January 27, 2007 11:26 AM
During a recent best-practice study, I heard an unusual story. It was a call center certification tale that piqued my curiosity. I must admit to becoming a little jaded because of all the call center certifications that have come and gone in my 20-plus years in this industry. But the one was different.
The best-practice study partner talked about his J.D. Power and Associates call center certification. What struck me was how this executive enthusiastically described his experience, which included multiple stages of assessment and random surveys of recent callers to assess customer satisfaction levels. To cinch the deal in my mind, this exec related that when J.D. Power learned of the company's offshore outsourcing partnership, it insisted on auditing the partner. J.D. Power assessors would not recognize excellence until they were sure the company's customer experienced consistent quality.
No, I don't have any affiliation with J.D. Power certification. But because I was so struck by the executive's excitement and the thoroughness of the certification process, I felt I had to write about it. The certification involves a two-part standards test. Organizations pay a fee to be certified, but they pay for each step separately and do not proceed to the next step without passing the one previous to it.
The first step is a site audit during which J.D. Power looks for the presence or absence of key policies and procedures. The second step is the customer surveys. J.D. Power surveys a random sample of callers for each center or application directly after the customer's interaction with the organization. Centers must score above the 80th percentile to pass the customer satisfaction step.
Investing in certification isn't for everyone—some do not have the time, money, or level of quality. However, if you have been investing in your policies, procedures, and customer satisfaction, it might be time to benchmark your current performance and J.D. Power certification would be a great way to do it. I don't know if investing in the certification would earn you an instant credential. However, I know that, no matter what the outcome, the valuable feedback you receive from J.D. Power would certainly help you prioritize your current investment opportunities.
According to J.D. Power, the benefits of their certification are:
1. Allows you to identify and focus on the critical areas that impact customer satisfaction
2. Supports your initiatives for performance improvement and revenue enhancement
3. Provides independent third-party feedback derived from customer interviews
4. Provides a mechanism to measure the impact of operational changes and their effect on customer satisfaction
5. Helps purchasers of outsourced services identify call centers that provide the highest levels of customer service
If you would like more information on the J.D. Power's certification go to:
or contact Jonathan Brookner at 203-354-4593 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you gone through a call center certification process? If so, what do you think are the benefits (or downsides) to becoming certified? What have you learned as a result of going through a certification process? Are you as excited about your certification process as this executive was about J.D. Power? If so, tell us about your experience.