QA

How to Build the Ultimate QA Scorecard in 2021

Building a QA scorecard doesn’t have to be an unwieldy process if you have the correct tools and approach in place.

To achieve your CX goals, whether it’s improving efficiency, increasing CSAT scores, or reducing churn, it’s important to have a solid quality assurance strategy in place–and a well-designed QA scorecard is your ticket to success. 

In this post, you’re going to learn what you need to know to create an effective QA scorecard, step-by-step. We’ll look at what a QA scorecard is, why they’re crucial for your CX team’s success, and some key considerations to keep in mind when you go to build one yourself. 

What is a QA scorecard, anyway?

A Quality Assurance Scorecard (or QA scorecard) is just what it sounds like: it’s a tool used by a QA analyst, supervisor, or manager to measure and grade the quality of your call center agent’s customer interaction skills.  In other words, it’s a checklist of questions you’ll use to assess your agents’ strengths and weaknesses and to pinpoint issues and areas to improve. Ideally, you should base the content around your company’s values and how those values are applied to all customer service interactions. After all, customer experience is increasingly important. It plays a pivotal role in whether or not customers do business with you, and if they’re not happy, 58% of customers will just go elsewhere. 

Why you need a QA scorecard

Often, call center agents are the only direct contact customers will have with your company. Call center employees are the voice of your company, and as such, they are vitally important to your success. 

You need a QA scorecard to measure what you deem important in customer interactions. You can use them to measure and improve agent performance and as a customer service coaching tool. When you examine your data, you’ll glean insights that will help you improve customer experience strategy as a whole, from hiring and training agents all the way through to improving customer CSAT scores and NPS–or whatever KPIs your call center targets.

It’ll help you retain employees too–agents will be more likely to be successful which will help them feel more satisfied within their jobs. It’s unsurprising that organizations that value employee morale show increased performance and increased profits. 

What benefits do QA scorecards offer?

Customers generally call for one of two reasons: to complain and to find a resolution to a problem. You’ll need to make sure your agents can make the customer feel heard, and only after that, move on to resolving the problem. 

Your QA scorecard will be able to pinpoint what your agent did right and what they did wrong in tricky customer interactions. This will help them to build skills for the next time someone calls to complain. It can also cut the amount of time it takes to resolve issues so that they can move on to other callers. 

A well-designed QA scorecard will also allow you to gather data so you can improve training and run coaching sessions more effectively. If most call center agents have difficulty with resolving one type of issue, you’ll know you need to address that better during onboarding.

Ask your call center agents what they believe are the most important skills for delivering good customer service. This will both help your agents feel valued, and it could give you some ideas on what to target in the future. 

Lastly, you can also evaluate how well coaching is going and where you need to improve. Are your customer service agents responding to coaching? If so, great! If not, what should you do differently?

With that, here are the steps to create an effective QA scorecard  in 2021:

How to develop a QA scorecard

Before you start, you need to keep in mind some clear objectives–the strongest QA scorecards are those that align with business and CX team goals.

First, you’ll need to define your company’s values (if you haven’t already). Think about what’s important to your company: perhaps it’s efficiency or you feel strongly about honesty or transparency. Decide what matters most to your business and keep that at the heart of your QA strategy.

Next, consider your customer service KPIs–what metrics drive your CX strategy? Perhaps it’s the first call resolution rate, your CSAT score, or NPS. Keep these metrics in mind too when drawing up your scorecard.

Finally, think about what matters to your customers and their expectations when they make contact with your call center. This should give you a solid understanding of the ideal customer interaction with your team. For example, a customer may expect:

  1. That they are understood and being listened to
  2. That they are speaking to somebody knowledgeable who can resolve their issue
  3. That the agent cares about their concerns and can empathize with their frustrations

From a combination of these three things (values, business metrics, and customer expectations) a series of questions emerge that should form the basis for your scorecard.

Customer service agents are usually rated on things like attitude, friendliness, efficiency, and connecting to the customer. Once you’ve decided on what particular soft skills are important, you’ll need to decide how to measure them. Ideally, you’ll already have hired people with good emotional intelligence so you won’t have to develop these skills from scratch. Either way, you can rate some soft skills by outcome. Below are some examples:

Responsiveness

Do your agents answer the phone quickly or are customers left dangling on hold for many minutes? Are agents able to answer questions quickly and succinctly? Are there periods of silence while your agents frantically try to find the answer to a question? 

