SQM offers a unique Contact Center Best Practice Validation assessment to determine if your contact center practice(s) is at the same standard as SQM’s award winning contact center best practices. All best practices have been compiled and comprehensively evaluated based on an onsite evaluation by SQM consultants, and on customer and employee feedback, to ensure that the practice is indeed a best practice. A best practice must meet the requirement of having a positive impact on FCR, Csat, cost and Esat performance. SQM’s Contact Center Best Practice Validation assessment evaluates key business areas such as customer quality assurance, knowledge management tool, CSR recognition program, career advancement program, call handling practice, real-time CSR support queue, performance management system, CSR coaching program, CSR training program and CSR hiring process.
In order to validate that your contact center is using a best practice for a key business area, SQM will assess your practice by performing an onsite evaluation of your practice and comparing it to our contact center best practice standards for that business area. In addition, SQM will conduct employee surveys and focus groups to elicit feedback from frontline employees in order to determine their satisfaction with your practice. SQM will also review your FCR and Csat ratings as well as your quality assurance (QA) ratings. Once the onsite evaluation and rating review is completed, SQM will conduct a comprehensive analysis of your contact center practice to validate whether your practice is indeed a best practice, or if there are opportunities for improving the practice performance. All contact centers that have been validated as having a best practice area are automatically eligible for SQM Best Practice Awards given out at our annual Contact Center Industry Conference and Awards event. You do not need to be an existing SQM client for us to validate your contact center practice(s). All you need is the willingness to have your contact center practice(s) evaluated.
The 3 Steps Needed for Best Practice Validation
Step 1 – Evaluate Practice to Be Validated
The onsite evaluation is conducted by an SQM consultant. The consultant will evaluate your contact center practice(s) using SQM best practice(s) operational standards as used by comparable award winning contact center(s) for the practice(s) that is being evaluated.
Step 2 – Conduct Surveys and Analyze Data
This step measures and assesses your contact center practice(s) being validated, from a frontline perspective. Typically, SQM will conduct a minimum of 100 frontline employee surveys using 50 quantitative and qualitative questions and also conduct 2 to 4 frontline focus groups.
Step 3 – Validate if Practice is a Best Practice
Based on the onsite evaluation of the practice and the gathering and analyzing of data from frontline employees, the SQM consultant will validate if the practice is indeed a best practice. If the practice is a best practice, SQM will provide a certificate stating the practice is certified as a best practice. If the practice is not validated, SQM will provide recommendations that the contact center could use to improve the practice and potentially achieve a best practice validation. Organizations are eligible to have their practice validated only on an annual basis.
- The Best Practice Validation service takes approximately 1 – 2 weeks (for assessing and generating a Best Practice Validation report)
- A practice that is certified as a best practice is certified for 3 years
- In order to maintain the best practice certification distinction for the second and third years, the organization will need to conduct an employee surveys each year
- Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100, or 90% of employees complete the survey if less than 100 employees at the organization, using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees
- For the second and third years, the employee satisfaction score must meet the requirement of 50% or higher for the employees’ satisfaction with your practice in order to maintain certification
Top 15 Best Practices SQM Validates
SQM evaluates a contact center’s practice to ensure that it uses best practice operational standards as used by comparable award winning contact centers. In addition, the practice being validated must meet the criteria of having a positive impact for driving FCR, Csat, cost and Esat performance. Below are some examples of the types of information we are looking for in each best practice validation category. The top 15 best practice areas SQM validates are as follows:
- Omni-Channel – How your omni-channel improves or maintains great FCR, contact resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Website (self-serve) Channel – How your Website (self-serve) channel improves or maintains great FCR, contact resolution and Csat performance.
- IVR (self-serve) Channel – How your IVR (self-serve) channel improves or maintains great FCR, contact resolution and Csat performance.
- Email Channel – How your email channel improves or maintains great FCR, contact resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Emerging Channels (Chat, Video Chat, Mobile Application, etc.) – How your emerging channels improve or maintain great FCR, contact resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Quality Assurance Program: – How your QA program (e.g., evaluation form, call recording and reporting tool, CSR coaching) has had a positive impact on your FCR, call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Desktop Application(s): – How your desktop application(s) (e.g., customer relationship management, knowledge management tool, instant messaging, claim and bill processing tools, unified desktop) has had a positive impact on your FCR, call resolution, Csat and Esat performance. Note: You can submit examples for any or all of the desktop applications that have helped you with your voice of customer (VoC) performance.
- CSR Recognition Program: – How your recognition program (e.g., awards, certificates, cards, public recognition, gift certificates, additional training, paid time-off) motivates CSRs to improve or maintain great call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Career Advancement Program: – How your career advancement program (e.g., job posting, career path, employee development, career advancement) motivates CSRs to improve or maintain great call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Call Handling Practice: – How your call handling practice (e.g., hold, transfer, concierge service, call escalation, CSR soft skills) improves or maintains great FCR, call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Real-Time CSR Support Queue: – How your support queue (e.g., call escalation, retention, assists CSRs in real-time) has had a positive impact on your FCR, call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- Performance Management System: – How your performance management system (e.g., accountability metrics, performance reporting, performance improvement plans, performance appraisals, bonus and recognition) improves or maintains great FCR, call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- CSR Coaching Program: – How your coaching program (e.g., train the coaches, frequency and length of coaching session, quality of coaching) has had a positive impact on call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- CSR Training Program: – How your training program (e.g., online, classroom and on-the job training, new-hire and on-going knowledge training) has had a positive impact on call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
- CSR Hiring Process: – How your hiring process (e.g., candidate pre-screening, interview, personality testing, job simulation, ideal profile identification) has had a positive impact on call resolution, Csat and Esat performance.
Top 5 Reasons to Validate Your Best Practice
- Validate – Ensure that your contact center practice has had a positive impact on FCR, Csat, cost and Esat performance, which in turn will:
- Improve FCR – for every 1% improvement in FCR, a contact center reduces its operating costs by 1%. If a contact center is performing at the FCR contact center industry average of 70%, it is important to understand that, potentially, 30% of customers will have to call back because their issue was not resolved on the first call.
- Improve Csat – for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is a 1% improvement in Csat (top box response). Clearly, FCR is highly correlated to Csat.
- Improve Esat – for every 1% improvement in FCR there can be a 1% to 5% improvement in Esat. Contact centers with high FCR tend to have high Esat.
- Certification report – If validated, receive certification that your practice is a contact center industry best practice with a full report detailing how the best practice was achieved. If your practice is not certified as a best practice, receive a full report of targeted opportunities and recommendations that, if implemented, can lead to best practice achievement.
- Contact center industry best practice experts – Receive an objective, data and observation-driven third party evaluation of the practice(s) by the contact center industry’s leading FCR benchmarking and consulting firm.
- Benchmark – Get a standardized comparison of how your practice(s) rates amongst the 500 contact centers that SQM works with annually.
- Awards – If validated, automatically become eligible for a Best Practice Award and / or Employee Satisfaction Award
The total investment to have your contact center’s practice validated is $7,500 for each practice. If your organization’s contact center practice is certified as a best practice there is an additional cost of $2,500 for the second and third years for completing the employee study to maintain certification. There is an additional cost if SQM needs to conduct customer surveys. There will also be additional charges to cover travel and accommodation expenses for an SQM consultant.