Building a quality assurance framework doesn’t happen by itself. It requires close coordination between QA management and customer support, working together to identify gaps in your customer service performance. Our ebook, How to Build a Successful Omnichannel QA Program That Actually Works, highlights the importance of management cooperation to ensure that agents deliver consistent quality across multiple channels.
This means companies who build a quality assurance framework that guarantees customers the service they need, where and when they need it, have a significant competitive advantage compared to companies that don’t.
How to create consistent quality
First, define what you mean by “good quality”. Find out what that looks like from your customers’ point of view. What do your customers want when they contact you?
When you know what represents a successful customer service interaction, you’ll be able to create objective, measurable expectations for your agents based on your customers’ real needs. You’ll have a set of metrics you can use to evaluate quality and determine which agents are doing well and which ones need help.
Listen to the Voice of the Customer
Regular VOC surveys let you know exactly where you are succeeding and what needs work. The final judges of your customer service are your customers. For instance, if your customer support staff have gone over AHT (Average Handling Time), but your customers are happy, then perhaps those limits need to be reconsidered.
Express your brand
Customer support staff are representatives of your culture and mission. Train employees to match your brand image. Having a strong company culture where staff lives and breathes the essence of the brand makes it just that much easier for them to transmit what your company is all about when they get on the front lines.
Accept negative feedback graciously
No matter how unpleasant it may be to deal with customer complaints, they are insights which you can use to improve your processes. Less than 4% of customers will let their complaints be heard by your staff – most of them just leave (and complain to family, friends, and social media). A customer who reaches out to you is giving you the chance to resolve the issue.
Set your customer service for success
Train agents to meet your quality standards. They are the bedrock upon which you’re building a quality assurance framework. Give them the tools to face the different challenges they’ll encounter and how to excel in their specialty.
Get a top-notch CRM
A complete and up-to-date knowledge base has every client’s history across all contact points and vital customer information your agents need to deliver top-notch service. It also helps you anticipate your customers’ needs and personalize your communication with them.
Ensure quick response times
Now that customers can contact you at any time, day or night, many expect you to be right there to throw the ball back. The faster you respond, the better. Some channels, such as live chat and voice, are instantaneous.
Customers expect a response to social media posts within 24 hours, while email shouldn’t take more than 2 days.
Rocking each channel for omnichannel support
Beyond the traditional phone support, customers expect you to meet them where they are, whether that is social media, internet forums, or YouTube video comments. Unfortunately, customers are not satisfied – according to recent research, 41% of companies don’t even reply to customer service emails.
When building a quality assurance framework, consider the skills of each individual customer support staff and the possible difficulties of each channel – and train your agents to navigate around them.
For instance, an agent who’s great on voice might need help with the writing skills necessary for good email support.
Someone who’s good at juggling between live chat tickets might find talking to customers emotionally draining.
The personal touch can be difficult to convey through writing. Emotional tone doesn’t come through as easily. Knowing which words to avoid and which words to use are key.
Seemingly harmless words such as but, actually, no and don't might not mean much orally, but can come across as negative in a written message.
Owning email support
A personalized, well-written and researched reply is the best way to go. Email is the ultimate tool that gives your agents the time to look through the customer’s case history so they gain a complete understanding of their concerns.
Yet, how many times have you gotten a response from customer service that was a copy paste answer that didn’t even address your issue? We’ve all been there.
Ideally, the goal is to resolve an issue through one single email exchange.
Chat support at its finest
Live chat shares some of the problems of written customer support, but the real-time one-on-one interaction gives more intimacy and reduces tone issues. Agents should tell the customer when they need to look something up, so they’re not left hanging.
As a bonus, VOC surveys have a much higher response rate when given through live chat compared to other channels.
Cherry picking your social media experts
Assign your best agents to social media duty. Customer support behind social media not only are on the frontlines, but they also have to be able to handle public scrutiny, and clients getting in touch through social media when all other channels have failed.
They need to be able to not only address customer issues, but recognize and defuse trolls and correct misconceptions. What a challenge!
Education is key
Create employee engagement by tailoring your training methods to your staff. Just one won’t do – each method has its pros and cons. They work differently for each staff member, depending on factors such as age and the type of information presented. To get the most out of training, select and combine methods to hold agents’ interest and allow them to best assimilate the required information.
- The traditional classroom is a great way to deliver important information all at once to the whole group, but can be boring.
- Roleplaying gives new staff members the feeling of hands-on experience – use real audio or transcripts for more accuracy.
- On-the-job training is fast, cheap, and authentic, but can be risky and encourage bad habits.
- Online learning management systems let staff train at their own pace and availability, but may be difficult for less tech-savvy members to learn.
Delivering consistent, high-quality, omnichannel customer service requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it.