Mastering quality control in customer service: a comprehensive guide

Jan 23, 2024
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Did you know 47% of customers will stop buying from a company if they receive mediocre customer service? Not even bad service, but mediocre.. this really signals the importance of customer service.

With consumers in the driver seat, if you aren’t able to offer great customer support, you’re going to get beat by the competition.

Whether you’re a startup in a growth phase, or you’re wanting to increase your perceived value in the marketplace, it’s important you master quality control in customer service. Quality control customer service is all about maintaining great customer service regardless of how your business is growing or scaling.

In this guide, we break down the fundamentals of quality control in customer service so you can continue to remain competitive within your industry, and even differentiate.

What is quality control in customer service?

Before we dive into customer service quality control, let’s back up a bit. Quality control is a term that desires the process of ensuring a product or service meets the intended standards the users or customers expect of it. This typically includes deciding on a specific standard and following a system to define whether or not the service passes quality checks.

In customer service, this means maintaining the integrity and quality of the service you offer your customers on a daily basis. Quality assurance in customer service, or support QA has become the standard for businesses looking to maintain high quality service. Ultimately seeking to drive customer loyalty, improve retention, and revenue.

The question is, how do you accurately measure how well your service is?

Unlike product quality control, it’s not so simple. With products, you can simply test them for durability, and effectiveness, since you're working with a tangible, physical item.

However, with customer service, it’s not so straightforward to evaluate quality. This is where quality control metrics come in.To maintain high standards in your service department, you should track metrics like reply time, first contact resolution, and satisfaction.

The role of QA in customer service

Quality assurance, or assured QA in customer service is a critical method to ensure you maintain high levels of service for your customers. If you want to maintain great service, you need to understand how QA fits into your customer engagement and support strategy.

The most important part of service QA is to continuously evaluate customer support team members and the resolution process.

Here are a few categories you can use to evaluate QA in customer service:

  • Helpfulness 
  • Grammar
  • Emotional intelligence (empathy)
  • Understanding the customer 

Each category can consist of several criteria. For example, under “Helpfulness” you want to score your customer support team on how human or ‘robotic’ they sound during the conversation. You can use a simple score of 1 to 5 on each individual category.

The individual subcategories you use under the four main categories aren’t set in stone, and we won't set them either. Instead, come up with subcategories that make sense for you, your business, and goals.

Benefits of quality control in customer service

Just how important is quality control in customer service? Well, in today’s fast-paced world, consumers demand better and faster service than ever before.

To ensure you’re keeping up with the demands of your customers, you need to make sure you offer the best customer service possible. Here are a few reasons why you implementing a customer service quality control plan will benefit your business:

1. Gain visibility into team performance

The first thing you’ll notice when you start your quality control program is that you’ll immediately start to see how your customer support team is actually doing. You’ll gain insights into areas they’re struggling in and areas they’re doing well in.

Tracking metrics like customer effort score, net promoter score, and customer satisfaction score, will help you understand how each of your individual support team members are doing in their job. Beyond that, you’ll be able to see how well they’re following internal guidelines, and if they provide a complete solution to a customer’s problem.

2. Improve team performance

Once you can see how your team is doing, you can work to improve their performance. 

If you don’t know what’s going on with your team, you can’t optimise. But, with quality control, you’ll be able to identify areas of improvement and create an action plan to improve them.

3. Improve customer happiness

One of the best benefits of implementing quality control in your customer service is that your customers will be happier. In fact, 76% of businesses believe that reviewing conversations helps improve customer satisfaction scores.

4. Gain insights into product or service improvements

Not only will your customers be happier with better quality control, but you’ll be able to find other ways to improve your business. For example, when you start taking a closer look at customer feedback, you’re going to spot other areas they want improved like products or services.

5. Streamline support processes

With better customer service quality control, you’ll find out what processes are holding back your support team and hindering their ability to offer great service.

By analysing these different operational inefficiencies, you’ll be able to make improvements to your overall customer service processes, automate key processes, and improve overall team productivity.

6. Understand why customers churn

Now that you’re looking at customer feedback closer, you’ll spot bigger challenges. You’ll see products or services that fall short of their expectations, leading customers to cut the conversation short.

With this golden information, you’ll be able to improve your business to reduce churn and promote long-term loyalty.

7. Speed up onboarding

Nearly 74% of businesses believe reviewing support conversations helps onboard new customer support team members. 

With better customer service processes in place, you’ll be able to get new support members up to speed faster than ever so you can start providing excellent customer service quickly.

Measuring and enhancing service quality

So, how exactly do you measure quality control in customer service? You need to use proven formulas and tracking methods.

Here are some of the top methods:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)
  • First contact resolution
  • Average handle time

Most of these are external evaluators. But, if you want to take it to the next level, then you need to also track internal evaluations like conversation reviews via internal quality scores (IQS).

An IQS score is different from business to business, based on your internal quality criteria. Internal evaluations (i.e. conversation reviews measured with IQS) that rate customer interactions based on your internal quality criteria.

IQS looks at the quality of your customer service based on how well your team did their job according to your standards. 

Implementing QA in customer service

Ready to implement customer support quality assurance? Here’s how you get started:

1. Define your standards

The first step in creating a QA strategy is to define your standards of success. Your customer support values are an extension of your business, so you should ensure you’re clear on how you define a successful customer experience.

You should look at your:

  • Brand values
  • Team interests
  • Customer expectations

For some businesses, offering speedy support is the most important. To others, you may find it important to focus on empathy. Other brands want to ensure they’re injecting their brand personality in (i.e. humour).

2. Create a scorecard

Next, it’s time to create a scorecard. A customer service quality control checklist is how you’ll grade your support team on each conversation.

The first component should be a questionnaire – based on your support values from the previous section. You’ll want to craft a set of quality control and customer service questions to ask our team members.

The other component is your system to grade your support team members on each question.

Example questions: 

“Did the support team member follow process A?”

“Did the support team member identify the real problem behind the customer’s question?”

The easiest way to grade each question is a simple 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale.

3. Create a QA team

Now that you have your standards and your scoring system set up, it’s time to hand the reins over to someone on your team to run the quality control operations.

You should create a quality assurance team within your company to lead the quality control. In most cases, this will be your head of customer success or customer support. 

But, you can also create an entire team. This person or team will be responsible for ensuring your customer support team is maintaining high-quality standards in their service — and that the QA scoring and grading are happening regularly.

Case studies and practical examples

If you want to maintain high-quality customer service with effective quality control, you need to learn from those who have seen success already.

While your company is unique in how you will find success with your QA customer service program, you can learn from other companies and how they implemented their own customer service quality assurance programs.

Here are a few examples of businesses with successful quality assurance in customer service:

  • Geckoboard leverages support team feedback to increase product upsells.
  • Wistia regularly conducts peer reviews in groups of three (led by a third-party facilitator).
  • Pipedrive implemented a quality assurance customer service program that increased both IQS and CSAT scores
  • Agorapulse got their entire customer support team to help craft their quality assurance standards and scorecards.

High quality customer service starts with you

The future of business is incredible customer service. If you want to remain competitive moving forward, you need to find new ways to maintain and improve the level of customer support you offer your audience.

Quality assurance and quality control in customer service is a non-negotiable if you want to thrive as a business. By implementing QA in customer service, you’ll be able to optimise team performance, improve customer support, and grow your business.

Get started today

Improve the quality of your customer service and try Trengo today. Our customer engagement platform makes it easy to streamline all conversations and QA check based on both team and automation efforts.

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