Knowledge

Can your agents answer questions accurately? Are they able to find answers speedily if they don’t know something? Also, can they find updates to products or services quickly? 

Greeting

Did the agent greet the caller with a friendly attitude? Did they maintain their composure if the caller complained about something? The greeting is the customer’s first interaction, so make sure your agents are nailing this aspect of the call. First impressions count!

Problem resolution

Agents need to resolve problems quickly and efficiently. Sometimes the most efficient way to resolve a problem is to transfer the caller to a supervisor or to a different department. How quickly did the agent recognize the need to transfer the caller? If they were able to handle it themselves, was the customer satisfied?

Connection

Connection may be more difficult to objectively measure, but customer connection is extremely important: according to the Harvard Business Review, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than customers who are merely highly satisfied. Emotionally connected customers are more engaged with your brand and they will continue to shop and spend money on your products.

Creating a connection is not always easy. These tips may help:

  • Introduce yourself: It may seem obvious, but so many call centers get this wrong. A quick introduction makes your agent less of a nameless, faceless entity and more of a real person. 
  • Answer with more than one word: Even if a customer asks a yes/no question, you can train your agents to give them a little bit of additional information. 
  • Have the agent tell the customer they value their feedback and their business. 
  • Use the customer’s name, but be careful because this can sound forced if it’s not done well.

One important thing to keep in mind when developing your QA scorecard is the bigger picture. You want customers to feel engaged and connected, and that’s hard to do if your agents are tied to a restrictive script. Customers won’t feel connected to an agent who sounds like a robot. There are times that spontaneous responses from your agents will do more to create that connection than any pre-developed set of metrics will. 

Who is using the scorecard?

Who is evaluating employee performance? You have some options.

  • QA team
  • Agents self-report
  • Peer evaluation
  • Team leaders

You can tinker with this a bit to see what works best. 

Where to build it

Many teams rely on spreadsheets to develop a QA scorecard. Excel or Google sheets both work but this approach can be time-consuming, and prone to error and bias. This is where the right QA software can help, it’ll save you a lot of time, and make the whole process a lot more efficient. And it also comes with a bunch of cool features you can use to get the most from your customer team.

QA scorecard built with Leaptree Optimize

Your first scorecard

Once you’ve decided what your values are and what you want to achieve from agent performance, you may be wondering what specific questions you should include on your checklist. Here are a few examples.

  1. How friendly was the agent? Agents can be taught to answer the phone with a warm and friendly tone. 
  2. Did the agent show active listening skills?
  3. Did the agent communicate in a clear and easy-to-understand way?
  4. Did the agent listen to the customer and correctly identify their issue? Sometimes people call to complain about something and then you find out that’s not really the issue. Did the agent dig a little deeper? 
  5. Did the agent repeat back the customer’s issue in their own words? Did the customer feel listened to and understood? 
  6. Did the agent resolve the issue in one interaction?
  7. Did the agent use good grammar? 
  8. Did the agent solve the problem? If you empower your call center agents to resolve most problems by themselves, agents will feel more successful and the whole process will be a lot more efficient. 

How many questions should you ask? Somewhere between 8 and 10 seems to be the sweet spot, but there are no hard and fast rules here!

Evaluating your scorecard

Once you’ve developed your scorecard, you’ll need to attribute a scoring system to it. 1-5 scales are industry standard but it may be more appropriate for your organization to attribute percentages or yes/no answers to mark performance. 

Sometimes there are situations that won’t apply, so be sure to include a N/A option. Also, keep in mind you will probably need different scorecards for different departments. Customers calling the credit department will have a totally different set of concerns to those who call looking for information about a product.

You’ll also need to test your scorecard out make sure it’s assessing what you want it to assess. Take a look at your scorecard and the scores of some of your top agents. Is it an accurate reflection of the interaction? What could be improved? Are you missing any questions?

This process will probably need some tinkering to really get it dialed in. You don’t have to stick with the same questions, and you can adapt as you go. Keep agent feedback in mind. And consider rewarding employees for reaching a certain goal, either as a team or as individuals. Again, the right QA software can really make a difference here, Leaptree Optimize includes gamification to help drive performance with leaderboards, badges, and other game elements. This helps keep the whole team engaged, happy, and motivated. 

Conclusion

The QA scorecard is an essential tool you need to assess whether or not your agents are helping your bottom line. It goes without saying that customer experience is extremely important, and these days more than ever. Developing an effective QA scorecard will give your company an advantage over companies that merely give lip service to customer experience. You’ll be glad you took the time to do it!


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