You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Quality assurance (QA) can be a hugely impactful process for every support team. But a successful quality assurance program doesn’t just depend on finding the right process for your team or defining the right support quality standards — it involves introducing it to your team in the right way.
What is quality assurance for support teams?
Quality assurance for support teams is the process of monitoring and evaluating interactions between support reps and customers to ensure they meet predefined standards and, ultimately, improve customer satisfaction and agent performance.
It’s like having a coach for your customer service team, observing their performance and providing feedback.
The QA process has some key cornerstones:
- Reviewing interactions systematically. Whether they’re calls, chats, emails, or even social media interactions, QA involves a trained individual listening to recordings or reading written communication to evaluate product knowledge, communication skills, adherence to protocols, and problem-solving effectiveness. Doing QA systematically involves being thoughtful about the cases that are getting reviewed and designing a custom scorecard to check your specific customer service quality standards. You can also use specialized AI to automatically review 100% of your customer interactions.
- Providing feedback to support reps about potential areas of improvement. These reviews are used to identify areas where agents excel or need support, which is great for individual feedback and can have a massive impact on identifying trends across your whole team.
- Tracking progress over time. Great QA programs typically involve a few key support metrics that you can monitor and improve over time, such as Internal Quality Score (IQS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). The best way to ensure that the quality assurance program is successful at having the impact you want it to have is to continuously keep track of these.
How to introduce QA to your support team?
Quality assurance is an integral part of providing support for many companies — for good reason.
It offers a ton of benefits:
- Improved customer satisfaction. By ensuring consistent, high-quality support, QA leads to happier customers who are more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
- Empowered agents. With clear feedback, targeted training, and customer service coaching, agents feel more confident and equipped to handle challenging situations effectively.
- Data-driven decision-making. QA data provides valuable insights to help you train agents, as well as inform training programs, product improvements, and staffing decisions.
- Increased efficiency. A well-functioning QA program can identify and address knowledge gaps or process bottlenecks, leading to faster resolutions.
- Ingrained feedback culture. QA processes bake feedback into your everyday interactions at work.
All of those sound great. But implementing them in the real world isn’t always so easy.
If you’ve never had a QA program before, introducing one can cause uncertainty and fear:
- Some of your team members might feel uncomfortable because their work will get scrutinized.
- They might feel like QA restricts their decision-making abilities and stifles their approach to handling situations.
- Or they might be worried that a heavy focus on QA could prioritize adherence to quality metrics and protocols over building genuine rapport and understanding customer needs.
Those are all very real concerns, and that’s why how you introduce customer service quality assurance has such a massive impact on how successful your QA program ultimately will be. You could design two programs in exactly the same way, review the same number of interactions the same way, and use the same QA scorecard — but change the internal communication slightly, and you might face a lot of resistance.
In short, the way you introduce QA can make all the difference in how purr-suasive and well-received it is by your customer service team.
These are our five major tips to introduce QA to your support team:
- Define goals for your QA program
- Get buy-in in advance
- Agree on a scorecard together
- Create training and growth opportunities
- Regularly ask for feedback
Define goals for your QA program
Goals are always the best way to set direction.
Not only are they important when you’re designing your QA program from scratch, but they also make a huge difference in communicating it to your customer service team – especially when you relate those customer service goals to business outcomes.
For example, say you want to raise your Customer Satisfaction Scores to above 90%. QA can play an extensive role in that by helping you tackle CSAT from multiple angles:
- By improving the quality of the responses you send to customers.
- By identifying gaps in your support processes that lead to decreased satisfaction.
- By pinpointing issues in your product that the customer service team typically tries to compensate for by offering workarounds.
The broader context of what you want to achieve with QA will help your team orientate themselves towards that customer service goal.
A smart cat always knows where it’s headed, even if it’s usually just to the sunniest spot in the room.
Get buy-in in advance
Change is hard.
About 70% of change initiatives fail and only 43% of employees say their organizations are good at managing change.
Implementing QA doesn’t have to be a major change — it depends on your program and how extensively you want to invest in it. But more often than not, it will feel like a significant change for your team.
A QA program helps you identify and standardize the aspects of your support experience that are already working well. That can be a very motivating message for your team, if they’re involved, know what to expect, and believe they can contribute to your customer service goals.
Getting their buy-in often means involving them at every step of the process.
The moment you start thinking it might be the right time to introduce a QA program, you can already (informally) discuss it with your team and see what they think. Get a few of your most senior team members on board. Run workshops about the different ways you could set up a QA program and see what preferences there are across the team.
Christian Osmundsen, Global Head of Customer Experience at Deliverect, summarizes it as follows:
These are all ways to make the change easier and more likely to succeed.
Agree on a quality assurance scorecard together
One of the foundational parts of any QA program is the scorecard that you’ll be using to review conversations.
Every individual on your team will have a strong opinion about what they consider essential to a great response. Create a space for them to have that discussion. Make drafting a QA scorecard a collaborative experience when they get together, discussing difficult cases and exchanging ideas on how example responses could’ve been better.
Wistia is a good example of how to do this right. The quality criteria were drafted by their support lead, and had one round of feedback and edits before they were presented to the broader team — who also had a chance to provide feedback.
Especially if you’re going for a peer review system, where agents review each other’s cases, investing time in getting everyone on the same page for the scorecard is paramount.
Create training and growth opportunities
When done well, a QA program can create value for your team on all fronts:
- For the business, by improving customer satisfaction, and retention, or capitalizing on opportunities to engage your customers better.
- For your customer service team, by establishing a culture of feedback exchange and open communication and giving you data to create better internal processes.
- And for every individual, by identifying areas of improvement.
Here’s an example of what that looks like in practice.
Agorapulse’s support team used QA to focus on becoming proactive in driving product engagement and upsells. That can be a pretty demanding change since they’re typically geared towards being more reactive.
When this is new, agents typically have to change their mindset when they approach customer interactions. Rather than focusing on solving the customer’s problem, they need to solve it while looking for ways to provide additional value. They need a support-driven growth mindset.
That’s a great skill for any support agent to develop. It will make people more successful not only in their current roles but also throughout their careers.
These are the types of opportunities that should feature heavily in your introduction to the program as well. Your team should always know that’s what you’re working towards. If you already have examples from your work creating the rest of that quality assurance process, that’s even better — you can already start tackling those areas.
Regularly ask for feedback
Feedback is a two-way street, both when you’re introducing your quality assurance process and on an ongoing basis.
Direct, actionable, and constructive feedback to your team will positively impact their engagement and sense of confidence at work. Asking for and acting on their feedback will make them feel heard and appreciated while ensuring that you improve the QA program over time too.
That might look like:
- Running regular calibration sessions to make sure the scorecard still works.
- Sending out a survey to get their first insights about how valuable and useful the feedback they received from their first reviews was.
- Asking them to rate different parts of the QA review process to see what’s working well and what isn’t.
Provide exceptional customer support with QA
First impressions are the most lasting. Take the time to introduce QA in the best possible way for your team and you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come.
At Klaus, we’ve made creating quality support experiences the core of everything we do. We’ve created a course that can guide you through setting up a QA program if you want to know where to start. We can also help you automate QA and achieve 100% coverage across all tickets — ensuring that you get maximum value out of each interaction.