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How Geckoboard Elevates Customer Support with Peer Reviews

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Geckoboard is on a mission to help founders and team leads boost the visibility of key metrics throughout their company with their easy-to-use TV dashboard software. They believe that by surfacing live metrics and making them easy to understand, individuals and teams alike can perform better, and they follow this principle in their organization too.

Improving information sharing was one of the main reasons Geckoboard created a conversation review program for their customer service team.

“We continue to offer excellent support with a great CSAT score and impressive response times. But on top of this, we’re now sharing more information internally and providing ten times as much proactive advice between support agents than we did before,” explains Luis Hernandez, the VP of Customer Success at Geckoboard.

Here’s a recap of Luis’s article Introducing peer reviews to Geckoboard’s CS team, where he explains the hows and whys of bringing peer feedback to their already high-performing support team.

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Choosing Peer Reviews

Conversation reviews – i.e., systematic quality evaluations of support interactions, – come in many forms. Reviews can be carried out by different people (manager, QA specialist, self- or peer reviews/) depending on the best fit for your team. Geckoboard opted for the latter: peer reviews.

Here are the main reasons for choosing peer reviews, as told by Luis, Geckoboard’s VP of Customer Success:

  • Avoiding unilateral feedback to maximize the results: if all agents participate in the feedback process, the pool of knowledge that everybody can learn from becomes enormous.
  • Boosting knowledge sharing in the team: there’s a lot all agents can learn from each other. From introducing clever product workarounds to providing expert know-how on specific and complex topics, fellow agents are often the best coaches in customer service. For example, the changes in GDPR are a great example of how Europe-based agents helped their colleagues in the US understand the nuances of European laws.
  • Highlighting missed opportunities for offering proactive help. Implementing the “Yes, and…” and other product engagement boosting techniques can create customer loyalty and increase retention. Fellow agents with profound knowledge about the product and the customers are often the best people to notice those opportunities in support interactions.
  • Developing skills to grow professionally. Geckoboard had already created a progression framework that included a peer-to-peer component for sharing insightful, pragmatic, and useful feedback. Conversation reviews provided an excellent solution to facilitate the program.
  • Peer reviews can scale. Peer reviews allow the team to do more reviews than any other conversation review form, resulting in a representative sample of the total ticket volume. This way, conversation reviews remain relevant and manageable as the team grows.

With benefits like these, choosing peer reviews was a no-brainer for Geckoboard. Though conversation reviews are beneficial in all forms, peer feedback is gaining more and more popularity across the globe.

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How Geckoboard implemented conversation peer reviews

From the initial idea of bringing peer feedback to the support team, it didn’t take much time for Geckoboard to get the system up and running. After agreeing upon a few basic rules and their quality criteria, they were able to get going with conversation reviews with little effort.

Geckoboard had already been happily using Zendesk QA for reviewing new agents’ conversations during their onboarding program. So, when they decided to expand their internal quality evaluations across the entire team, they already knew which software they were going to use for the purpose.

Here’s what the rest of the peer review setup looked like for Geckoboard’s support team:

  • Defining the amount of feedback: With 30 minutes available for conversation reviews each day, the team agreed that all agents will do two reviews every day or ten reviews per week.
  • Creating a scorecard: Geckoboard’s support team already knew the areas they wanted to improve in. So, they translated their goals into tangible quality criteria, evaluated in the following checklist items:
  • Dashboard shared with the wider team? checks whether agents adhered to their internal communication processes.*
    • Additional advice provided? analyzes how well agents made use of the opportunities to offer proactive help.
    • *Correctly tagged? evaluates whether the support team categorized tickets correctly.*
    • Integration request shared via Airtable? checks if agents passed customers’ integration requests to the rest of the company via the tool they’re using for the purpose.
    • *Feature request shared via Conflux? checks if customers’ feature requests were appropriately forwarded to other departments via their feedback management tool.*
    • Lexicon approach applied? analyzes agents’ style of communication and whether it matches with their internal standards.
  • Reviewing reviews: Providing constant feedback on reviews helps to calibrate internal evaluations and make sure everybody makes the most out of this process.

Geckoboard had a very smooth and successful peer-review setup procedure. With continuous calibrations and iterations, they’ll make sure that the system remains strong as the team and company change.

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Teething problems

Geckoboard considers peer reviews a huge success. However, they’ve seen some teething problems along the way, too.

Luis points out two issues they encountered after setting up the process:

  • It’s difficult to find time for peer reviews during the busiest times. Geckoboard’s support team’s first and foremost duty is to solve customers’ issues. If tickets queue up, agents need to tackle those before they can deal with conversation reviews. So, sometimes, they had to skip peer reviews and focus entirely on working on the queue.

Luckily, Luis found a solution for that: “It seems that our original approach of two peer reviews per day works better as “ten per week.” This removes the pressure to review conversations every single day and lets people choose a particular day when they have a free hour.”

  • Reviewers tend to give only positive feedback to their peers. Some agents might feel uncomfortable with leaving negative reviews, and others may just have become so used to using the positive lexicon they use in customer interactions that giving negative feedback no longer feels natural to them.

However, knowing that other companies have experienced similar issues when they first started doing peer reviews, there’s hope that this shall pass. For example, Grigorij Urasov, Happiness Engineer at Automattic, said: “When we first started out, peer reviews at Automattic were mostly positive, but according to the latest Feedback Analysis report in Zendesk QA, 56.6% of reviewed tickets fell under “Room for Improvement.”

Getting used to and comfortable with the peer review process, or with any other new internal procedure, might not happen overnight. Luckily, that’s nothing that a little time and experience can’t fix. The more agents conduct reviews, the more natural it will become to give honest and continuous feedback.

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Results so far

Despite the minor hiccups, Geckoboard is happy with the decision to start doing peer reviews in customer service.

”It’s been six weeks since we implemented peer reviews for support and I have to say the results have surpassed our greatest expectations,” said Luis Hernandez.

Here’s what Geckoboard’s VP of Customer Success sees as their biggest gains in the process:

  • Peer reviews have become a platform for agents’ development. Constant feedback helps the support team become better at what they do.
  • Peer reviews work both ways. Evaluating peers is a good way of keeping quality standards in sharp focus across the team, and seeing how colleagues handle customers’ cases allows agents to learn from their experiences.
  • Geckoboard’s support team is now providing ten times more proactive help. With fellow agents constantly pointing to chances of driving product engagement with “Yes, and…” as well as other techniques, the entire team is becoming better at noticing the opportunities as they present themselves in customer interactions.

Internal feedback is a crucial part of successful customer service teams’ day-to-day life. It plays an important role in achieving and maintaining a high level of support quality, and it’s an essential element in agents’ professional development.

See how other companies are doing conversation reviews on Zendesk QA:

Written by

Geckoboard Luis
Luis Hernandez
VP Customer Success at Geckoboard

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