Jul 17, 2023
Customer Service Quality Assurance Checklist: What It Is, Who It Benefits & How to Create One
Service Experiencequality assurancequality monitoringSupport Quality Monitoring Tools
Checking completed items off a to-do list isn’t just satisfying—it’s science. Research tells us that when we make a plan to guide us toward a goal, we’re more likely to achieve the goal and focus better on other tasks in the meantime.
So it’s only natural that checklists can improve agent performance and customer satisfaction in customer service quality assurance (QA).
A customer service quality assurance checklist is a must to ensure your call center agents meet your organization’s QA standards.
We talked to Harish Batlapenumarthy, VP of Ecosystem at SupportLogic, to understand how a quality assurance checklist can take your agents’ performance to the next level.
What is a customer service quality assurance checklist?
A customer service quality assurance checklist is a collection of metrics and standards your customer service center uses to evaluate agent performance.
Customer service quality assurance (QA) is the process of reviewing the interactions and conversations your support agents have with customers. QA aims to help your agents deliver world-class customer support.
A customer service QA checklist is similar to a QA scorecard, which is a rubric that managers or support leaders use to grade an agent’s customer interactions. The checklist ensures your support agents are handling interactions in a manner that aligns with your company’s branding, voice, regulations, and more. Customer support quality assurance checklists measure metrics like customer satisfaction, average response time, tone, issue resolution, and more.
Why is creating a QA checklist important?
Each contact center has different quality assurance goals, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all checklist. Creating your own personalized checklist helps you keep your team on track and following the internal standards you’ve set.
A QA checklist helps you focus on your specific goals. For example, is your company more concerned with reducing churn? Then you’d focus your QA efforts on how swiftly and satisfactorily agents address issues from customers who are already unhappy and marked as churn risks.
Take a company like Salesforce, for example. Their support agents are probably fielding very technical questions in their call center, says Batlapenumarthy. Those types of calls can often require a lot of back and forth to resolve the problem. So, the focus of Salesforce’s QA checklist might be less on an agent being cordial and more on how they handled the issue.
Who benefits from a customer service quality assurance checklist?
Several areas of your organization benefit from a customer service quality assurance checklist—your customers, your agents, and even your company’s bottom line.
Primarily, customer service agents benefit most from a QA checklist. Their managers use the customer service QA checklist to analyze the interactions, coach the agents in areas where they may need some improvement, and praise them for things they’re doing well.
Benefits for agents can increase even more if you use an automated quality assurance tool like SupportLogic’s Elevate SX. It has a default checklist/template based on data and signals extracted from calls. Agents don’t have to feel frustrated that their performance is being based on just one or two randomly selected interactions because the auto QA analyzes 100% of them.
“So if I’m an agent or a customer support rep, let’s say I solved 100 issues this month,” Batlapenumarthy explains. “My manager or somebody on the staff randomly samples one or two. And they’ll say, ‘In these two tickets that we pulled, you messed up here, but you’re doing well in this one.’ And I’m going to say, ‘I resolved 100 cases or 100 issues. You picked one, and you’re saying I messed up. And the other 99, you have no idea what I’ve done.’ But as a manager, I’m going to say, ‘My bandwidth is limited. I randomly pulled one, and you screwed up here, and that’s where it is,’ right?”
Obviously, this can leave agents feeling short-changed or like the review process could be more balanced. But automated QA means managers see the full picture of their agents’ interactions. There is no randomness or bias because the tool’s machine learning is objective, and agents are fairly monitored and evaluated based on their overall performance and can improve their workflows accordingly.
And as agent performance improves, so do other areas.
Managers also benefit from a QA checklist because they can follow a guide when monitoring customer interactions, so they know exactly what to look for in each interaction.
However, that monitoring is laborious and time-consuming. This is when automated QA can come in handy. Automated QA gives support managers the ability to monitor 100% of customer interactions, not just a small, random sampling. And instead of support managers having to manually monitor hundreds of customer interactions, analyze them, and then coach their agents, automated QA does the heavy lifting. This gives you more time to work directly with and train your agents, so they can more effectively serve their customers.
Customers benefit from a QA checklist, too. Managers are able to spend more time helping their customer service team. Agents are able to get a comprehensive look at their performance and make improvements to effectively meet customer expectations.
So, in the end, customers are receiving improved customer service because agents are better equipped to solve customer issues and exhibit empathy.
How to create a customer service quality assurance checklist
Creating your company-specific customer service quality assurance checklist boils down to determining which best practices you want your agents to follow and what metrics you’ll track that reflect those best practices.
Start by pinpointing your goals and what agents need to prioritize on calls. Depending on the company and industry, you might want more emphasis on empathy rather than issue resolution or vice versa.
The list of standards you’re evaluating for agents to follow will include key metrics that are good indicators of what your support agents are doing right and areas where they may need some guidance. Some examples of quantitative metrics to track include:
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a customer experience metric and key performance indicator (KPI) that measures how satisfied a consumer is with your product or service, an interaction with an agent, or the brand overall.
- First contact resolution (FCR), also known as first call resolution, is the percentage of customer service tickets that agents resolve on the first attempt.
- Churn rate is the percentage of customers that stop purchasing or subscribing to a service annually.
- Average handle time (AHT) is the average amount of time required to resolve a service request.
In addition to key metrics, agents’ soft skills are equally important to track. These soft skills are how agents relate to the customers they interact with and include:
- Empathy — shows the agent understands the feelings and experiences of the people they interact with
- Responsiveness — assures the customer the rep is actively listening and working toward a resolution
- Tone — sets a positive, friendly style for the call
- Flexibility — demonstrates the agent can handle the ebb and flow of a call
Boost your agent coaching with automated QA
Creating a standard customer service quality assurance checklist is a great way to maintain the standards you’ve set for agents to follow. But what if the checklist needs to do more?
Support agents have one of the highest churn rates compared to other professions. According to Batlapenumarthy, between 30% and 35% of customer support reps churn on average. Effective coaching ensures your agent onboarding process is well-spent and helps agents improve their call center quality assurance skills. But most importantly, it can reduce the stress agents feel because they have the tools they need to solve customers’ problems more effectively.
Take a tour of SupportLogic’s Elevate SX to see the benefits of automated QA or explore more of our auto QA resources below.