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How to Introduce Quality Assurance To Your Support Team

Quality assurance9 MIN READFeb 12, 2024

How to Introduce Quality Assurance To Your Support Team - blog cover photo.

You have just one opportunity to make the first impression.

Quality assurance (QA) holds immense potential for any support team. However, a successful QA initiative isn’t solely about discovering the ideal process or establishing precise support quality benchmarks; it’s equally vital to introduce it to your team effectively.

What does quality assurance mean for support teams?

Quality assurance for customer service involves overseeing and assessing interactions between support representatives and customers to guarantee they align with predetermined standards. The ultimate goal is to enhance customer satisfaction and agent performance.

It’s akin to having a coach for your customer service team, overseeing their performance and offering feedback.

The QA process rests on several key pillars:

  1. Systematic review of interactions: Whether it’s calls, chats, emails, or social media interactions, QA entails a trained individual listening to recordings or reading written communication to assess product knowledge, communication skills, adherence to protocols, and problem-solving effectiveness. Systematic QA involves thoughtfully selecting cases for review and designing a custom scorecard to evaluate specific customer service quality standards. Alternatively, specialized AI can automatically review 100% of customer interactions.
  2. Providing feedback to support reps: These reviews identify areas of excellence or areas needing improvement for agents, facilitating individual feedback and identifying trends across the entire team.
  3. Tracking progress over time: Effective QA programs typically focus on key support metrics that can be monitored and enhanced over time, such as Internal Quality Score (IQS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). Continuous monitoring of these metrics ensures that the QA program achieves the desired impact.

An illustration of Klaus tracking progress.

How to introduce QA to your support team?

Quality assurance plays a vital role in supporting many companies, and for good reasons.

It yields numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced customer satisfaction: By ensuring consistent, high-quality support, QA contributes to happier customers who are more inclined to remain loyal to your brand.
  • Empowered agents: Clear feedback, targeted training, and customer service coaching empower agents, fostering confidence and equipping them to handle challenging situations effectively.
  • Data-driven decision-making: QA data offers valuable insights that aid in agent training, inform training programs, guide product enhancements, and support staffing decisions.
  • Increased efficiency: A well-executed QA program identifies and addresses knowledge gaps or process bottlenecks, resulting in expedited resolutions.
  • Cultivation of feedback culture: QA processes integrate feedback into everyday work interactions, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Klaus following up on feedback.

All those benefits sound appealing, but implementing them in real-world scenarios isn’t always straightforward.

Introducing a QA program for the first time can evoke uncertainty and apprehension:

Some team members may feel uneasy about their work being scrutinized. They might perceive QA as limiting their decision-making autonomy and stifling their approach to handling situations. Others may worry that a heavy emphasis on QA could prioritize adherence to quality metrics and protocols over fostering genuine rapport and understanding customer needs.

These concerns are valid, underscoring the significance of how you introduce customer service quality assurance. The manner in which QA is introduced profoundly influences the ultimate success of your QA program. Even with identical program designs, review processes, and QA scorecards, subtle variations in internal communication can yield significantly different responses.

In essence, the introduction of QA can significantly impact its persuasiveness and acceptance among your customer service team.

Here are five key tips for introducing QA to your support team:

  • Define clear goals for your QA program
  • Secure buy-in from team members in advance
  • Collaboratively establish a QA scorecard
  • Provide training and opportunities for growth
  • Regularly solicit feedback from team members

Define clear goals for your QA program

Goals serve as the guiding beacon in any endeavor.

Not only are they crucial during the inception of your QA program, but they also play a pivotal role in effectively communicating it to your customer service team — especially when you align these goals with business objectives.

For instance, suppose your aim is to elevate Customer Satisfaction Scores to above 90%. QA can significantly contribute to this objective by addressing CSAT from various perspectives:

Enhancing the quality of customer responses. Identifying deficiencies in support processes that contribute to diminished satisfaction. Highlighting product issues that the customer service team often tries to mitigate through workarounds.

Establishing the broader context of your QA goals assists your team in aligning their efforts with the overarching customer service objective.

