By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
You say and believe that your call center is the best, but can you prove it? The truth is that your competitors are also likely saying that they are the best. Remember that only half of any group can be above average and only one out of 100 can be in the top percentile. So who is someone to believe: you or your competitor? The reality is, with conflicting claims that can’t be substantiated, neither assertion will be believed!
To truly distinguish yourself from your rivals you need a credential. A credential is a verifiable recognition from an independent third party that you have earned and meet a standard level of performance. Three types of credentials are:
Certification: Certification can be directed at your call center’s technical or management practices, your supervisor processes or training programs, or your agents. A certifier reviews the staff or procedures in question, verifying that pre-established criteria is met. Certification confirms that standards of excellence have been met. It also implies consistency. However, certification does not guarantee excellence, merely that the potential for excellence exists.
Mystery Calling: Independent, mystery calling is a reliable verification of agent quality. Just as a manufacturer can statistically substantiate quality by randomly testing every nth widget to roll off the line, call center do the same by evaluating every nth call. Mystery calling is potentially the most valuable and accurate means of verifying call center quality. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive.
Benchmarking: With benchmarking, one call center’s metrics are compared to average metrics from a group of similar centers. The results are quantifiable, with areas of distinction and areas needing attention quickly determined. To add more relevance, a call center’s metrics can be compared only the statistically superior call centers, allowing comparisons to be made relevant to top performing operations. Benchmarking offers more relevance than credentials and is less costly and time-consuming than mystery calling.