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Using Zendesk QA to Manage Complexities & Compliance within Insurance Customer Support

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Conversations reviewed

4 divisions



Marshmallow, British car insurance provider, has assisted 100,000s in securing fairer deals on their car insurance. Through proprietary technology and customized pricing & fraud models, Marshmallow tailors its services to meet the distinct needs of its customers. 

Catherine Killick, Senior Quality Assurance Manager, and Anthony Exall, QA Lead, talked to us about their success with Zendesk QA (formerly Klaus) over the last 2 years and Marshmallow’s need for comprehensive QA across all support areas to: 

  • Calculate compliance score,
  • Review 8% of all support conversations,
  • Maintain a high IQS (over 90%),
  • Identify areas of risk and communication weaknesses.

“Zendesk QA has been an invaluable tool to grow with us. We’ve gone from measuring a small amount of conversations to huge volumes per month. It’s an exciting time for us and Zendesk QA is playing a big part in that.” 
Anthony Exall

QA’s Role in Addressing Compliance and Regulatory Challenges

“As an insurance business, we are heavily regulated and compliance is critical in customer support. We measure this through review fail rate: if a conversation fails to comply it is awarded 0% IQS. Our QA can identify any breaches.”
Catherine Killick

If Marshmallow agents don’t follow their consumer duty and adhere to regulations, it can result in data breaches or regulatory breaches. 

In Zendesk QA, you have the flexibility to construct a scorecard with multiple categories, each with customizable weights to reflect which categories have more priority. There is also the option to designate any category as critical, which is exactly how Marshmallow measures compliance rate.

For instance, while a conversation may receive a low score in a category such as Grammar, it could still achieve a favorable overall IQS score. However, conversations involving security breaches, for example not asking the set number of security questions, would invariably result in a 0% IQS score.

If a breach is identified during Marshmallow QA review, the following steps are taken:

  1. Conversation marked with 0% IQS and calculated into overall compliance score.
  2. Team lead tagged to follow up and address the concern with the agent. 
  3. Conversations are tagged in Zendesk QA to indicate root cause, i.e. the type of breach, whether it’s regulatory or data-related.
  4. This tagging enriches the dashboard’s data insights, which then feed leadership reports, that help effectively track and identify key trends.

“I present our monthly findings to leadership, extracting valuable insights from the dashboard. We’re exploring ways to enhance our data reporting, and the versatility of Zendesk QA will greatly support this.”
Anthony Exall

Recognizing the Value of Communication Style 

There is a lot of different terminology to understand within the insurance industry, which means that conversations can become jargon-heavy. Marshmallow’s customer support communication guidelines aim to deviate from this norm, to be a company who emphasizes empathy, clarity, and confidence. Given their target audience—individuals new to the UK—it’s crucial for agents to be mindful that certain terms may be unfamiliar to their customers.

“Zendesk QA has helped us roll out these new communication guidelines in the company: teaching agents to ‘speak Marshmallow’ to promote really positive interactions with customers. Reviews are the perfect feedback tool to implement this swiftly and successfully across the board. Our scorecard results really reflect the work that the agents are doing with customers.”
Anthony Exall

Vulnerable customers

Part of their effective communication standards is in treating all customers fairly. As they aim to establish themselves as the premier insurer for newcomers to the UK, it’s essential for them to prioritize the needs of this significant portion of their customer base, many of whom may be considered vulnerable due to their unfamiliarity with the country’s roads and insurance procedures.

In the insurance industry, vulnerable customers are those at higher risk of ‘detriment’ due to various personal circumstances, including emotional, mental, physical, financial, or social factors.

“The ability to review conversations is crucial in treating vulnerable customers. As a business, we want to be the go-to insurer for people who are new to the UK. It’s really important for our support team to get eyes on the conversations where we can identify a vulnerability.”
Catherine Killick

In the insurance industry, especially when catering to vulnerable customers, exemplary customer support isn’t just a perk—it’s a lifeline. Much like in healthcare, where personalized care is crucial, customer retention depends on tailored assistance.

If Marshmallow agents do not identify vulnerable customers in the system, it is already considered a regulatory breach. 

Marshmallow uses their quality program not only to train their employees better on the topic of handling vulnerable customers, but also to work closely with their operational excellence teams. 

Understanding and addressing the unique needs of vulnerable customers is integral to their brand identity and reputation. Since it is embedded in one of their key buyer personas, Marshmallow’s strategy would fail very quickly if there were not robust support systems in place to uphold promises. 

Improving an expanding workflow 

The customer facing team in Marshmallow encompasses almost half of the business across four divisions: 

  • Customer operations deals with general customer inquiries.
  • The Fraud team is a specialist subsect of the operations team.  
  • Retention team handles renewals and policy cancellations. 
  • Claims tribe covers every stage of the claims journey.

The quality team usually aims to review at least 3% of all interactions. Using Zendesk QA, their workflow is now so advanced that they are managing to review 8% of their conversations.

There are 8 in the quality team who manage quality and consistency across this entire department. They have set up a well-oiled QA program within Zendesk QA that consists of multiple workspaces and adapted scorecards. 

“We want consistency and alignment across our entire QA program, so review targets and the sample criteria has to be identical regardless of team. In this respect, the Assignments feature is fantastic, enabling us to work very efficiently. We set numerical targets based on headcount and ensure a strong sample size per week of conversations with a higher reply count (above 10).”
Catherine Killick

Due to the complexity of many insurance queries and regulatory compliance, reviews can take up to 40 minutes and agents have a lot of follow-up work from reviews. 

Each team has different standard operating procedures, which are reflected in scorecards. The weightings and root causes within the scorecards help the quality team identify crucial feedback for each division, to make sure that trainings are relevant and successful. 

Zendesk QA’s customizable assignments feature allows them to set regular targets, ensuring thorough manual reviews of complex conversations across all agents. This guarantees comprehensive feedback regardless of volume, with a focus on reviewing the most relevant conversations.

How to onboard new reviewers

When you are running a large and/or growing customer service team, like Marshmallow, you have to take into account the longevity of your QA success. Quality is a moving target and a robust program should be steadfast to any product, department, or industry change.

At Marshmallow, specific department coaches and team leads are involved in reviews to bolster the effects of QA. They have developed a reviewer training program to keep everyone coloring within the lines. 

They also run biweekly calibration sessions to drive alignment. Marshmallow uses the blind technique, which entails reviewing separately and then assessing conversations together (without seeing others’ ratings). This is an excellent strategy to help pinpoint any discrepancies in reviewers’ feedback. 

Marshmallow’s Growth and Future Support Strategy

The risks of bad customer service in the insurance industry is not limited to customer churn: claims need to be settled as cost effectively as possible to avoid further business detriment. 

Marshmallow’s commitment to effective communication and quality puts them heads and shoulders above many of their competitors. In only seven years of business, they have seen huge growth that looks to continue.  

So what does that mean for their support team’s future plans?

“We are looking to expand QA to all areas of the business, getting more teams onboarded. Our goal is to align everyone to the same high standard, continually adapting to meet our customers’ needs.”
Catherine Killick

Written by

Author profile
Grace Cartwright
Grace is currently writing a book called "When Will AI Fold My Laundry?" In her free time, she writes for Zendesk QA.

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