CSAT is Not Enough – Why You Should Start Doing Conversation Reviews

Is the quality of customer service at your company good enough? How do you know? With CSAT amassing unprecedented fame and importance among customer support teams, nine out of 10 companies will get the answer to this question wrong. 

If you measure the quality of your customer service with customer satisfaction metrics, you are putting your customers in control. This, as we’ll explore in this post, is a bad ídea that will ultimately lead to poor results.

Metrics like CSAT are good for reflecting your customers’ opinions, but just like we have learned not to trust our customers to create product roadmaps for us, we cannot let them judge the quality of customer service entirely on their own.

Drifting Off Course With CSAT 

Letting customers tell you how you should handle your customer service is like sailing across the sea, hoping that winds and currents will take you to the right place. That is unlikely to happen, and if you want to reach your customer service goals, you should keep steering the boat yourself.

There are three major reasons why companies should not rely on CSAT alone when analyzing their customer service:

Product and company feedback gets mistaken for support feedback: Ratings given in a survey might actually reflect the customers’ satisfaction with your product rather than with your customer service.
Often, CSAT is the only place where customers can provide any feedback at all. So, it is understandable that, among other things, they use it to communicate their disappointment on missing features or gratitude towards reduced pricing plans.

Customers don’t see the complex processes behind their inquiries: Customer happiness is closely tied to time metrics like Average Handle Time and First Response Time. The faster you are able to solve a problem, the happier your customers are.

However, not all problems can be solved immediately. And, customers cannot possibly know how much time and work it could take to fix a serious bug or build a new feature. They might not be happy about having to wait for the solution and express that in the CSAT survey. These ratings will have little to do with how the issue was handled by support agents.

Customers don’t know your quality standards. When customers rate your service, they do it from their own perspective, based on what they think great support is.

Your quality standards might not match those of your customers’. Yours might be higher. For example, customers may be satisfied with a response that did not actually give what you thought was the best or preferred solution

When it comes to rating the quality of your customer service, you should listen to what your users are saying, but never neglect your own perspective. Otherwise, you will be looking at how satisfied your customer is with your company and product in general, and mistake this for the quality of your customer support. 

Conversation Reviews Correct the Course

With winds trying to blow you off your course, you must counterbalance that with something. In customer service, you will do that by combining your customers’ opinions with those of your own. 

Internal customer service conversation reviews will give you insight into the interactions your team has with your clients. It is a way of providing systematic feedback to your email, chat, phone, and other forms of support communication. 

In essence, it means that you look into the tickets that you have in Freshdesk and assess the quality of the answers provided by your team. It is a unique opportunity to help your agents grow professionally, and it is essential for on-boarding new customer support reps.

Conversation reviews are based on the agreed values that your company and customer service team represent. The most common rating categories look for answers to the following questions: 

  • Was the interaction emphatic enough? 
  • Did the agent provide a correct and complete solution? 
  • Could the tone and style of the response be improved in any way?
  • How could the agent provide better solutions in the future?

Rating categories vary from company to company. But, having a common scorecard for your team will make the review process fast and clear. It will also give you the opportunity to calculate your internal quality score (IQS), which allows you to track the quality of your customer service over time.

Much like CSAT, IQS is a quality metric presented as a percentage, where a 100% IQS means that the ticket received the highest scores in all rating categories. The factors that contribute to IQS calculation are category ratings, the total number of categories, and the weight of each category. 

Conversation review tools1 help customer service teams conduct conversation reviews and calculate IQS for you. They will also act as feedback repositories, making it easy to collect, manage, and access this data. 

Setting Sails with Conversation Reviews

While conversation reviews are suitable for all companies that offer customer service, not all of them are ready to implement this systematic process. Introducing new processes, especially when an assessment factor, might trigger some push back and reluctance. 

Before announcing conversation reviews to your company, figure out how to set up the process in your team:

Define goals. What is your end goal – are you concerned about your CSAT or negative feedback, or would you like to boost new agent onboarding? Once you do that, define which smaller goals will help you get there – do you need to increase the level of empathy in your interactions, work on your agents’ product knowledge or something else?

Find a suitable form of conversation reviews. Choose between manager reviews, peer reviews, and self-reviews. Although some companies hesitate to trust their employees to give peer feedback, it is one of the most time-efficient methods that can actually boost team morale. Manager reviews could work well for smaller teams, and self-reviews are a great way to help your team members grow professionally. The latter has been proven to increase NPS by 5%2.

Create a common scorecard. Look at the goals you have set for your team and define rating categories that reflect them. Having a list of aspects to score for each ticket will make the review process quite easy. Furthermore, a binary scoring system with a simple thumbs up/thumbs down rating for each category will make this procedure smoother. 

Track results. Make sure you have a central place for storing your results. Conversation reviews should be used as a basis for improving the quality of customer service interactions, so tracking this progress is essential. You can manage your data in a spreadsheet or dedicated conversation review software. Then, look how your IQS and other metrics change over time.

Communicate your goals clearly. Conversation reviews are not about finding someone to blame, and punishing them. On the contrary, it’s a systematic process that will provide feedback to the good, the bad, and the mediocre interactions alike. It is about improving the overall quality of the service, and helping agents grow professionally. 

For example, with the Qualitista-Freshdesk integration, you can pull all tickets automatically into the conversation review tool. Reviewers use a random sample or pick the specific tickets that they want to assess. They give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the conversations in all rating categories and provide additional information in the comments. The integration helps you calculate the tickets’ Internal Quality Scores and notifies the agents about the newly received feedback.

Smooth Sailing Towards Quality Customer Service

Once you have set up your conversation review process and introduced it to your team, launch it, test it and iterate as necessary. You might have to make adjustments to your setup once you have done your first round of reviews. You will learn what works best for your team and which feedback is the most valuable for you.

Stepping away from CSAT and making room for internal reviews comes with a change in the managers’ mindset. You will shift your focus from what others say about you to your own quality standards, and learn how to provide a service that you can be proud of.

1 – https://klausapp.com/
2 – https://klausapp.com/blog/unexpected-method-to-increase-net-promoter-score-by-5