12 Oct A Chat about QA Tools and Process
What goes into a quality QA process?
Updated October 2022 (Originally posted February 2019) Grab a cup of tea, coffee or liquid of choice and let’s talk quality assurance. It’s not the most exciting topic but a vital one to your company’s longevity. There are many QA tools that exist, but what is the main objective in using them?
“For me, a good QA process tells me the following:
1. Customer received information/attention needed
2. Employee provided accurate information to the Customer
3. Customer does not have a reason to contact business again for that specific reason
4. Customer leaves interaction feeling informed, supported and valued
These seem like simple things, but they are extremely challenging to achieve. The channel (sms, chat, email, phone, messenger) the customer opted to use makes item number 4 vary a great deal. For example, making a customer feel valued by phone comes with building relationships and engaging in conversation about unrelated safe topics: weather, or some common item mentioned in casual conversation. However, building value by a written channel may come with quickly resolving the issue.”
For an effective QA approach, combine focused goals with key tools.
“I have delegated that”
As concierge customer service tools emerge to take the task of seeking problem resolution off the customers’ plate, automated tools remove burdens from your agents’ plate.
There are multiple tools that assist in gathering actionable data on customer interactions. Tracking customer sentiment, word usage, and agent scores are some of what automated tools can do to give insight into repeating issues.
AI tools offer speed and multi-function. From Forrester’s Report, The Three Customer Service Megatrends In 2021: Post-Pandemic Customer Service Excellence: “AI streamlines inquiry capture and resolution; optimizes case routing, classification, and schedule management; and extracts information to monitor the quality of service delivered.”
A modern, efficient method of monitoring utilizes AI. CSAT.AI employs AI to automatically monitor large volumes of interactions. This frees up management to focus on complex issues while providing robust data to improve training and metrics. It also provides agents scoring during the interaction enabling them to improve resolution and performance.
For simpler, frequent tasks a single Robotic process automation (RPA) bot has shown it can replace four agents. This frees agents to handle more nuanced interactions, improving quality agent retention while saving companies money and increasing productivity.
“I emailed last week”
Considering all of the ways a single customer can contact your company with an issue it’s important to have ticketing software that compiles that data in one place. A customer may call about a problem they previously emailed about. If the attending agent has access to that customer’s previous email they are more prepared to address the customer effectively.
Concise data that is tagged correctly is even better. Don’t force your agents to sift through epic amounts of information while your customer hold time increases.
This also reduces redundancy. A customer posts on your company page that she never received her order. She then follows up with a live chat about the problem. Every agent needs access to that customer’s contact history across all platforms to address her issue quickly and accurately.
Access to ticket history benefits sales too. Zendesk has Zendesk Sell which provides integration of sales automation with customer service support. Used alongside Zendesk Support, customer support history is available to the sales team and a button to notify sales of an opportunity can be added to the agent dashboard..
Well designed and integrated ticketing saves time and money for your business and your customers.
“That’s not what the previous agent told me”
The Benefits of Call Recording
There is an avalanche of useful data from call recording. According to Hubspot’s Call Recording ebook based on a survey of more than 80 customer service pros the top reasons to record calls are:
- Review performance/ensure good service
- Company protection (disputes, risk)
The majority of reasons cited in this ebook are company-focused, but call recording has potential to benefit both your business and your clients. From a pro in the same survey on the importance of call recording:
“Helps us to hear the actual voice of the customer, which is huge in terms of marketing, sales and customer service.”
“Your Call may be recorded…”
Call Recording and Compliance
“This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.” We’ve all heard this message. Like seat belt instructions before a flight, we’ve heard it so often we take it for granted, but it is there for a reason.
It is vital to be compliant with the call recording laws that cover your industry and location so that call recording assists your business rather than puts it at risk. In the United States this means following Federal as well as State and Local Laws.
Just like business, law is constantly evolving, though a donkey still can’t sleep in a bathtub according to Arizona law .
Have a structure that enables your business to stay on top of call recording law or outsource to a company that does. There is a list of valuable resources in this Talkdesk article.
The GDPR changed the landscape of how customer information and privacy is handled. Though the tenets of the GDPR pertain to usage of personal data of residents of the European Union, if you have customers who reside in the EU you are impacted. From the GDPR website:
“If you record phone calls you must fulfil any of the following conditions to ensure you are doing so legally:
- Receive consent from the individual(s) in the phone call to record.
- Justify the necessity of the recording, i.e. to fulfil a contract, or for legal requirements.
- It is necessary to protect the interests of one or more participants.
- The recording is in the public interest, or necessary for the exercise the official authority.
- It is in the interest of the recorder, only overridden if they conflict with the interest of the participant of the call.
When a business is using call recording to monitor customer service, they are still left to fulfil the first condition to be fully compliant. The fifth condition may also apply as it could be argued that staff quality assurance outweighs the interest of privacy.”
“I’d like to speak to a supervisor”
Top up your tea after all that legal talk.
You deserve it.
So, call monitoring. It’s different from call recording in that a manager or supervisor is listening/viewing the exchange between an agent and a customer as it occurs, right? Used respectfully and judiciously, this QA tool has many benefits:
- You can offer new agents a lifeline of support during a customer interaction with monitoring.
- For ongoing training and adherence, your supervisors can randomly monitor contacts to ensure agents are on-point.
- Monitoring also allows you to hear what your customers are saying first hand. That information assists you in retaining customers and making improvements that reduce your customer service load.
“If you’re talking to Mrs. Kain, ask about her dog Bruce.”
Collaboration and Relationship Building
Now it’s time to pour someone else a cup of tea: your agents.
Arguably, the influence with the greatest potential in a customer service center is not software but people. Allowing reps to tap each others’ knowledge and improvise based on that group knowledge mobilizes your greatest assets.
T-Mobile has had calculable success with such an updated approach:
This style, along with dedicating agent groups to customer groups, has had a positive effect on the company bottom line:
“The T-Mobile model is paying huge dividends for the company: In the three years since launch, T-Mobile’s overall cost to serve is down 13%, its Net Promoter Score (a measure of customer loyalty) is up by more than half, and its customer churn rate has dipped to an all-time low. Employees are happier too; attrition and absenteeism have plummeted.”
“Thanks for your help!”
The Desired Result
The point of QA is to ensure all components of your business are on the same page and effectively securing and growing your business. Use QA Tools effectively to tighten up your approach and track those results.
That cup of tea tastes even better with a dash of success.