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How being customer-centric puts software company Rentman ahead of their competition with a CSAT of 96%

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Lilith Antunovic, Rentman’s Customer Experience Manager, tells us how Zendesk QA (formerly Klaus) helps her manage a busy customer-facing team. 

Rentman has been using Zendesk QA since 2019 and quality was a high priority from the very beginning. 

The strength of the support team is what distinguishes Rentman from the rest of the industry. We wanted to know more about how they maintain such a high standard of support.

Feel free to jump through to the parts that interest you, or read right through for the entire story.

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How do you make customer-facing roles a focal point in the company? 

There are 15 in Rentman’s customer-facing team (support and success combined). Coming from a purely customer success background, Lilith initially wondered why they were using Zendesk QA. CSAT was high, tickets looked perfect – they didn’t have a quality problem. 

It wasn’t long, though, before she realized the value of measuring and maintaining high-quality standards. The support team is the tie that binds a strong customer-business connection. 

The customer support agents have the ground-level data that executives need to listen to in order for their business model to be a success. For one thing, they hear first-hand why customers switch over from competitors. Lilith wants to make sure that her team is given the credit they deserve.

‘All customer-facing teams need a seat at the table. They have the important data – if executives don’t listen to it, their business model will eventually fail.’

Customer support teams can often feel inferior, like they are just an add-on to the motor driving a company forward instead of a crucial component. Zendesk QA plays a big role in making sure this doesn’t happen at Rentman. 

Members of all departments are selected to review support tickets through Zendesk QA for a time period. No matter if they work in development, product, marketing, or sales, Rentman employees know their customers. Being customer-centric is baked into the company philosophy. 

‘I feel QA allows us to extend that pure look at our customers. As well as help with the appreciation of CX agents within the company!’

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Sales-Success-Support Pod

A sales pod usually consists of a sales rep and customer success manager working in tandem to fulfill customer needs and streamline the buyer’s journey. 

Lilith is working on a pod strategy to include a relevant support agent within that same pod. 

‘It makes a lot of sense. Our agents know what’s happening in the market from talking to customers, maybe even more than sales or customer success. I want them to weigh in and strategize for development and upcoming campaigns.’

How do you maintain quality with a high turnover? 

This year, the Rentman support team had a near-complete turnover, with agents either promoted or moving on elsewhere. 

Relying on the high-performing agents in your team isn’t a long-term strategy – it’s too vulnerable to turnover. Maintaining quality, in the long run, relies on steadfast quality and onboarding programs.

Rentman’s process is not reliant on any one person, even the manager – onboarding a new agent is a shared responsibility. Lilith still has a perfect overview of how agents are progressing through her dashboards on Zendesk QA. For example, if their usual CSAT of 96% has dipped slightly they can analyze through weekly KPIs whether this is a short-term lull or downward trend. 

Tips for onboarding customer support agents

✍️ Write out clear conversation review guidelines
At Rentman, all onboarders must study the structure to understand how their conversations will be rated. These are comprehensive and thorough so that, if followed, a perfect score is attainable for every conversation. 

Make it a team effort
Seniors in the team take turns to adopt the role of ‘question answerer’, which includes assigning newcomers slightly easier tickets for them to work through as they learn. This position also relieves  some of the burden of training from Lilith, as manager. 

Share all learning
Everyone should be there to help each other. New agents are encouraged to ask questions openly so that answers are shared and searchable. 

Tips for coaching customer support agents

Run regular feedback workshops
Lilith reinforces a growth mindset at Rentman. As Customer Experience Manager, she conducts workshops to cover how to effectively give and receive feedback.

Use a rating program to quickly catch problem areas
Zendesk QA reviews flag issues within the team. As soon as new agents gain a certain level of experience, they become a reviewer. Peer-to-peer reviews give Lilith a more objective look at performance. If several reviewers have come to the same conclusion and rated an agent negatively in any category, she knows there is a problem that she needs to address and coach.

Instil accountability
Lilith doesn’t want to micromanage. It’s important that every agent acknowledges quality assurance reviews in Slack and comments on their plan of action. She stresses how efficient their team is now that this has become a habit.

What can you learn from Rentman’s Support QA Strategy?

  • Binary ratings
    This makes it easy for reviewers, reviewees, and Lilith to quickly assess performance in Zendesk QA and detect problem areas. Rentman has comprehensive guidelines to outline expectations.

  • Custom categories to represent all support goals
    Being an excellent agent at Rentman requires a certain personality. Agents are, therefore, rated on whether or not they were charming and proactive, as well as on categories that determine their technical accuracy.

  • Peer to peer reviews
    A flat structure is valued at Rentman. Peer reviews allow for shared learning and shared responsibility instead of relying on managers. Zendesk QA’s Slack integration makes instant acknowledgment easy, and everyone is encouraged to comment.

  • Constructive feedback & coaching
    ‘You are allowed to make mistakes: failure is ok if you learn from it. Feedback is something that helps us grow.’

  • Weekly KPIs
    Lilith tracks review targets on a regular basis to make sure the quality program is ticking over as intended, and to get an overview of agent performance and trends.

Unfortunately, Lilith told us that not everyone is happy with quality assurance. Included in the QA swag bag is a (we think fashionable) bandana for your pet. 

Her cat was unamused.

Written by

Grace Cartwright
Grace is perpetually working on a self-help book entitled ’Where Did I Put My Keys?’. In her free time, she writes for Klaus.

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