Founded in 1999, SmartPak is an equine retailer focused on supplying horse owners with everything they need – from supplements to riding apparel to grooming supplies – to take care of their horses.
After initially joining the SmartPak team as a product specialist, Stefanie Wimp worked her way up to the Customer Care team. But after a year into her role, with 1:1s focused on performance and metrics, but not on the quality of conversation or understanding of company policies, she knew that her team’s process for reviewing and ensuring quality customer service needed to change.
And so SmartPak’s first customer service quality assurance process was born.
Why Manual QA Should be a Thing of the Past
When QA first started at SmartPak, it was a completely manual process. Scorecards would be built out in Microsoft Excel, updated by hand, and then emailed to each individual agent in a large file at the end of every month.
There was little visibility into performance, no way to report on improvement at scale, and a lack of efficiency that resulted in tedious copying and pasting of data between spreadsheets. Creating manual QA scorecards also resulted in difficulties when onboarding new agents, which left a wide margin of error in getting them up to speed with team best practices.
Eventually, Stefanie’s team was able to make the case for a true QA software, bringing Stella Connect on board.
Where reporting was once a tedious, manual, and disjointed process, Stella Connect’s real-time QA features have allowed her team to complete more reviews more quickly and give front-line agents the insight they need to optimize their performance.
In fact, in the last year of utilizing Stella Connect for QA, SmartPak has seen their phone evaluation score average increase by 7% and email evaluation score average increase by 6%.
Where data was previously stored in multiple spreadsheets, it now lives at the fingertips of each QA reviewer, team lead, and individual agent, freeing up the team’s time to invest in additional QA initiatives like more personalized agent coaching and training.
Agent Coaching and Training Made Actionable with QA
Since implementing Stella Connect, SmartPak has been able to create a 24 to 48-hour turnaround window for reviewing customer interactions, which helps to quickly provide their agents with valuable, timely coaching opportunities that are actually actionable in-the-moment.
In the days of manual QA, agents had to wait until the end of the month to receive feedback and learnings on interactions. This left a window of opportunity for agents who may have the wrong information about a product or policy to continue unknowingly sharing that information with customers, damaging their relationship with the brand and hurting the agent’s performance.
Now, with Stella Connect, SmartPak’s QA process has become more streamlined, efficient, and relevant.
When a front-line agent receives feedback, they’re able to apply those learnings immediately to their next call, leading to increased team morale, agent engagement, and improvements in team performance across the board.
By using QA reviews as a North Star, SmartPak not only creates more engaged and proactive agents, but also ensures they maintain their brand credibility and build trust with their customers.
And while QA with Stella Connect has been a game changer for SmartPak’s current team, it’s also helped transform how they train and onboard new agents to their team.
Tying QA to agent onboarding gives SmartPak’s new agents an advantage by setting them up for success from day zero. As policies and processes change, the onboarding team is constantly in sync with the QA team to update their materials and offer agents the most comprehensive training possible.
In addition, as new agents are being trained on products, company policies, and support best practices, those interactions are put through the standard QA process.
Being able to give early feedback enables new hires to feel more confident stepping into their roles, more engaged with customers and their career path, and more empowered to make decisions and to do right by the customers.
Combining Feedback, Coaching, and QA with Stella Connect
With Stella Connect, the SmartPak team is able to connect the dots between customer feedback, internal QA reviews, and coaching opportunities all in one place.
Gone are the days of multiple spreadsheets, inconsistent review processes, and limited visibility into team performance. Since implementing Stella Connect, SmartPak has been able to revolutionize how they think about QA and its importance in creating better agents and more satisfied customers.
For SmartPak, the QA process and its focus on celebrating successes while providing teachable moments has transformed into a partnership between their front-line team and their reviewers.
If they know a call went awry or are unsure of how they handled a situation, agents are taking their growth into their own hands by proactively bringing interactions to their QA team to review, creating a shared sense of trust between the teams and an eagerness from the front-line agents to meet their leaders’ and QA reviewers’ expectations.
When agents have positive reinforcement of their performance, coupled with actionable feedback on places to improve, they’re able to view QA for what it’s meant to be – career development and an opportunity to grow.
Interested in hearing directly from Stefanie about how QA has helped SmartPak create more engaged, motivated, and empowered agents? Check out her session from Stella Summit 2020: Level Up.
To find out how Stella Connect can transform your front-line team performance and help you better engage your customers, get in touch with a member of our team.