Quality Assurance

Why Quality Matters

The Switching Economy

Customer service demands are booming as a result of the massively accelerated growth of online sales. In this hypercompetitive environment, customers want their problems solved quickly and efficiently, with minimal effort and, preferably, with a human touch.

But too often, customers experience poor customer service.

In the "Switching Economy", this poor customer service has two critical consequences for companies.

First, it leads to high customer churn, which is up to 25 times more expensive than the cost of retaining a customer. Some 60% of US leaders have seen an increase in customer churn since February 2020.

The second consequence is missed business opportunities. Customer Support Agents are increasingly customers’ first and only point of contact. As such, Customer Service has become a critical commercial lever for companies.

Quality Assurance is the process of taking a sample of interactions (tickets/conversations) and reviewing them to check the overall quality of service delivered. Teams can check for many different things, but the ultimate goal of a quality assurance program is to improve people, processes and customer experiences.

How Does it Benefit My Company?

Quality Assurance is the way to ensure customer service quality -  to check that your team is providing excellent, consistent care whilst running efficiently.

It's integral to the operations of modern customer support teams. Why?

  1. Dissatisfied customers are expensive: It is said that businesses lose more than $75 billion a year thanks to poor customer service.

  2. Every message counts: Customer support is no longer just solving customer problems. The support that is given to customers before purchase is equally as important: the conversations that happen that turn prospects into customers. Each interaction is an opportunity to delight a customer in ongoing conversation throughout that customer's lifetime - and to make sure that you never lose that customer.

  3. The voice of the business: In the majority of digital-first businesses, customer support is the only place where customers can interact with your brand. Two customers that ask the same question shouldn't get different answers - your brand must have the same unwavering voice whenever a customer contacts you.

  4. Treat your people well: Many agents are thirsty for feedback and always want to know how to improve. This is especially true of the younger generation that wants to know how they are performing so that they can grow.

Therefore, QA:

  • Reduces customer churn: by improving the effectiveness of each interaction, you make customers happier - and happy customers stay. As mentioned above, it's 5-25x more expensive to sign a new customer than to keep an existing one!

  • Improves customer acquisition: the modern customer is one that holds word of mouth in high regard. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

  • Unifies the voice of your brand: When you unify your message, you strengthen your brand. Your customers will also appreciate that, no matter how or when they contact you, they get the same answers.

  • Improves agent satisfaction: Happier people means more engagement at work, and reduced turnover in a business where this is commonplace. This also brings teams closer together. 

Quality Assurance builds a better Customer Experience through improved Customer Service.

How does Quality Assurance Benefit My Customer Service Team?

A quality assurance program benefits teams in 2 main ways. They are two sides of the same quality assurance process. 

Help Your People Grow (The Feedback Loop)

This is the one that almost all of you will know already. When you think of QA, you probably think of The Feedback Loop.

As the name suggests, The Feedback Loop gives agents regular feedback about their work. Half of it is checking their customer interactions to see if they are doing a good job; the other half is helping them (through coaching) to be even better - showing them clearly where they can improve. This involves reviewing tickets, leaving comments, checking QA score data and hosting 1-1s for coaching.

It's important for:

  • Employee Satisfaction: By giving them more valuable feedback, they will feel more valued and more satisfied with their role.

  • Employee Engagement: a QA process gives agents the opportunity to take the time out to speak about their work (1-1s). Giving them constructive feedback and opportunities to be more involved in the process (e.g. using Peer-to-Peer reviews), gives them the chance to grow.

  • Employee Retention: When agents are more satisfied and more engaged with their work, then they are less likely to want to leave. This has huge benefits for company culture as well as the balance sheet (saving budget on hiring, training and transferring knowledge).

Understanding and Improving (The Comprehension Loop)

The Comprehension Loop is mastered by top support teams.

Quality Assurance can also be used to reveal insights that you won't get from just looking at your metrics. Imagine you identify a problem when checking your KPIs, but you can't quite see where the problem lies.

💡 Example: Your Average Handling Time drops all of a sudden from its normal range, and the reason is neither clear nor obvious. You will need to do some further investigation; QA tells you why something is happening, so you can fix it.

The Comprehension Loop is about conducting reviews to understand the effectiveness of your support team - in any area you desire. Conducting targeted reviews will give a unique insight into processes, documentation, training and more.

For example, it is great for establishing internal and customer-facing best practices. You may have the documentation to support your agents in their work, but how do you make sure that it's being used or if it's helping? How do you know that your training is working? How do you know if you have all the necessary processes and tools in place to address customer requests following a new product launch?

To Summarize… 

  • Customer service is becoming a key business differentiator, increasing customer retention and loyalty. 

  • Quality assurance improves the overall quality of your customer service team. 

  • The Feedback Loop contributes to agent satisfaction, engagement and reduces employee turnover. 

  • The Comprehension Loop encourages a philosophy of continual improvement - QA isn’t about maintaining the status quo, it’s about always getting better.  

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This was a brief overview of the two sides of the quality assurance process of top teams. To find out more about these 2 programs, check out our guide: The Fundamentals of Customer Service QA