The Complete Customer Service Quality Assurance Checklist

For many companies, customer service quality assurance (QA) means diving into the reasons behind a complaint or bad review. It’s a start, but it also means you’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg.

Despite abundant channels to speak their mind online, most unsatisfied customers won’t even bother to complain or leave a review. They just take the rear exit and you never hear them leave.

By making service QA a routine, you can prevent such silent customer churn. If that alone doesn’t convince you, here’s more: Service QA also allows you to show your service agents when they did well, in which areas they can grow, and what impact their efforts have. In short, it trains and motivates them.

For a better overview, we’ve broken down our list into the most vital parameters: effectiveness, efficiency, productivity and likability. Here is your complete customer service QA checklist with items for individual agents and metrics for teams.

1
Effectiveness

Effectiveness is the broadest quality parameter of your service operation. It tells you if your actions have the intended results: Resolved issues, satisfied customers and a sustainable setup. Effectiveness is thus moderated by all parameters that follow.


Checklist items for individual agents and interactions


Solved the customer’s issue (can also be a purchase or receiving the desired information)
Explanations to customer were accurate
Explanations to customer were helpful
Explanations to customer were sufficient
Actively reduced customer effort
Took all possible steps to solve the customer’s issue (if issue couldn’t be resolved in that interaction)


Quantitative, team-wide analysis


Check these metrics and parameters to look at team-wide performance, across multiple interactions and over time.

Qualitative analysis


Qualitative customer feedback is hard to quantify, but can point you to where exemplary service took place. It enables you to analyze what the agents did better or worse than the average.

  • Post-service surveys (e.g. via email)
  • Social media monitoring (tweets about you and DMs)
  • Mystery chats or calls (test your own support as a “customer”)
  • For text-based support: keyword search in interactions (“thank you”, “helpful”, “great”, “disappointing”, etc.)

2
Efficiency

cartoon of an unbalanced scale to demonstrate efficiency

This parameter focuses on your ability to streamline your service without sacrificing its effectiveness. This may seem like a pure business perspective, but keep in mind that your customers’ time is just as precious as yours . Quick and effective service is always better than “merely” effective service.

Also, an efficient support agent is much less likely to be stressed out. The right techniques and a structured working style make desk life bearable.


Checklist items for individual agents and interactions


Explanations to customer were concise
Actively tried to solve the issue in a timely manner
Used text macros where possible
Remained intelligible at all times (often falls by the wayside under pressure)
Asked customer if they have more questions (a time saver because it prevents unnecessary follow-ups)
Customer did not express impatience (“hello?”, “how long will this take?”, etc.)
Did not engage in off-topic chatter
Did not mix up customers


Quantitative, team-wide analysis

  • First-contact resolution
  • Number of forwards (to other agents)
  • Required repetitions of issue (how often does the customer need to repeat her issue, e.g. when she is forwarded via phone)
  • Average resolution time
  • First response time
  • Response time
  • Average response time
  • Number of follow ups to resolve issue (negative)

3
Productivity

cartoon of an axe chopping wood

Productivity in support describes the overall workload you can handle, and more specifically, your ability to reduce idle time. Again, you have to view the parameter in interplay with your effectiveness. If your service satisfies your customers, your productivity is how much of this satisfactory service you can offer.

Productivity is rarely connected to specific actions of individual agents in a customer interaction. Agents basically have to be active and responsive. This depends on how they organize themselves over longer stretches of time. So, let’s jump right to the metrics.


Quantitative, team-wide analysis

  • Number of customer interactions
  • Peak number of simultaneous conversations (e.g. when offering customer service chat )
  • Average utilization (time spent in conversations vs. idle time)
  • Number of resolved issues/requests

4
Likability and tonality

Have you ever tried to be nice to someone only to still be perceived as unfriendly? Then you know why being “nice” can be harder than it seems. When facing varying scenarios and types of customers, “nice” becomes a surprisingly vague and malleable term.

cartoon of a chat bubble dressed like a Sir

To find out what creates misunderstanding and distance between you and your customers, you need to look at the many inconspicuous conversational actions that shape your tone.

To quantify these checklist items, you can of course count and compare them, but there are no metrics specifically designed for that. For a qualitative analysis, also view the respective section in point 1, effectiveness.


Checklist items for individual agents and interactions


Politely welcomed the customer (find your definition)
Addressed customer by name
Offered support right away
Used positive language
Used direct language
Explained in clear and simple terms
Used no technical jargon unless it was necessary
Used listening indicators
Informed customer about upcoming waits and their length
Informed customer about actions to be taken
Gave the customer time to explain their issue
Used correct and consistent wording for products/features
Did not blame the customer
Used emoji adequately ( read our post on using emoji in business communication )
Considered cultural diversity
Thanked the customer at the end of the conversation
Offered additional support


Inspire growth, not fear


To some agents, above checklists and metrics might carry the scent of micromanagement. So, be sure to explain why you’re going into so much detail.

cartoon of a growing sunflower

Of course, you want to boost customer satisfaction. But you also want to help your agents identify growth potential, especially when they’re already doing a great job.

To get off on the right foot, allow your service reps to go through their own interactions using the checklists. Let them discuss their findings with other agents first, only then with you.

If you’ve set the right tone, your agents might like to add some items themselves. Definitely though, they’ll view your assessment as a chance, not as a punishment.