Performing Quality Assurance isn’t really fun for anyone. It’s certainly necessary if you want to ensure that your agents are working effectively and appropriately, but there’s no denying that “being watched” is a turnoff for most, if not all, employees. Constant monitoring of workers can feel like an implication of poor performance or even like a punishment for those who know they haven’t been performing well.
How do you do Quality Assurance the right way, so your staff feels good about it? When done correctly, quality assurance benefits everyone. Your agents will learn and advance, your company will perform well, and your customers will be satisfied with their experiences. Do it right, and QA is a win-win-win! Additionally, QA is a crucial part of your company’s growth — tracking customer service quality as your customer base grows will reveal the wide variety of expectations your agents need to meet.
First off, it’s worth noting that some people make a career out of Quality Assurance. A Quality Assurance Specialist will often monitor phone calls to determine the accuracy of information and quality delivered in customer service exchanges. Again, no employee wants someone breathing down their neck while they answer calls. To keep things light in the workplace, here are some ways that you, or your QA Specialist, can use QA to boost agent engagement and morale.
Employees want to advance in their careers and make more money. As a result, many of them are more open to training than you might expect.
Training is important as part of their onboarding, but it needs to be a continuing conversation throughout their time with your company.
Commit to training on best practices from day one and then offer (or mandate) further training periodically to help your agents keep up with changes in the customer service industry.
Much like training, live coaching is a great way to help your employees develop their skills. Agents are sometimes uncomfortable with QA after the call has already taken place through monitoring recorded interactions. Not only does this not help the customer at the moment, but it can feel to some employees like you allowed them to fail.
Live coaching — one-on-one explanation during a call — helps guide agents toward best practices and feels less like criticism.
Who doesn’t hope to earn some recognition or reward for their hard work? An incentive plan, whether it’s separate or a part of your compensation structure, is a good way to motivate your agents to perform well. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Small gift cards, company swag, or even some sort of token or certificate that can be displayed offer a way to recognize your employees and highlight their accomplishments. Give them something to show off, and they’ll work hard to earn it.
Give Them Confidence
Agents will absolutely feel better going into a customer service experience if they’re well-prepared. Of course, this needs to begin on day one with training and other onboarding activities. But nothing can keep their confidence up like ascript.
Sure, interactions with customers will go off script a lot of the time. Well-trained employees will know how to get the customer back into the script and/or assist with their unique problems. This all starts with a base script, from which your agents can learn to build new conversations and find solutions more easily.
Give Group Feedback
It can be difficult to take face-to-face criticism as an individual. Sometimes, this needs to be done anyway, as employees need to know what they’re doing incorrectly.
A good approach for giving general feedback is to address a group or team as a whole. Gathering as a group often has its benefits: McKinsey encourages frequent “huddles” to communicate best practices and boost morale.
When you do this, you need to be sure that you aren’t singling out anyone agent in front of their team. Focus on team accomplishments and metrics. Let them know how they’re doing in the customer’s eyes and what you see as inconsistencies in their work without using names.
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But most importantly, praise the group and offer them ways to grow. Speaking to the whole team can minimize the blow of criticism and let you address concerns in a way that can make all parties aware of areas for improvement.
The more information you have about your team, the better you can guide them toward effective customer service interactions.
Set up a software dashboard so you can get quick looks at the numbers that are most important to you on a daily basis. Integrate metrics from all of your channels and set up a customer review survey or process. Make sure you’re always learning about your team and everything they do.
Your employees might mostly dislike criticism, but if there’s something in it for them, they’ll be more receptive to it. That’s not to say that you have to offer incentives for good behavior — after all, performing your job effectively is simply expected. Many agents will jump at material rewards for their work that go beyond their wages, but sometimes the opportunity to grow and learn will be enough for the rest.
Whether your QA efforts are a one-person effort or you have a specialist in-house to lead the initiative, you have to make sure it’s being done in a way that doesn’t alienate or insult your employees. In truth, poor QA practices that overly criticize agents and discourage them only serve to reduce the quality of your customer service offerings. Keep close tabs on what your staff is doing right and wrong, but make sure you are delivering that information to them in a thoughtful way to avoid a decline in department morale.
See how Playvox workforce engagement management software can help you boost agent engagement and morale by scheduling a demo today!