Customer Service Quality Assurance: why we love it but don’t call it QA

The importance of your customer-facing interactions is old news. As much as we praise customer service quality assurance per se, we’re declaring war to the term "QA".

First of all, “quality assurance” is already coined by software QA in the tech world. Using the same term when talking about a totally different thing in the same field can cause a lot of confusion.

However, it’s not just about having a unique name; what bothers us the most is that "QA" does not describe the process for what it is. “Customer service quality assurance” focuses on the outcome. Although quality is indeed our aim, it would be foolish to call the entire system by its end result.

It's like saying “earning money” instead of “working”. People don’t work just to earn money, just as we don’t review customer interactions only for good quality indicators. There’s a lot more that goes into this process.

Empowering not harassing

The term “quality assurance” paints a picture of somebody standing besides a production line, looking over the employees’ shoulders to make sure that everything works like a clockwork. That’s not what conversation reviews are at all.

Conversation reviews are about giving constructive feedback. Mostly, it’s done in the form of peer-reviews, but self-reviews and manager reviews can be just as effective.

Conducting systematic and well-structured reviews helps agents become better at what they’re doing. Different aspects of the communication - such as product knowledge, empathy, grammar - should be rated separately.

For example, a conversation review would notice if an agent displays excellent product knowledge, but interacts in a cold or rude manner.

Proper interaction reviews do not just label agent replies as good or bad, but provides useful information that helps to find areas of improvement. That’s a lot more than QA.

Fueling growth with feedback

Quality assurance, in the form of somebody standing next to you with a clipboard, watching your every move and taking notes, can feel intimidating. On the contrary, conversation reviews can boost your team morale.

Most tickets are usually handled OK and never make it to the extreme QA lists. Instead of focusing on the best or the worst, interaction reviews take a look at all tickets or samples of them.

“That’s fine, continue” is great feedback. Letting agents know that they are doing everything right can go a long way in motivating people.

We believe that “conversation review” reflects this kind of feedback in a better way than “customer service quality assurance”, which usually associates with praising the good and blaming the bad.

On-boarding top performers

Interaction reviews are not just a means for providing quality. Proper conversation reviews play an essential role in successful training and on-boarding programs.

There’s no better way to help new agents learn than by allowing them to talk to the customers and providing feedback as they go. Companies like PandaDoc review all new agents’ tickets to make sure they are settling in fine.

Reviews during trainings are not about finding the mistakes your agents are doing. It’s about providing feedback that helps your team grow.

Farewell, customer service quality assurance!

We are obsessed about the quality of customer support, and yet we’ve decided to cross out the term “customer service quality assurance” and replace it with “conversation reviews”. We believe it does a lot more justice to the process.

If you do conversation reviews, customer service quality will come anyway. That’s a promise.

We’re nerdy about terminology, and we love Help Scout’s take on “support tickets” vs “conversations”. You may have noticed that we prefer the latter these days, too.


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