According to Gartner, 88% of service leaders say their current quality assurance (QA) processes are ineffective and rarely match up to the customer view of quality (full content available to Gartner clients).
They say this even though most of these same companies have made, and continue to make, changes to their QA processes on a regular basis.
Gone are the days of your call center being the only place for customers to find answers to their questions—you should assume that if a customer is calling you for support, they have exhausted their self-service options. That means their issues will be unique to them and not something a simple checklist-style QA scorecard can correctly evaluate.
That’s why the best QA scorecard isn’t a scorecard at all; it’s a customer survey that takes into account all the key areas of the customer experience.
You should shift your quality assurance team away from evaluating your reps' performance based on a checklist and move to a more customer-centered approach.
We’re going to explain why old methods don’t work, detail how a customer-centered approach to QA will help your company and reps, and then provide you with employee competencies and potential customer survey questions. That way, you can start on the right track gathering important customer feedback.
Using a QA checklist to evaluate reps' performance means you’re defining success based on internal factors instead of what the customer really wants and needs.
Internal QA encourages cookie-cutter responses and contact handling which are more focused on getting a good quality score rather than meeting the needs of the customer. Your reps will eventually figure out how to game the system to get good scores and will stop having to worry about the customer. They know they need to say this or that in order to earn that good score, so they just do that on every call without attending to your customers’ unique needs.
Old checklist-style scorecards stifle rep creativity, discourage tailored service, and are never directly informed by customer feedback. It’s often just a best guess as to what matters to your customers.
If you want to reduce churn and improve your customer experience (CX) and QA, you need to take a customer-driven approach. That requires voice-of-customer (VOC) data to coach and train your reps with.
With a customer-driven approach, you can use customer surveys to get real data and feedback in order to make QA evaluations. Your QA specialist will learn how the customer perceived the interaction and, most importantly, why your customer was satisfied or dissatisfied. You can coach your reps so they better understand how to address the root cause of customer frustration, and they will learn to optimize their calls based on the customer and not a scorecard.
Let’s say your QA team receives a customer survey response that says the following: “I didn’t understand his explanation of the new plan, and then he moved on before I could ask him a question.”
Now you have something real to base your feedback for the rep on. Old QA scorecards provide only high-level guidance, but customer surveys reveal specific information about how a rep's performance should change in order to improve the customer experience. The rep will have more buy-in for where they need development because they’re receiving it directly from customers and not the internal QA team. This can help alleviate some of the tension often felt between QA and reps by making it a more collaborative coaching experience all around.
Ultimately, using direct customer feedback based on survey data means you can shift from coaching based on subjective scores from a scorecard to a coaching approach that focuses on specific rep behavior during real customer interactions. This will not only improve your customer experience, but will help build stronger relationships between your QA team and the sales reps.
You might not know where to even begin setting up a customer-centered approach to call center QA, and we don’t blame you; it’s a big shift and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
That’s where we come in. Below is a list of some recommended QA competencies that can get you started.
These competencies include the skills we believe are important for reps to exhibit. Below each competency is a corresponding survey question that you can use to gather direct customer feedback.
Product knowledge: Can confidently answer questions about your company’s products and services the first time customers ask.
Survey ask: Was the rep knowledgeable of the products?
Issue diagnosis: Can understand customers’ underlying issues and identify the right solutions.
Survey ask: Did the rep provide a solution to the right issue?
Call management: Can handle customer issues effectively while keeping business costs in mind.
Survey ask: Did the rep efficiently use call time to assist you with your issue?
Positive language: Can communicate information in a way that diffuses negative customer reactions.
Survey ask: Did the rep tell you what can be done, rather than what can’t be done?
Advocacy: Can actively champion for the customers’ issues and work on their behalf to achieve resolution.
Survey ask: Did the rep act in your best interest?
Alternative positioning: Can utilize customer information to reposition available options and achieve mutually beneficial resolution outcomes.
Survey ask: Did the rep suggest a solution that you believed was most beneficial for you?
Not all of these will relate to your business, and are meant as just a jumping-off point; any combination of these competencies can be compiled to suit your business. They’re flexible and should be measured by surveying customers after rep calls and by your QA team listening to internal calls.
When making your customer survey, make sure the responses aren’t just yes or no. Instead, make it a scale from 1-5 where 1 is “highly agree” and 5 is “highly disagree”, or some variation of that. This way, you will have more rich data for any question that isn’t an open field.
By building your quality monitoring scorecard around these core competencies and surveying customers directly, you’ll be able to give your reps the flexibility to tailor their customer interactions as needed without having to worry about stringently sticking to a script.
Remember, quality assurance success relies on shifting toward a customer-centered approach, and the only way you’ll be able to get that important VoC data is by shifting toward a different type of scorecard completely.
Talking to your customers after they’ve had interactions with your reps is crucial when developing your new QA program and survey software can help by making it easier to create and distribute customer experience surveys. Survey software can also help provide you with comprehensive reports and analytics based on the VoC data you’ve received.