This client is an international leader in reusable endoscope technology and operating room integration solutions. It is a family-owned company that designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets all its products with an emphasis on visionary design, precision craftsmanship and clinical effectiveness.
The firm has an unwavering commitment to consistently deliver exceptional levels of customer service. As such, it was very important to them to be recognized as a leader in call center customer service. One of the most prestigious, yet difficult, ways to do that is to receive the “J.D. Power and Associates Call Center Certification.” According to J.D. Power and Associates, “For call centers that want to distinguish themselves in this highly competitive marketplace, the J.D. Power and Associates Call Center Certification Program sends a clear and unequivocal message that your call center is focused on: providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction; is process-oriented; and is professionally managed.”
Receiving this esteemed certification became one of the firm’s key goals in setting themselves apart from the competition. They applied for the certification, and a hands-on review of the call center’s team, processes and procedures was then conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. The review was followed up with a report indicating that improvements needed to be made in the area of consistently hiring the best employees for the role and continuing to develop them. Three specific areas they needed to focus on were: finding a way to give customer service representatives more time off of the phone in order to problem solve; implementing a “voice of the customer” program; and hiring service representatives with not only technical abilities and product knowledge, but also with appropriate interpersonal skills.
About J.D. Power Certification
J.D. Power and Associates launched the Call Center Certification Program in 2004 to evaluate overall customer satisfaction with call centers as well as to help call centers increase their efficiency and effectiveness by establishing and continually updating leading practices for handling service calls. This certification status provides consumers and business-to-business customers with a way to easily identify product and service providers that deliver an outstanding customer experience.
To become certified, a call center must perform within the top 20 percent of customer service scores based on benchmarks established in J.D. Power and Associates’ cross-industry customer satisfaction research. The evaluation criteria include the customer service representative’s courtesy, knowledge and concern for the customer; promptness in speaking to a person; and timely resolution of the problem or request.
The call center must also successfully pass a detailed audit of more than 100 practices around recruiting, training, employee incentives, management roles and responsibilities, and quality assurance capabilities. As part of its evaluation, J.D. Power and Associates also conducts a random survey of customers who recently contacted the call center.
The Business Challenge
In order to achieve their goal of becoming certified by J.D. Power and Associates in Customer Service, the firm would need to:
• Identify the developmental opportunities of current employees and provide tools and improvements that maximize the customer experience.
• Develop a process for successfully selecting future Customer Support Representatives that have the skills and talent to provide exceptional customer support while performing the complex tasks essential for the job.
The Strategic Solution
The firm contacted Caliper to assess and establish the highest levels of Call Center employee-hiring and development practices in order to meet the requirements of the J.D. Power and Associates’ Call Center Certification. Caliper proposed a 6-week consulting project that included a Top Performer Analysis, Local Validation Study and Competency Model.
The results of those activities would be incorporated into the design of a customized report that could be used for both selection and developmental purposes. The report would provide data linking Caliper traits to job performance and would illustrate the level of each individual’s natural inclination and potential to demonstrate the competencies essential for success in the firm’s Customer Service role. With an understanding of the these competencies and with standard operating practices for customer service staffing, evaluation and development in place, the firm will have the basis for a very effective and successful employee hiring and development process.
After implementing the first set of J.D. Power and Associates’ recommended changes, the firm went back to the Certification board to show their progress. One of the pieces of progress included Caliper’s consulting proposal. They explained where they were in the process and outlined the headway they had made up to this point along with the expected outcomes once the ten-week project was complete.
The work the firm was currently doing with Caliper, and would continue to do, served as part of the valid proof that J.D. Power and Associates needed to believe in their commitment to excellence in customer service and the firm was awarded their Call Center Certification for providing an outstanding customer service experience. According to J.D. Power and Associates’ research, “customers of the firm reported that their service experiences were excellent.”