Regardless of how much your company prides itself on its customer service, you should remain committed to continual improvement. To do so, organizations need to actively monitor their quality assurance (QA), or rates of customer satisfaction. Using effective QA tools helps align your current performance levels with industry standards. Meeting and exceeding these benchmarks far precedes company expansion. Needless to say, QA is imperative.
The Frontline Affects The Bottom Line
One of customer service’s primary objectives is to maintain great business-consumer relationships. The strength of businesses’ customer relationships can influence future purchasing decisions. Sales and marketing will create the demand to bring in the initial wave of buyers. Customer service representatives then work to gain long-term customer loyalty.
Keeping customers happy isn’t easy. Consumer behavior is ever-changing and often unpredictable. Your products and services undergo periodic reviews to keep them relevant with present trends—why wouldn’t your customer service processes?
Unfortunately, a whopping 1/3 of companies fail to see this logic. An ICMI study found that less than 66% of companies measure customer satisfaction. Even more concerning, only 38% of those companies integrate their customer feedback/QA programs when developing appropriate quality metrics and evaluating their agents. We can’t stress this enough: allowing your company to be part of this minority will cost you both customers and cash. Don’t!
What is Customer Service Quality Assurance?
Today’s buyers expect premium customer service as part of the package they paid for. They want helpful, timely, and consistent assistance available any time they need it. This means that customer service should be available not only after a purchase but throughout the entirety of the buying journey. Customer service quality assurance ensures that customer service remains a consistent, reliable, and exceptional source of assistance every step of the way.
In a nutshell, quality assurance is the system that enables companies to consistently provide a high standard of customer service and help manage customer interactions efficiently. Using QA tools, the quality team can continuously compare agents' and processes' progress to established benchmarks. Along the way, quality assurance identifies bottlenecks and issues that, when resolved, can further improve the customer experience.
QA Starts Where The Helpdesk Ends
Quality assurance often picks up where help desk software support ends. QA tools help monitor if agents are interacting with consumers appropriately and using the right tone. It also checks if agents are following the designated internal processes when dealing with specific situations. Finally, quality assurance can help curate objective feedback surrounding how well the team addressed the customer’s concerns.
Quality assurance also onboards new members to the corresponding systems and processes of their new role. QA will also set the standards expected for the job at hand. This means that new team members are aware of their job expectations on day one.
The Best Customer Service QA Tools
Customer service quality assurance will require the use of quality assurance tools to effectively monitor and evaluate interactions. Below are some of the more well-known QA tools available in the market today. It’s highly recommended that companies should test trial versions. This way, your team can weigh the pros and cons of each QA tool before investing in one.
Klaus is one of the more popular QA tools out there, due to its suitability for all-sized companies and user-friendly yet powerful features. The software integrates popular help desk software like Zendesk, Intercom, Aircall, Freshdesk, and Help Scout. Klaus also provides customizable scorecards that feature adjustable weights and auto-fail options. It also offers a custom role setup that’s handy for teams requiring different review setups. The software can also deliver these via Slack.
EvaluAgent offers a step up from spreadsheet-based quality assurance programs. The software offers increased review coverage that unlocks actionable insight. Some of its highlighted features include 2-minute integrations with 50 help desks, call recording, and CRM platforms. It also features hierarchical reporting, root-cause analysis, and automated insights. In addition, it has integrated customer surveys, eLearning, and an optional analytics tool for speech and text.
Summatti provides powerful, yet simple, no-code artificial intelligence quality monitoring. Among other things, Summatti offers speech analytics to review 100% of customer conversations. The software then compares these conversations to benchmarks to gain objective feedback on agent performance.
Aspect Quality Management
Aspect Quality Management offers call recording and analytics software that evaluates and gathers insights from customer conversations and allows orchestrating customer interactions. Contact center managers can monitor the conversations in real-time along with other stakeholders. Interactions are evaluated against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) established beforehand. Aspect Quality Management can also track the overall performance of the customer service team based on business objectives set by the company.
ClearView uses a single interface that allows the monitoring of voice, wireless, and data assets. It features an intuitive design, shortened onboarding time, an active report engine, and extensive auditing tools. Clearview can help businesses increase the operational efficiency of their customer service teams.
BONUS: Google Sheets
For startups and newcomers to the customer service game, Google Sheets can serve as an introductory QA tool to start you on the right foot. Not to mention, Google Sheets is free! It also serves as an introductory course for small startups, as it requires manual input for conversation reviews. Once the startup masters the rudimentary aspects of customer service quality assurance and develops a budget for QA software, it can consider upgrading to specialized software like the examples above.
