In today's dynamic digital landscape, agent onboarding isn't just a step—it's the foundation upon which exceptional customer service is built. Customer service leaders grapple with not only meeting ever-evolving customer demands but also ensuring every new agent is equipped to handle them from the outset. This places agent evaluation and an effective agent onboarding process at the forefront of achieving quality assurance. How does one navigate these complexities? The lessons from ClassPass, a prominent fitness subscription platform, offer invaluable insights.
Discover how ClassPass’s adept approach to agent onboarding, coupled with rigorous agent evaluation, provides a roadmap for embedding customer service quality assurance right from the start. Drawing from insights gained through an interview with Amy Fleming, Manager of Education and Quality Enablement at ClassPass, we will examine how their structured and condensed learning cycle between QA evaluations and feedback/education sessions during the first 60 days of an agent’s tenure has been a recipe for success for ClassPass, enabling new agents to hit the ground running to drive impact on the customer experience faster.
The evolution of Quality Assurance (QA) from a simple role of monitoring to a strategic driver of business decisions is essential for scaling support teams successfully. Amy Fleming, in her journey with ClassPass, demonstrated how this transition could bolster the entire customer support framework. She accentuated, "Our vision wasn’t just about checking the quality boxes but making quality a pragmatic, invaluable asset." To illustrate its transformative power, Amy often collaborated with leadership by sharing customer insights, specifically focusing on feedback related to products and policies that the QA team was able to glean through its thoughtful QA scorecards and root cause workflows.
A poignant example is the customer feedback the Quality Assurance team surfaced about ClassPass’s fee waivers. Customers were penalized for missing or canceling reservations at the eleventh hour. Although ClassPass empathized with life's unpredictability and occasionally waived these fees, the process required customers to engage in prolonged interactions with support agents. By spotlighting this customer pain point, Amy championed a process overhaul, simplifying the waiver experience for users.
This triumphant revamp showcased to leadership the dual significance of both Support and Quality/Education. Their intertwined roles, when driven by insightful quality assurance, could amplify business outcomes substantially.
ClassPass’s story underscores a pivotal lesson for QA leaders: Quality assurance isn't just about maintaining standards, but actively translating those insights into pivotal business decisions. This proactive approach to QA was foundational in shaping their agent onboarding process. For businesses aspiring for excellence, there’s no overlooking the profound influence of a QA-driven strategy, harmonizing customer satisfaction with business growth.
When focusing on agent growth, ClassPass realized a crucial strategy was to give priority to evaluating and grading new agents rather than focusing equally on more experienced ones. Amy emphasized that their aim was to "identify and correct bad habits from the start."
To implement this, Amy and her team introduced ticket automations that directed a larger share of tickets assigned to new agents to the team’s graders on a weekly basis. By dedicating more attention to grading for these newer agents, they could focus on identifying and rectifying negative behaviors in their early stages. This approach allowed them to steer clear of overburdening their graders, as they didn't spend valuable time allocating an equal amount of effort to higher-tiered agents who had already met growth benchmarks. This proactive strategy is effective in preventing the development of undesirable habits that could become deeply ingrained over time.
For leaders looking to drive excellence in their agent onboarding process, ClassPass offers a valuable lesson: integrate robust quality evaluations from the very beginning. By doing so, you set clear expectations, offer real-time feedback, and prevent the onset of poor habits. This not only ensures that agents are equipped with the right skills and mindset from the outset, but also translates to enhanced customer experiences and operational efficiency. As you map out or refine your agent onboarding strategies, prioritize a proactive approach to quality evaluation – the dividends, both immediate and long-term, are well worth the investment.
In addition to more grading for newer agents, ClassPass also found that a clearly defined growth plan could play a vital role in motivating new agents and setting clear expectations for them. ClassPass put in place a growth plan that provided agents with set targets to aim for, outlines of these expectations, and offered distinct QA benchmarks as they progressed. This method not only brought clarity to agents’ individual goals but also fostered a sense of accomplishment when agents achieved these goals and were subsequently rewarded with added responsibilities and title changes.
As agents move through their initial 60 days, they should have access to their own Quality Dashboard. This enables them to monitor their progress and feedback over time. Amy and her team pinpoint specific quality indicators at designated stages during the agent's onboarding process to gauge whether their quality level, in addition to other efficiency metrics, aligns with the standards needed for advancement to a higher support tier.
Research by MaestroQA has demonstrated that granting agents insights into their performance fosters a stronger sense of ownership over their career paths. Comprehensive KPI leaderboards can also introduce an element of gamification or healthy competition among colleagues, leading to improved agent performance and a focus on personal growth.
Amy's perspective underscores the connection between broadening skill sets and recognizing the significance of quality. “It's not just about maintaining the current state; rather, it involves actively seeking opportunities for growth that enhance both individual skills and overall quality standards.”
ClassPass employs performance data as a yardstick to determine an agent's readiness for upskilling. This method guarantees that agents acquire necessary skills before progressing to the next level of their career advancement. Making decisions based on performance not only establishes tangible objectives for agents to strive toward but also boosts their engagement and motivation.
According to Amy, "It's vital to concentrate on improvement within a specific timeframe." This focused approach to utilizing performance metrics for upskilling facilitates swift skill enhancement and immediate positive effects on customer interactions. If an agent isn't prepared to transition to the subsequent phase of their support growth plan, this data empowers their leadership to offer precise behaviors to focus on. With the available reporting, they can advise the agent to "prioritize this aspect over the next 30 or 60 days."
To effectively support agent growth during their initial onboarding journey, the focus should extend beyond providing quality and efficiency KPIs. Feedback alone doesn't constitute coaching. In our discussion with Amy, she elaborated on how one significant factor in fostering agent growth was ClassPass's enhancement of collaboration between the quality and education teams. By integrating the roles of education and quality, the company nurtured a cooperative environment that capitalizes on the strengths of both teams. Whenever QA offered feedback to new agents, they concurrently developed team training and updated knowledge bases to enhance agents' QA performance. Drawing insights from Quality, the education team pinpointed where to concentrate their efforts when crafting learning materials. This collaborative approach has proven pivotal in implementing effective growth strategies.
Fortunately, at ClassPass, this correlation was evident to the leadership. Amy's experience reveals that gaining support from team members and stakeholders wasn't a challenge. There was enthusiasm for embracing the evolving role of quality, underscoring its vital contribution to driving positive transformations across all aspects. In her words, "...it wasn't difficult to secure that support because as soon as I presented it, there was immediate agreement from both sides, and not just agreement, but also eagerness."
The integration of quality assurance and education isn't just a collaboration; it's a partnership that can redefine agent onboarding success. Organizations seeking to amplify their agent growth strategies should prioritize this dual-focused approach, leveraging both feedback and instructional insights. The combined power of these teams can be the game-changer in crafting an unparalleled agent onboarding experience.
ClassPass's innovative approach to agent development, fueled by collaboration between quality and education teams, serves as a powerful example for companies aiming to enhance their customer support strategies. By prioritizing QA performance during the crucial initial period and leveraging technology, businesses can achieve customer-centric growth that benefits both agents and customers alike. As the landscape of customer support continues to evolve, embracing the lessons from ClassPass can lead to improved customer experiences and business success.
For a deeper dive into these topics, we recommend watching the full recording of our webinar with Classpass or joining our upcoming webinars on the future of customer experience. Your participation is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to engaging in more insightful discussions in the future. If you're not already familiar with MaestroQA, don't hesitate to request a demo today!