Creating a quality form (also known as a quality assurance scorecard) for your customer service team can be a scary task. Questions abound. How many items should it hold? What questions matter most? Which ones don’t? What type of scoring method should we use?
What makes it even scarier is that the scorecard (and questions within, and how they’re scored) is the foundation of a great quality assurance program. A bad scorecard can lead to scores that don’t represent what a quality interaction actually means to your brand. Or it can lead to inflated scores that result in metrics that your team can’t really use to improve (GASP!).
But, creating a quality management form doesn’t have to be scary. There are some tried and tested methods that companies can use to think through the process of creating a quality form that works really well for their unique business (and their unique customer base).
The first step is to really think about your company’s brand, how you want to be perceived by your customers, and what good looks like for your specific company and customers. This includes:
Then, think about all this stuff in the context of four pillars:
We cover the four pillars in greater depth in the Ultimate Guide to CX QA Scorecards, but you can find a quick primer here:
How well did the agent communicate the message? In a phone conversation, verbal communication is center stage. You might want to evaluate tone of voice, pace of communication (e.g. talking too fast or slow), or the excessive use of filler words (e.g. um, ah, mmmmkay). We’re all guilty of most of these things from time to time, but it’s important that they don’t detract from the message or undermine the confidence with which we communicate.
With text-based channels, grammar and spelling are critical and the message should be communicated clearly, concisely and in a way that’s on brand. The messaging should also look good and professional. This means that the paragraphs should be broken up logically with proper line breaks between the greeting, paragraphs, and the signature. Clearly voice and text require different skill sets to communicate the same message.
Did the agent make a human connection with the customer? Did the agent have an authentic interaction with the customer that will differentiate your brand from the other companies that customer has talked with?
There are many ways that people can be successful in connecting with one another, but my typical framework for connecting with a customer is as follows:
I like to refer to our ability to empathize with other people as a superpower and we’ll have to use it here as we aim to connect authentically with the human being on the other end of the line regardless of the communication channel we’re using.
Did we follow all essential policies and procedures to keep the customer and the company safe? Did the agent handle PII in the right way? Did you protect the log-in information of your customer?
Security is a critical component of quality review. At a minimum, security means properly authenticating customers before disclosing or changing information on their account. Depending on the industry, you’ll often hear acronyms like PII, PCI, and HIPAA, and failure to comply with these regulations, breaches security and trust with customers and results in significant legal problems for the company (good to make sure agents are regularly reminded of its importance).
Did we give out correct AND complete answers and use our tools effectively to arrive at those answers? Were all internal processes followed?
Customers must receive accurate information. That’s why they contact support. If they don’t, they may call back or they may just cancel their service. Calling back means an unnecessary spike in call volume. Not calling back means we lose customers and revenue. Wrong or incomplete answers render customer service efforts entirely pointless. Accuracy also includes adhering to important policies and procedures. Think of procedures like taking good account notes so a customer doesn’t have to rehash their issue if they call back.
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, make a list of what matters to your company in each section. Some examples:
Customer connection/soft skills
Compliance and security
Correct and complete content
Correct and complete (process)
Non support (Bonus)
Once you’ve come up with this list, you can use it to configure your scorecard! The main topics can be your main sections, and the individual questions will be criteria within each section.
The following example ties together many elements of soft skills that matter to our customers. It brings together brand voice, tone, and grammar as things that are all contributing to the agent representing the brand – things that also fall into the category of communication skills.
This will, of course, look very different for different companies.
This example shows what an auto-fail section looks like as well. Something like sharing PII or other sensitive information is risky, which needs to be reflected in the severity of the scoring.
In this case, Zendesk processes is the section, and protocol is the question. You could have multiple questions within a section like this if there are different things that reps need to be doing within the bucket of “Zendesk processes.”
Notice that this is a multiple choice question with checkboxes that highlight different ways in with “Zendesk protocol” could be followed.
Some teams use the QA process as an opportunity to collect data on how the business as a whole can improve the customer experience.
It could be an opportunity to track how often shipping issues impact customer happiness, or if there are confusing areas of the website that could be changed to give customers a better experience.
Using checkboxes here can be especially helpful, as these sections are often not scored, but rather viewed as an opportunity to collect data.
Start by identifying a few key pieces of information that matter to your business, and then work through the four pillars – communication skills, connecting with customers, complying with the regulatory stuff, and giving correct, complete answers with your company’s context in mind.
This will result in a quality form focused on what matters to your company, and that will lead to productive coaching conversations with agents.