations to improve your team’s performance and overall support process.

How come? Conversation reviews are meant to assess how well your agents’ responses meet your quality standards. By monitoring and scoring all your customer interactions, you can identify and overcome your support weaknesses in the long run.

Why is quality assurance important in customer service?

Businesses across the globe understand that every decent company needs a support department to take care of their customers and help them with their issues.

However, we sometimes don’t see that degree of certainty when it comes to topics related to customer service quality. This is a critical mistake. 

The quality of your customer service has a huge impact on your business results. Excellent support can boost your revenue and customer retention, while bad customer service experiences can only drive churn.

Not convinced? Take a look at these numbers:

  • In addition to price and product, 83% of consumers find good customer service important when making purchases (as discovered by Khoros). It’s clear to see that customer service is one of the main reasons people decide to do business with you.
  • It is not uncommon for customers to churn and take their business elsewhere after a poor customer service experience. After a bad experience, more than half of the surveyed consumers would immediately switch to a competitor, while 73% would make the switch after more than one support incident (according to Zendesk).
  • At the same time, research from Zendesk shows that 70% of customers are willing to spend more when buying from businesses that offer quality service.

Bottom line: Customer service shouldn’t be seen as a cost center anymore. Support-driven growth is a thing, and it’s high time for your business to leverage that.

Crossing things off a quality assurance checklist.

The benefits of customer service QA

Systematic QA reviews are the only way customer-facing teams can learn to get the most out of all interactions with their users.

Depending on your goals, customer support quality assurance can offer multifaceted benefits, for example:

  • Review all the conversations you’ve had with churned customers to understand what went wrong and avoid making the same mistakes in the future;
  • Target the interactions where the customer was dissatisfied to understand, identify, and get better at solving customers’ issues;
  • Review complex tickets to streamline internal processes, find weaker links in your support team’s performance, and improve agent productivity;
  • Go through a randomized sample to spot any growth opportunities for your product or service.

Conversation reviews come in many forms. You can choose between manager reviews, QA specialist reviews, self-reviews, and peer reviews (like Geckoboard did). The latter has proven to be one of the most efficient ways of identifying personal growth opportunities, as fellow customer service reps are often the best people to notice these aspects thanks to their first-hand experience.

Customer service statistics that show the benefits of quality assurance: 

  • 76% of organizations agree that conversation reviews help improve customer satisfaction scores.
  • 74% of support teams agree that conversation reviews help onboard new agents.
  • 77% of teams agree that conversation reviews are useful for team members’ professional growth.
  • 48% of teams use reviews to track IQS
  • 44% of teams use QA results in 1:1 feedback meetings.
  • 42% of teams use quality assurance to measure the performance of BPOs.

Klaus can make a difference for customer service quality (he promises he will).

How do you measure quality assurance in customer service? 

These days, most companies track at least some customer service metrics. Customer service quality assurance can definitely help to improve key performance indicators like CSAT, First Contact Resolution, or Average Handle Time.

But these numbers alone won’t tell the full story. Being data-driven means understanding where those numbers are coming from — what your agents are doing right, and where there is room for improvement.

If you truly want to measure customer service quality, you need to combine the following:

  • External evaluations (collected in customer surveys like CSAT or NPS) that reflect your customers’ attitudes toward your product, support, and company in general.
  • Internal evaluations (i.e. conversation reviews measured with IQS) that rate customer interactions based on your internal quality criteria.

Internal Quality Score (IQS) tells you how well your team performs based on your own standards. Conducting customer service reviews is the only way to find out your IQS: Define what your quality standards are → Create rating categories → Review every conversation against these categories → Aggregate for your IQS.

IQS - Internal Quality Score Dashboard

It’s important to measure your support quality from both of these perspectives because:

  • Customers don’t know your quality standards. Often, they’ll use feedback surveys to express their attitudes towards other parts of the business, such as the product, instead of reviewing their support experience.
  • But analyzing your support interactions without taking into account how your customers feel might mislead you. Customer surveys help you stay on track toward your end goal: making customers happy.

External evaluations are important, but there’s no way of improving your customer service quality without setting and measuring the IQS with QA reviews. 

Here’s how to measure quality assurance in customer service step by step

1. Define your support vision and goals. In other words, define what “quality” means to your team. All companies have a unique concept of what matters most for their business and customers — some focus on delivering personalized customer assistance and upselling their products, while others might prefer to keep their interactions short and speedy.

2. Decide who will review conversations. In most cases, team leaders or managers are responsible for providing feedback to agents and, thus, also do customer service QA. However, more and more teams are switching to peer reviews or hiring quality assurance specialists to avoid overburdening the managers and to dedicate more time to conversation reviews.

3. Pick rating categories for your QA scorecards. Based on your support vision and goals (see point 1 ↑), write down guidelines for your support agents to follow in their customer interactions. Use these criteria for your support QA scorecard to see how well your team’s responses meet your QA standards.

4. Choose which conversations to review. Most teams review random samples of their customer interactions and/or take a look at all tickets rated by their users to see how their internal quality standards align with those of their customers. If you use quality assurance software, though, AI can do the heavy lifting and choose the most relevant conversations for you.

5. Communicate the new quality assurance process to your customer service team. Explain the reasons for doing conversation reviews — if your agents are on board with your customer service goals and what you’re aiming for, they’ll understand that internal reviews will help them achieve those objectives.

6. Plan calibration sessions. Support reps should receive the same quality of feedback regardless of who reviewed their customer interactions. QA calibration helps reviewers synchronize their assessments and eliminate bias from quality service ratings.