A savvy cat always knows its destination, even if it’s typically just the sunniest spot in the room.

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Secure buy-in from team members in advance

Statistics show that approximately 70% of change initiatives fail, and merely 43% of employees believe their organizations handle change effectively.

While implementing a QA program doesn’t necessarily have to be a monumental change, it often feels significant to your team, depending on the program’s scope and investment level.

A QA program serves to identify and standardize the elements of your support experience that already excel. This can be a highly motivating message for your team, provided they are involved, aware of what to anticipate, and confident in their ability to contribute to your customer service objectives.

Securing their buy-in typically entails involving them at every stage of the process.

Even when contemplating the introduction of a QA program, initiating informal discussions with your team and gauging their perspectives can be valuable. Engaging a few senior team members early on, running workshops to explore various QA program setups, and assessing preferences across the team can lay a solid foundation for implementation.

Christian Osmundsen, Global Head of Customer Experience at Deliverect, summarizes it as follows:

Healthy communication is key. I tell agents that Zendesk QA (formerly Klaus) is an amazing QA software to help us improve the customer experience, it’s a structured and calibrated way to look at quality. We bring our agents along on the journey and update them on any changes with the software. We bring them on board so they feel they are part of how we’re building quality in the company. Reviews should be constructive and build up people’s confidence.

These are all ways to make the change easier and more likely to succeed. 

Deliverect's support team with Klaus

Collaboratively establish a QA scorecard

One fundamental aspect of any QA program is the scorecard utilized for reviewing conversations.

Each team member holds strong opinions regarding what constitutes an exemplary response. It’s essential to create a platform for them to express these viewpoints. Encourage collaborative participation in crafting the QA scorecard by facilitating discussions where team members can come together, analyze challenging cases, and share insights on how sample responses could be improved.

Wistia offers a commendable example of effective scorecard development. Their support lead initially drafted the quality criteria, which underwent one round of feedback and edits before being presented to the broader team for further input.

This collaborative approach is especially crucial if you’re implementing a peer review system, where agents assess each other’s cases. Investing time in aligning everyone with the scorecard ensures consistency and clarity across the team.

Provide training and opportunities for growth

When executed effectively, a QA program can deliver value to your team across various dimensions:

  • For the business, it enhances customer satisfaction and retention while seizing opportunities to enhance customer engagement.
  • For your customer service team, it fosters a culture of feedback exchange and transparent communication, providing insights to refine internal processes.
  • For each individual, it pinpoints areas for improvement and personal growth.

Consider this practical example:

Agorapulse’s support team leveraged QA to transition towards a proactive approach in driving product engagement and upsells—a significant shift from their reactive stance.

Adapting to this change necessitates a shift in mindset among agents. Instead of solely addressing customer issues, they must now address them while seeking opportunities to add further value—a support-driven growth mindset.

This skill development is invaluable for support agents, enhancing their success not only in their current roles but also in their future careers.

These transformative opportunities should be emphasized during the program’s introduction. Your team should consistently understand the overarching objectives. If you possess examples from your ongoing QA process, you can proactively address these areas, laying the groundwork for continuous improvement.

Customer service leaders nurturing excellent teams

Regularly solicit feedback from team members

Feedback is a reciprocal process, both during the inception of your quality assurance initiative and as it progresses.

Providing direct, actionable, and constructive feedback to your team can significantly enhance their engagement and confidence in their roles. Soliciting and implementing their feedback demonstrates that their voices are heard and valued, while also facilitating continuous improvement of the QA program.

This may entail:

  • Conducting regular calibration sessions to ensure the effectiveness of the scorecard.
  • Administering surveys to gauge initial perceptions of the value and utility of the feedback received from their initial reviews.
  • Inviting them to evaluate various aspects of the QA review process to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

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.

An illustration of Klaus giving feedback and reviewing performance.

Written by

Nouran Smogluk - headshot.
Nouran Smogluk
Despite spending hours resisting her dog’s manipulative eyes and stopping him from chasing chickens, Nouran occasionally finds time to write for Supported Content and blog about remote work and leadership.

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