Smashtech® one of the fastest growing tech companies in California, has recently chosen EvaluAgent to help their front-line engage in better conversations with their customers as they continue to scale both their operation and team.
Having won numerous awards for their culture, we were excited to catch up with Smashtech® to discover how they evaluate, engage and motivate their customer service teams.
Why Customer Service is important for Smashtech®
Established in 2015, Smashtech® owns a variety of brands within the health & wellness industry. Like many new businesses, the majority of their brands operate a subscription-based model, shipping boxes of world-class products such as SkinnyFit delivered on a monthly cycle to the customer’s home.
FYI: For those in the UK, this is a similar model to how Graze (the snack box company) and Harry’s (the razor brand) started.
While customer service should be a number one priority for all businesses, it is even more critical for companies that operate within this model and rely on their customer’s lifetime value and continued purchases outweighing the initial cost of acquisition.
Karen Cepeda, the Sr. Contact Center Operations Manager at Smashtech®, explains,
“What really differentiates us from our competitors is that we’re not only known for excellent products, but excellent customer service as well. We want to make sure that each and every customer is happy with us.”
Why Quality Assurance is important?
Smashtech® continues to rapidly scale the Customer Experience Team who operate across live chat, telephony and social, with additional support provided by three outsourcing partners.
Having grown rapidly over the past 12 months, Karen explained that Quality Assurance is a vital process in their tool kit and is used to:
- Maintain service quality across their internal and external teams
- Improve employee engagement, with agents’ ongoing learning and development directly influenced by their quality scores and line item performance
- Ensure compliance when upselling/cross-selling to existing customers
With CSAT, employee engagement and quality scores now at an all-time high, we caught up with Karen to get her top tips on how to maintain a consistent level of service as you scale and what the business has learned since replacing their QA spreadsheets.
Karen’s four top tips
Allow agents to self-evaluate and hold mini-calibration sessions
A growing trend within many Contact Centers is to ask agents to score themselves to encourage ownership of their own performance. Many are nervous about this, however allowing agents to self-evaluate, in addition to the usual QA process, works well for Smashtech®.
“For us, having agents evaluate their own performance has been very successful as we’ve found it makes them feel much more involved. Agents can sometimes be over-critical when evaluating their own performance but it’s a great way to start a coaching session, and I feel like they’re much more accepting of any opportunities missed.”
Smashtech® then takes this self-evaluation process a step further by holding a mini-calibration session between one of the leadership teams and the agent involved.
Karen explained that this process can be much quicker than trying to get several people in a room for a more formal calibration session. Instead, it can last a matter of minutes with two people sitting down, listening to the call again before both evaluating and then reviewing any differences in the line item results.
Compared to simply focusing on the QA score or pass/fail outcome, this methodology has lead to much higher engagement, and agents having a much greater appreciation of what is expected of them.
Use your top performing agents as mentors
Keeping hold of your top performing agents can be a challenge for us all, but thanks to encouraging a mentoring program and calling out great conversations, Karen and her team face no such problem.
Interactions that include WOW moments are recognized, documented and shared across the customer service team - so everyone can listen back to the call or read the transcript.
In addition to this, agents who are consistently achieving high-quality scores are selected to get involved in other areas of the business too. This could be the on-boarding of new BPO partners so they can hear from the ‘front-line’ or by utilizing the experiences of these agents to improve Smashtech®’s own onboarding and training material.
“We’ve found that it helps engage and retain our top performers, while for agents who are new or perhaps struggling, it really gives them something to aspire towards. They can see clearly how they can grow in the department or beyond, and we find it increases their motivation and performance even more,”...Karen says
Involve your BPO as much as possible.
Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) are commonly used by fast-growing companies such as Smashtech® to provide an extra resource in times of high-demand or as the business moves from start-up to scale-up.
Partnering with a BPO can be a great way to scale your customer service team, but it can present a challenge with differing opinions of what “good” looks like and vastly different quality scores between the in-house team and the BPO when using different quality frameworks.
To get ahead of this known challenge, Karen made sure that each of their partners subscribed to being evaluated on the same Quality Assurance framework (using EvaluAgent) as well as running joint-calibration sessions between the in-house team and the BPO more regularly.
For Smashtech®, this has made a real difference. Rather than debating why an interaction was given a particular quality score, the face-to-face meetings are much more productive with ideas on how to further enhance the customer experience using the data that EvaluAgent and their other systems are providing them.
Think bigger than just QA.
Karen’s final tip was to actually think bigger than just QA, your scorecards and the evaluation process.
Within smaller teams, you may be the one who is responsible for the on-boarding and training of new agents, so it’s vital that you’re regularly reviewing your training material and incorporating the common knowledge gaps that appear.
If your onboarding is managed by a different department, perhaps your HR team for example - still try and share what you’re seeing within the operation. They’ll appreciate the data and having a positive relationship can do no harm.
In addition, make sure you explain the importance of quality and the team’s role too. All too often forgotten about until the first evaluation is completed, ignoring this can lead to phrases like “The quality police” or “You’re only here to catch me out.”
Hearing these phrases often suggests a misplaced perception around QA’s role. Again, working this explanation into the onboarding process can help improve an agent’s perception of QA and make life easier further down the line.
- Allow agents to self-evaluate and hold mini-calibration sessions.
- Use your top performing agents as mentors.
- Involve your BPOs as much as possible.
- Think bigger than just QA.
Finally, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to Karen Cepeda at Smashtech® for sharing her thoughts with us. We hope you’ve found it interesting to learn the how and the why Smashtech® places customer service and quality at the very heart of their business.
Until next time,