7. Measure & improve your QA process. What you do with the QA program results is as important as doing quality assurance in the first place. Track your support team’s performance over time, discuss the progress in support team meetings, and provide individual feedback in regular one-on-one sessions.

You can only improve what you measure. So, if you regularly analyze your agents’ interactions and give feedback to them, your support team will become better at what they do and your support quality will improve.

Want to take support quality to the next level? Standardize your QA program with the help of AI (or KlausGPT, to be more specific), and achieve 100% coverage by automatically scoring every support interaction across multiple categories and languages.

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What is an example of quality assurance in customer service? 

All companies have unique quality programs based on their internal standards and goals. Different teams have different scorecards, and prefer different types of reviews: some hire QA specialists, and others use manager, peer, or self-reviews. There is no right or wrong way. Instead, choose the format that suits you best.

If you’re not exactly sure how to set up your quality program, see how others have done it.

Examples of customer service quality assurance programs:

  • Pipedrive evolved its quality assurance program to increase CSAT & IQS;
  • Glovo maintains high-quality support across BPOs and borders;
  • Wistia conducts regular peer reviews in groups of three to include a third-party facilitator in all feedback sessions;
  • Geckoboard uses agent feedback to increase proactive help to drive product engagement and upsells;
  • Agorapulse involves the entire support team in the process of building their quality scorecard and standards.

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When to switch to quality assurance software?

All quality-oriented support teams will, sooner or later, find themselves in a position where they need to start assessing the quality of their support interactions by doing internal conversation reviews. Quality gets harder to manage as you scale. And there is no other way of knowing whether your agents deliver the same customer experiences across all support channels.

So, the question is not whether or not to do conversation reviews – it’s how to do them. Teams have to decide whether to review in spreadsheets or invest in a dedicated customer service quality assurance tool.

Spreadsheets are usually enough for small teams with low conversation volumes, as long as the maintenance of the document doesn’t take up the largest part of the time dedicated to internal feedback.

As the team and number of conversations grow, manual copy-pasting and reporting can become a bottleneck in your customer service QA. For large or growing teams, data management can eat away more than 70% of the review time, which is why they often opt for dedicated QA tools.

Spreadsheets might work for a small (<10 support agents) team, but the moment your team grows beyond that I would absolutely recommend switching to a dedicated tool. For one, you’ll not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to calculations and data visualization. It’ll also help with just keeping track of things and if the tool is AI-based, it will also reduce the workload for your CSQA Specialist.
Ines van Dijk
Ines van Dijk
Quality in Support

More and more customer service teams switch to quality assurance software that:

  • Automatically pulls in conversations from customer support tools (no more manual copy-pasting!);
  • Allows custom filtering to detect the interactions that need your attention right now;
  • Has smart filters to offer you the best review sample;
  • Notifies agents about the feedback they’ve received;
  • Prepares relevant reports and calculates the Internal Quality Score for you;
  • Uses AI-driven features to provide data insights and speed up the QA process. 

The bottom line is that you will get a lot more out of your customer service quality assurance efforts if you use a tool to help. From coaching teams to finding the right conversations to review, it is all a lot easier when you have a solution that works.

If you’re ready to ditch spreadsheets and want to get going with a proper quality assurance tool, check out Klaus.

Introducing Klaus AutoQA.

Why choose Klaus?

Klaus is a quality management solution that helps companies drive revenue through excellent customer service and:

  • Provides unmatched visibility into what shapes your support quality;
  • Uses AI to make sense of your support data and pinpoint where your customers are frustrated no matter what language they speak;
  • Makes it easy for customers to provide feedback with AI-generated personalized conversation summaries & suggestive snippets;
  • Automatically scores every agent and support interaction across multiple categories and languages to standardize your QA process and achieve 100% coverage;
  • Not only provides a user-friendly and intuitive platform developed by customer service enthusiasts but also offers a supportive community and access to expert insights.

With Klaus, you can identify gaps in your customer experience before they become a problem, and quickly fix whatever isn’t working. It’s the only true plug-and-play solution, offering a wide selection of integrations and instant access to AI-powered insights.

Customer service QA software comparison table.

To recap, here’s your customer service QA checklist

  1. Understand why customer service quality assurance is important for your business.
  2. Define your support vision and goals.
  3. Decide who will review conversations (with time, you might want to set up a dedicated quality assurance team).
  4. Pick rating categories for your QA scorecards.
  5. Choose which customer conversations to review (or rely on QA tools to do it for you). 
  6. Communicate the new quality assurance process to your customer service team.
  7. Plan calibration sessions to align QA scores.
  8. Combine internal and external evaluations. Using Klaus’ advanced and AI-driven dashboard capabilities, you can analyze written feedback and compare it to your internal quality standards for a balanced overview!
  9. Track and review data to continuously improve your QA process and the customer support team’s performance.
  10. Take advantage of AI to have all your conversations reviewed in less time, without missing hidden gems of information.

Even when your customers think you’re amazing, you can do better. We’ve seen industry leaders who constantly deliver CSAT of 95% find ways to continually push their quality higher than they thought possible. It’ll work wonders for you, too.

If you need any help with customer service quality assurance, you know where to find us.

Download The Future of Conversations [ebook]

Originally published in January 2022; last updated in September 2023.

Written by

Merit Valdsalu
Merit is the content writer at Klaus - though most of her texts have probably been ghostwritten by her rescue cat Oskar.

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