Scaling your customer support facilities is essential to cope with increasing demand. If you don’t, you run the risk of leaving calls unanswered, tickets unsolved and social-media messages without a response (in full view of other customers).
If you’re in a position to scale your customer service, it’s a sign that things are going well. However, the more support agents you hire and the more interactions taking place, the harder it is to keep track of your CX.
No matter how big your workforce becomes, you cannot afford to get complacent about your CX. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says,
“it’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
That’s why you have to start scaling quality assurance (QA) to maintain great service — but how?
#1. Does Team Structure Need Revising?
Scaling quality assurance provides the ideal opportunity to assess your current team structures, and identify ways in which you can achieve better performance overall.
For example, does your workforce handle all customer interactions or do you have specific departments (such as Complaints, Sales, Technical etc.)? The former structure may seem effective, but allowing agents to focus on certain issues only can mean a higher standard of service.
Why? Agents will have more specialized expertise and be better equipped to answer all of a customer’s questions, without bouncing the caller from one agent to the next in the hope of solving their problem. Even if a response isn’t on their system, their own knowledge can plug the gaps.
Incorporating leadership into each department or team helps reinforce your QA program too. A team leader and/or senior agent will be able to oversee behavior, monitor development and cultivate a stronger work ethic. They may also serve as a liaison between your QA analysts and the workforce.
#2. Reassess your Channels and Reach
Are you taking full advantage of the proliferation of communication tools available today? Phones, live chat, email and social media all offer contact centers or customer-service departments invaluable flexibility when interacting with customers.
Scaling quality assurance is the ideal opportunity to consider if you need to expand or streamline your communication channels. Small support workforces cannot afford to spread themselves too thin, but it’s vital to make reaching your agents as convenient as possible for customers.
Bear in mind, too, that an increase in channels equates to an increase in the amount of monitoring required. Be sure your quality assurance analysts can cope with their workload, or hire more. Never underestimate the importance of effective QA.
#3. Make the Most of Automation
Cutting-edge QA software makes scaling quality assurance program far easier. A system capable of integrating with CRM and service platforms will centralize all of your crucial data, allowing QA analysts to access all the information they need from multiple touchpoints in seconds.
Automating repetitive administrative tasks helps QA analysts, managers and agents boost their productivity, reducing time wasted on jobs without real value. For example, random customer interactions can be assigned for review automatically, freeing up analysts’ time, maintaining neutrality and creating a balanced overview.
#4. Update your QA Calibration
Quality assurance calibration is a critical element of the entire process. Bringing a group of individuals from across your workforce (including QA analysts, managers and agents) to agree on an effective scoring model ensures fairness and consistency.
When scaling quality assurance, take time to host a new calibration session if you haven’t done so in some time. This allows you to incorporate changes in policy, feedback from customers and more. New employees or analysts hired as part of your scaling quality assurance can familiarize themselves with the standards of work expected too.
Calibration can either require the group to evaluate interactions separately or together, before reaching a final scoring decision as one.
#5. Incentivize Staff as Workloads Increase
One obvious effect of scaling quality assurance is an increase in work. If you hire more agents, QA analysts will have a larger group to monitor and deliver feedback to.
Using a reliable QA system helps analysts keep track of interactions, feedback and ideas for training / coaching, but it can still be difficult for analysts to cope with increased demand.
Likewise, providing support agents with specific targets to hit and metrics to consider may make their job tougher too. Research shows unhappy employees are less productive, and will feel under-motivated to provide a great customer experience.
You can boost morale and cultivate a happier, more engaged workforce by offering real incentives. Gift cards, extra paid time off, vouchers for a restaurant and more can all help staff to aim higher.
#6. Leverage Agents’ Valuable Experience
When scaling quality assurance, take full advantage of the talent you already have access to rather than looking for external expertise.
Some agents have been serving customers for longer than others. This equips them with more experience of handling issues, managing those with difficult attitudes and learning from mistakes.
Draw on this experience when devising feedback, coaching and training sessions as part of your quality assurance program. Invite experienced members of staff to identify colleagues’ flaws, create effective training techniques and help other agents progress.
#7. Be Consistent, Be Committed
Good quality assurance depends on consistency and commitment. You can’t hire QA analysts to monitor interactions, provide feedback, deliver training — and then let them go after a few weeks.
You have to make quality assurance an ongoing part of your everyday operations. Keep tracking agents’ development and progress, to make sure coaching is actually having the desired impact.
This can be harder when scaling quality assurance, but maintaining a consistent approach is essential to long-term success.
Scaling your quality assurance program is an integral aspect of maintaining a high standard of customer service, regardless of how much or how fast your company expands.
These seven killer ways to effectively scale your QA program will help you keep track of your employees’ performance and productivity as you expand. Never let ongoing success fool you into complacency.