When you start your brand, you put care and attention into every customer interaction. As you go through the Customer Service Team, you learn to train agents to do a good job. But as the team grows, especially when you start to hire managers, it could be tough to maintain your expectation of quality. You can feel like the quality is breaking down at a certain point.
Not only does bad customer service tarnish a brand which brings down sales, but it can also significantly increase expenses due to the sheer inefficiencies of bad processes. A double whammy hit to profits!
While it might feel like the quality is breaking down, the problem is that you have not defined quality clearly enough and, therefore, you have not given your team the ability to manage quality effectively.
If you slow down and define quality, you can measure it. If you're systematic with measurement and coaching, you can improve it. If you measure and coach consistently, you won't have the issue of bad quality that affects profitability.
At HelpFlow, we run 24/7 Live Chat and Customer Service Teams for over 100+ stores. Some clients use us for live chat to drive conversations. Some use us to run their entire customer service operation (agents, managers, systems, etc.). Others use us to supplement their in-house team with additional rockstar agents when needed. Regardless of the situation, we are extremely methodical and how we run things in quality is a big part of our focus. We've managed 100s of agents and millions of customer conversations and used that scale to refine our processes constantly.
In this post, we'll dive into an overview of how we measure and manage quality so you can apply it to your customer service operation as you scale.
Let's get into it.
Many stores initially use customer feedback ratings as their sole measure of quality. While this is absolutely a metric that should be tracked and managed, it should not be the sole measure of the quality of a customer service agent interaction.
A customer feedback rating can be skewed negative by factors outside of the conversation, such as product quality, marketing experience, etc.
It's important to focus quality measurement on agent-level factors so you can coach agents to improve the quality experience.
The best approach is to use a mix of customer satisfaction ratings and internal quality reviews. An internal quality review is a structured way to gauge the interaction quality, focused on what happened during the conversation.
By measuring both, you can watch for trends in customer satisfaction vs. internal quality reviews and provide coaching or business level process changes to improve both.
The internal quality review process is structured to review the conversation to gauge quality. That can sound a bit intimidating, but it's quite simple when you break down the elements of the experience and focus on improving the quality review process over time.
First, you need to define how you want customers to feel. What is the result of a great customer experience with your agents that you can clearly define and communicate?
Once you have that clarified, determine specific aspects of the conversation that would indicate that this has been achieved.
For example, if "wowing customers" is something you want to happen, then measuring quality by "explicit expression of gratitude" is helpful. One of the elements in your review process would be "Did the customer explicitly express significant gratitude, such as 'thanks so much!' rather than just cursory 'thanks'?"
You could also watch for the opposite signs to catch situations where the customer wasn't wowed and use that to feed the quality coaching process.
By defining specific aspects of a conversation that measure if the desired feeling was created in customers, you could bring structure to the quality review process.
Once you have these defined, you can set up a quality review process to review a % of all customer interactions and score them. You can have a dedicated manager do the reviews or even peer-review process. The important thing to watch for in your review process is ensuring that reviewers score the same chats similarly. If they're not, you either need to train the review process more deeply - or possibly change the elements of the reviews.
During the reviews, the agent should be provided with feedback on what went well and what could be improved. Specific feedback is important so that you can distill it down into a coaching opportunity for the agent.
Once you've got a batch of reviews for your agents, you can start to see trends of improvements that are needed.
You might notice most agents are good at something but one agent struggles with it. That means that the agent should be coached directly. But you'll also see situations where multiple agents struggle with the same issue, which means an improvement to the customer service process may be needed along with deeper training.
Sharing feedback in coaching sessions via reviews, one-on-one, and even sharing internal quality scores across the team creates a culture of coaching and improvement. This is what really starts to improve quality and execution on a team - but it all starts at the agent level, measuring and managing the improvement of conversations on an agent by agent basis.
Having a single customer service rockstar is easy once you find them, but scaling into a large customer service team is tough. The key to success is defining quality, measuring it, and managing it through constant coaching.
Hopefully, this breakdown helps you do that more easily.
We run Customer Service Teams for over 100 e-commerce stores. Some clients use us to run their entire operation, while other clients ask for a supplemental in-house team with additional agents. Either way, we work deeply with each client to help them constantly improve their entire CS operation.
We run a deep dive Strategy Planning process with anyone considering working with us. We identify how many agents you need, process gaps that can be improved to avoid spending on unneeded agents, and generally show you the power of how we can work together.
Even if we don't end up working together, you'll get a ton of value from the process. Book a time today at http://helpflow.com/services/customer-service-teams/.
If you want to dive into more content, be sure to check out our blogs. We've got posts on customer service metrics, training, onboarding tips, and even deep dive forecasting tutorials to ensure you are staffed right for upcoming sale seasons.