Things to Consider Before Getting a QA Tool
Making the right QA tool choice can help accelerate your QA program. Granted, most of the software offerings will include the same core features. It’s more so a matter of checking if their functions fit with your system and align with your objectives. When comparing QA tools, ensure the software contains at least the following features:
Always check if your QA tool integrates with your existing help desk software. Otherwise, you’ll find agents and supervisors performing a lot of tedious, time-consuming copy-paste functions just to shuttle information between this software and your help desk program.
It’s important to note that your chosen QA tool should include all of the channels offered by your customer service desk. So, if your company offers phone, email, chat, SMS, and social media support, your QA tool should have the capability for all of these as well.
Different companies have different standards when it comes to evaluating conversation quality. Make sure your chosen QA software can accommodate your specific rubric. It’s also great if your team can create custom review parameters that conform to agreed benchmarks with your team.
In addition, it’s also important to test how well its analytics feature handles the collected data. Its insights should closely resemble your established metrics and objectives. Of course, balance your analytics needs with your other requirements and budget. The more feature-rich analytics tools often carry a higher price tag.
Information is always better when received in real-time. The ideal QA software for customer support should have no problem generating reports and feedback in real-time. A timely report helps teams provide immediate assistance and coaching to affected agents, so they can immediately apply the lessons to the next customer conversation.
Since we’re dealing with benchmarks and standards, you’ll need QA tools that provide the ultimate flexibility in setting your grading system. Different teams have different standards, so the system should allow you to customize the weight and points system to reflect each team’s defined benchmarks.
Even as the spreadsheet is fast becoming an obsolete document, its value as a raw source material remains high. CSV files are a great way to export data to presentations. It can spare the team countless hours encoding data sets used in reports and slides.
In addition to the above features, the software’s price will also play a significant role in the decision-making process. Requiring more features in the software will always bump up the price. So, it’s a good rule of thumb to always list your must-have features when evaluating QA tools. These will be the non-negotiable features that should come in the final software package.
Then, make a separate list of features that are nice to have. This means features that would make a great addition to the software, but not if they cost too much more. Conversely, if a QA software offers these features at no extra cost, then that gives that product an advantage.
Of course, price shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of the debate. Equally obvious, the realities of running a business also entail requiring a return on investment on your purchase decisions. When determining a price point for your software budget, you may want to consider the following questions:
What is the pricing structure and is it scalable?
Do you pay a one-time fee, or will it be a typical SaaS setup, where you pay a monthly subscription? In addition, will the software’s cost depend on the number of users it needs to handle? Or, is it a tiered system that only increases the cost once it exceeds a certain number of users? If you’re expecting growth for your company, you may want to consider investing in software that’s scalable as well. This is especially important when you’re projecting to erect other branches and will need additional software licenses to support them as well.
Are there onboarding/training costs?
How much will onboarding or training costs add to the overall price? Also, what is the pricing structure for training new staff? These are cost considerations that should align with the realities of your business operations. Is your customer service organization turnover-prone? A costly training or onboarding package may not be cost-efficient when you’re experiencing high turnover rates.
What is my promised ROI?
The price of your preferred QA software should also be proportional to your customer service team’s workload. Getting less than a hundred calls a day likely won’t justify a top-of-the-line QA software with all the bells and whistles. In addition, at what point will the software investment pay for itself? How much revenue and savings will the software generate during its lifetime? These are some of the critical questions you may want to answer before making the final decision on which software to use for your customer service team.
Evaluate Usability and Training
Finally, your team may want to evaluate how they respond to the QA software’s interface and usability. Once you decide on which software to adopt, this will become part of your customer service team’s daily tools. So, it’s worth investing in software that’s intuitive and easy to use—one that will elevate them, rather than hinder them.
The best way to find this out is to contact the software manufacturer and arrange for a product demo with your top team members. Getting hands-on experience now rather than later can save your team from disappointment, and your company money.
It’s recommended to ask the vendor about the training requirements. Will this software require individual training due to its complexity, or will group training suffice? In terms of support, what can the vendor offer?
Looking to Ramp Up Your Customer Service? Consider Outsourcing
Choosing the right QA tools for your customer service team isn’t a matter of picking a product from a lineup. As discussed, an array of factors should come into consideration before investing in the most suitable solution for your business needs.
In the end, QA tools are still tools. Great customer service teams can utilize these tools to improve the overall customer experience. They won’t do the job for you, they’ll just make the ride a lot smoother—and if done right, your pockets a lot deeper.
Helpware is a modern business process outsourcing company that services all types of industries. From back-office services to specialists to frontline customer service, we work to help you accomplish your business goals and improve customer experience. Check us out and leave your contact information. We’ll be glad to provide you with custom staffing solutions tailored to your specific business needs.