MaestroQA Case Study: How Zola Elevates Agent Performance

Zola’s Challenge:

Providing meaningful coaching while doubling team size during busy season

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Negative Implication:

Newly hired agents struggle to provide support for couples during a stressful time

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The Solution:

Implement QA and a training tool to create a real-time feedback loop for new agents

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Impact at Zola:

Agent training accelerated using QA insights + improved agent performance

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Wedding website Zola provides couples with a one-stop solution for planning their big day. From free wedding websites to an easy-to-use online registry, Zola is reimagining the wedding planning experience.

To make life easier for busy couples, Zola offers live customer support via email, chat, and phone. Zola’s QA program exists to ensure that support agents provide accurate information and do so in a way that is consistent with the company’s policies and brand voice.

Read on to see how they ensured that their support remained on brand while rapidly scaling their teams.

Challenge: Rapidly yet effectively coaching and training agents during busy season

Most weddings in the United States occur when the weather is favorable—typically between the months of April and October. Seasonal upticks in demand for Zola’s products double the need for support agents during busy months. 

“We’re at 55 agents during the height of the busy season,” said Rachel Livingston, Senior Director, Operations at Zola. “During the rest of the year, we’re at 27 full-time agents.”

Zola’s new hire onboarding is a comprehensive, two-week process that offers a mix of in-class training, hands-on activities, and job shadowing. Agents even build their own wedding websites and registries to gain a better understanding of the customer journey. 

“When we bring new agents onboard, we want to empower them with technical and soft skills to succeed,” Livingston said. “Our goal is to give agents 80% of what they need to know and get them up and running.”

After successfully completing new hire onboarding and customer service training, agents are turned loose to begin interacting with customers. Zola’s QA team scores support tickets handled by new hires on a weekly basis so supervisors can share meaningful feedback during coaching sessions. Tickets handled by tenured agents are QA’d on a less frequent basis.

Of course, managing the many moving parts of a best-in-class CX program is time-consuming and complex—especially during busy season. And, that’s exactly why Zola needed modern QA software that could integrate seamlessly with an online team training system.

Solution: Maximizing agent success by aligning QA and training

Implementing MaestroQA in tandem with Lessonly, a leading team training system, provided Zola with a scalable solution to expedite agent onboarding and elevate the performance of existing agents.

MaestroQA enabled Zola’s team to build QA scorecards that were customized to the unique needs of its agent feedback loop. Zola’s pass-fail scorecard in MaestroQA served as a simple, yet effective rubric for assessing new hire readiness. Advanced QA scorecards made it easier for graders to evaluate tenured agents on a variety of criteria, such as resolving customer concerns, representing Zola’s brand, and communicating effectively across email, phone, and chat. 

Designing scorecards with a linear scoring methodology provided an additional layer of objectivity to the grading process.

“Originally, our grading process was very subjective with regard to how many points to give an agent,” Livingston said. “Now, we remove one point for each checkbox that is selected, which ensures consistency across graders and allows us to easily identify opportunities for improvement.”

Centralizing all of Zola’s team training into Lessonly provided a single platform to accelerate new agent onboarding and continuing education.

Result: Using QA data from MaestroQA to inform training decision-making

MaestroQA’s integration with Lessonly enables graders to assign relevant training lessons with a single click from any scorecard. Simplifying the assignment process frees up bandwidth for busy graders and accelerates the pace at which agents make adjustments. 

“Our goal is to get agents the lessons they need quickly and create a real-time feedback loop,” Livingston said. “Agents are expected to complete their lessons within a few days, and supervisors usually reconnect on the topic in future coaching sessions.”

Ending each lesson with a quiz reinforces agent accountability and ensures agents understand the subject matter. 

“We finish all of our Lessonly lessons with a quiz,” Livingston said. “We also like to use real tickets from Zendesk so agents can practice responding to requests that align with the material.”

Connecting the dots between MaestroQA and Lessonly makes it easier to identify training gaps and collaborate on new opportunities. For example, shortly after implementing the integration, Zola’s CX team identified the need for brand voice and call de-escalation training lessons.

“Now that we have a great workflow for assigning lessons from MaestroQA, we’re experiencing more lightbulb moments,” Livingston said. “We’re creating more lessons in Lessonly, and, as a result, we’re assigning more lessons from MaestroQA.”

Developing better training content and assigning more lessons translates into better equipped agents, healthier coaching sessions, and, ultimately, happier customers.

“Integrating MaestroQA with Lessonly has helped Zola close the feedback loop between quality and training,” Livingston said. “We appreciate the fact that MaestroQA built this integration, as it’s really helped us improve our operations.”

Streamline Your QA and Training Workflows with MaestroQA 

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