Reviewing support conversations is an important ingredient to any quality program invested in support rep growth. You likely measure CSAT, CES, and/or NPS, but the only way to consistently help your support people to grow their skills is through specific feedback on real cases.
But who should be doing those reviews?
Should reviews be part of the team manager’s responsibilities?
Should you invest in a dedicated reviewer position?
Can you involve senior support reps in some kind of mentorship activity?
How do peer reviews fit into this logic?
The answer depends on the type of change or impact you are looking for.
Manager reviews: holistic advice for team members
62% of support teams who have a QA program conduct manager reviews.
The team manager or team lead (hopefully!) already has regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. If (or while) working in a remote environment, these meetings should be at least bi-weekly. This means the manager already knows the team member and can put reviews into a broader performance context.
As a result, the feedback and advice from a manager can include recommendations that cover areas outside the specific customer support tasks. Topics like productivity, time management, engagement with colleagues, and overall career development can all be enriched with insights from reviews of their support conversations.
Reviewing all team members regularly also means that the team lead gets a complete view of quality across the team. Some topics might be relevant for group feedback, instead of siphoned into one to ones. Team-wide or smaller group coaching sessions can be devised – onboarding programs will benefit from this knowledge also.
QA Manager reviews: process and product feedback
52% of support teams who have a QA program conduct QA specialist reviews.
QA managers are usually in charge of the entire support division, or specific functional areas. As such, they are not responsible for the support reps’ overall development outside of support quality. Their focus tends to be on process improvements and product feedback, and less on the professional development of individual people.
This also means that the conversation selection is especially important for QA Managers. Random reviews won’t do the trick!
QA managers need to be intentional about what to rate and review to make sure they can understand existing trends and areas for improvement. While their feedback on specific conversations will necessarily go back to the support reps, they will also create reports on categories, comment tags, or root causes to understand the health of the entire support organization.
Peer reviews: team building and knowledge exchange
35% of support teams who have a QA program conduct peer reviews.
Peer reviews are a complementary tool for top-town quality control. The focus here is not on discovering problem areas or creating training programs. Instead, peer reviews help to increase coherence within the team and reduce the barrier to knowledge exchange. Formal training can provide the basics for customer support, peer reviews help to create a joint understanding of how this works in practice.
Peers are more likely to share and recognize suitable explanations, creative workarounds, or superb conflict diffusion. At the same time, peer reviews increase appreciation across the team. They unite everyone with a common purpose. It is the one place where every support rep sees past conversations solved by someone else and realizes that everyone is struggling with similar things.
Senior mentorship: best practices and career development
Reviews don’t necessarily have to be done by someone in a specific role. Pairing new hires with experienced colleagues, or assigning junior reps a senior mentor, facilitates learning and encourages career growth within the company. The reviewee gets feedback from someone who is intimately familiar with the work. The reviewer receives recognition for their knowledge and can practice their leadership skills.
In some companies, this mentorship program is part of the career path toward becoming a team manager or a dedicated QA analyst.
So – who should be sitting in the reviewer chair?
The answer depends!
I know, not very specific, right?
Think about your quality program’s main focus: do you want to target…
If your focus is on the people in your team, the manager or a senior colleague should be involved.
If you want to dig into support-wide issues or would like to get insights into product feedback across the org, then a dedicated QA team is the better option.
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