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How to update your QA scorecard

Because QA scorecards represent a snapshot of your company’s values, CX processes, and communication style, they need to get updated at least every six months. That way, they’re still aligned with your ever-evolving brand and CX goals. 

There are a couple of other moments that should prompt a scorecard re-evaluation on your team: 

Updated Brand Values 

QA scorecards represent your company’s values. When your values change and you’re presented with a new brand values handbook, your scorecards should change, too. 

For example, the communication section of your scorecard may regulate the use of certain words, such as referring to customers as “members,” or check for a friendly tone of voice. These practices may change as your brand matures and evolves. 

A Push for Increased Efficiency 

It could be a new C-suite hire or a company-wide call to “do more with less”. Whatever the trigger, a push for increased efficiency is something that most teams go through. Grading takes time—but sometimes, it takes way too long. 

Fewer CX Insights Observed 

Trustworthy CX insights are the primary goal of any strategic QA program. When these insights start to dry up, it’s time to re-evaluate your QA scorecard. 

The “insightfulness” of a QA program is not easily measured, but experienced CX managers know when their QA programs are not delivering the same level of insights and when it’s time to switch things up 🌀

Signals from QA Data 

Your QA data can also provide powerful signals for determining when to re-evaluate your scorecards. A few indicators to keep your eye on: 

Stagnant QA Scores: Handy’s CX team also noticed that their agents consistently scored in the high 90s. While some might see this as cause for celebration, they decided to dig deeper into their scorecards and settled on grading only tickets with negative CSAT scores. MeUndies noticed a similar trend and realized that stagnant QA scores were leading to flat CSAT scores—and lackluster customer interactions. They decided that a revamp was in order. If you’re a team that’s constantly scoring high and wondering how to gain more QA insights, this approach might be worth exploring. But, if your team’s average QA score is in the mid-70s and showing no signs of improvement, shifting the goalposts is less likely to be beneficial. 

Increase in Agent Appeals: When an increasing number of agents appeal their grades, it can mean that your scorecard is misaligned with agent training and procedures. 

Graders Missing their Grading Targets: If graders are missing their grading targets, there might be an efficiency issue with your scorecards. They might be structured in a way that’s difficult to interpret or have too many questions, which leads to long grading times. Pro tip: if you don’t have dedicated QA specialists and managers are pulling double duty to grade, that could be the real reason behind missed targets.

Here’s how to refresh a scorecard—in checklist form

The writing’s on the wall and it’s time to give your old scorecards a shakeup. Follow these five steps, and you’ll get exactly what you need. 

Step 1: Get Insights from Stakeholders 

Speak to all relevant stakeholders in the grading process including your CX managers, QA specialists, and agents to figure out what needs to be improved or changed—they have first-hand knowledge on the ins and outs of how they work. They’ll also be the most affected by a QA scorecard that isn’t delivering value, so their happiness with the scorecard is a good indicator of how it’s performing.

Step 2: Look for Ways to Simplify Your QA Scorecard 

Scorecards can be, well, complicated. There are a few ways to simplify them—making for faster, easier grading that doesn’t sacrifice on meaningful agent performance insights.

Eliminate Questions: this one’s simple—reduce the amount of questions or steps in your QA scorecard. If a question isn’t delivering insights or addresses a topic you aren’t grading on anymore, consider removing it.

Eliminating even one question can have a measurable impact. Let’s say that you grade 500 tickets per week, and each question requires 10 seconds to grade—that’s 83 minutes per week back for your graders! 😲

Reorganize Questions: One efficiency hack you can try is grouping similar questions together. For example, questions like, “Did the agent greet the customer?” and, “Did the agent ask if there were any other issues before ending interaction?” could be grouped together because they deal with similar procedures. This approach works really well for relatively short and quick interactions.

Alternatively, you could space questions out throughout the scorecard to follow the flow of a customer interaction. The question about greeting the customer would be at the beginning of the scorecard, and the question about solving other issues would be at the end. This approach works really well for long, intense conversations.

Step 3: Re-examine Company Values and Policies 

If you’re updating your scorecard to align with new brand values, make sure that these values are unambiguously infused into the scorecard. 

SeatGeek, the world’s largest online event ticket search engine, has done a good job infusing brand values into its scorecard. When the value of “humanity” was added to the company’s brand values, the QA team created a specific humanity section in the scorecard and included clear parameters for getting a perfect grade. 

While you’re evaluating your scorecard for brand values, you can also check for any policy changes too. This might include updates to your security, identity verification, or refund policies. Like brand values, policies should be stated on the scorecard and unambiguously communicated to agents to ensure adoption and follow-through.

Step 4: Ensure that Your Scorecard + QA Data is Easy to Interpret 

This one seems simple but can be tough—make sure your QA results are easy to access and interpret. Doing so will ensure maximum engagement with your QA program and provide agents with necessary insights for improvement. 

eCommerce marketplace Mercari had a QA program with a passing grade of 96%, which meant there were only 4 percentage points between perfection and failure. Agents struggled to understand the program and felt that it was both extremely rewarding and punitive. Mercari revamped the program to feature a 5-point scale with an accompanying scorecard, making QA results a lot easier to understand, which led to increasing agent engagement and performance. 

Another way to make your QA data easy to interpret is by removing subjectivity from your scorecards. You can do this by utilizing quantifiable question formats—like checkboxes or Yes/No questions— instead of open-ended written feedback (which should be used to supplement or give context to those grades). This allows grades to be easily compared across time periods—it’s clear for an agent to see that their performance has improved by 10% when their QA score increases from 80% to 88%. On the other hand, it’s hard to compare performance improvements based on subjective, written feedback.

Step 5: A/B Test Your Scorecards 

Be sure to thoroughly test any changes against an older version of your scorecard. If you grade 100 tickets per day, try grading 50 with the old scorecard (A) and 50 with new scorecard (B) and then compare the experience and results. 

If you’re trying to decrease grading time, consider tracking how long it takes to grade the tickets in scorecard A vs B. If your new scorecard provides a significant efficiency improvement and you’re still gleaning high-quality insights, you have a winner! 

Repeat this process for all changes that you’d like to make. You may not always see sizable improvements, but taking an incremental approach is the best way to know that your changes are having an impact.