The Best Quality Assurance Practices for Chat Support

Published on Feb 19, 2018 by Maryann Thomas

In an age where an increasing number of people are living online, companies and brands have rightly identified live chat to be one of the strongest ways to connect with their customer base, be it via a tablet, desktop or mobile.


In a previous blog, we discussed how live chat was proving to be popular as a customer service channel, and even increased levels of customer satisfaction, beating the traditional options such as phone and email.


If your company is already using live chat as a channel to assist and connect with your customer base, then the unique challenges it poses need to be addressed and included within the quality assurance (QA) you may already have in place in your organization.


Why Do You Need QA for Chat Support


No matter the size of your company, the basic principles surrounding a QA process for chat support remain the same. A QA process is necessary to not only evaluate agent performance, but also to measure the success of your chat support efforts, thereby improving standards across your customer service channels. Here’s why it matters:

  • - A QA process will ensure that the customer service provided via chat is in line with the bigger picture, the overall company objectives and vision.
  • - A QA process will uncover crucial details that can help you focus your training on improving the quality of customer service provided during chat.
  • - It helps to coach and mould agent performance as part of their continuous improvement helping to boost employee engagement and retention.

Despite these benefits, many companies fail to track and monitor the effectiveness of chat support - a lost opportunity for companies as they simply miss out on gaining crucial insights, and identifying strengths and potential areas of improvement, that can greatly benefit the business in the long run.


Here we look at some basic practices that can serve as a foundation upon which you can build a QA procedure for chat support.


Define Goals or Indicators of Success


What are you looking to get out of chat support services? Are you looking to increase customer satisfaction by providing a positive experience for each customer? Or, are you looking to build trust and rapport with a younger generation of prospects/customers of your product or service?


Set clear SMART goals, based on a review of ongoing performance. Whatever your aim might be, make sure it ties in with your larger customer service objectives as well as the goals and values of your organization as a whole.


Finally, make sure you share this goal with every member of your team so that everyone is involved in the QA process and works together to make it a success.


Establish Quality Monitoring Criteria or KPIs


While reviewing your agent’s performance, you need to create a list of criteria to evaluate them. Some examples could include:

  • - Politeness/tone - are they being courteous while dealing with the customer?
  • - Professionalism - are they displaying expertise and conveying this in a professional manner?
  • - Communication skills - are they able to communicate clearly and succinctly?
  • - Chat response time - how long are they taking to respond to the customer?
  • - Query resolution quality - did the customer receive the correct solution?

Celebrate Strengths and Address Shortcomings


As part of the QA process, recognize top performers, share best practices and showcase successful chat sessions that have led to happy customers. This helps to encourage and motivate employees, and can give them a benchmark to work towards. You can even use instances of top quality chat interactions to incentivize agents who have shown consistent performance.


If an agent’s performance is inadequate or needs improving, give them detailed feedback on how they could have handled the situation better. With continuous improvement in mind, encourage an atmosphere where they can discuss their questions and doubts in an open and transparent manner. A commitment towards getting the best out of your agents and developing their skill sets will go a long way to enhancing loyalty and retention.


Provide Ongoing Coaching and Training


Make training and coaching a dynamic part of your QA process by continually improving and updating processes to help your agents reach their full potential. Get agents to sit in on live chats, and mock chats and on-the-job demos to develop their skills and familiarise them with different kinds of interactions and situations. Use real-life win or fail examples to illustrate difficulties and surprises which may arise while on a live chat and how to respond to them.


Gather and Use Customer Feedback


A QA program won’t be successful unless the focus is on meeting the needs of your customers. Putting yourself in their shoes and hearing from them directly is a valuable way to identify what works and what doesn’t.  A simple way to do this is to generate a short survey or questionnaire right after every chat session.


Insights gained from customer feedback can be used to tweak and calibrate your QA procedure so that you can provide personalized service that speaks directly to their needs.


Hire a QA Manager to Take Things to the Next Level


To steer your QA procedure in the right direction, consider recruiting a QA specialist or manager to oversee, chart out and work on the finer details of the process, leaving your customer service or success manager free to work on customer interaction, agent performance and sales.


A Well Planned QA Process is a Must

 

We live in a time where a single negative customer service experience can escalate and spread quickly via social media or instant messaging apps, and potentially damage the reputation of your business.

 

To stay ahead of the competition, and to ensure that you have all your bases covered, it is necessary now more than ever to monitor, review and keep track of every customer service interaction so that you’re able to navigate the difficulties and challenges agents face on a daily basis. This is why a robust QA process is paramount.

 

Setting SMART goals, identifying KPIs, gathering customer feedback, and delivering consistent performance-based coaching and training to your agents - are all helpful aspects to consider while planning your QA strategy for chat support.

 

Implementing a successful QA program will not only lead to satisfied employees by way of continuous improvement, but will also boost customer happiness and loyalty, and finally, the growth of your company - isn’t that the point after all?

 

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Topics: customer support