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  13th Annual MVP Quality Award Winners

 



This is the thirteenth year Customer [email protected] Solutions has brought you the winners of its MVP (Marketing Via Phone) Quality Awards. In the ensuing years since we introduced the awards in 1993, we have been impressed by the growing sophistication of the quality measures that have been introduced to the contact center by the leading-edge companies that apply for our MVP Quality Award. Over the years, we have seen new technologies adopted and the standards for a quality interaction refined and improved. Each of the following companies has demonstrated, through its MVP Quality Awards application, a true commitment to high ethical standards, stringent policies and challenging goals. Each of the award recipients is involved in a quality process that stretches from its human resource development to its implementation of technology to improve quality to taking a leadership role in promoting a positive public image of teleservices, and more. The following brief extracts from the extensive award-winning applications will give you a glimpse into what the companies provided as their standards for quality.

On a 16-point essay, entrants described a specific teleservices program and its results, and explained their overall policies and procedures, including human resources, technologies, customer services, ergonomics and public image that are used to establish, sustain and measure the program's quality. Judging the applicants was an arduous task, and the scores were not given lightly. Judging involved assigning a numerical point value from 1 to 10 for each of the 16 evaluation points. The average essay length was 17.5 pages ' enough to make an editor need a vacation on a tropical island afterwards.

Through the winners' essays, we learned that there are countless individuals within these organizations whose combined efforts and teamwork have contributed to elevating their companies' marketing via phone practices to the forefront of the industry. We've shared some of the most compelling items on the winners' application essays with readers. To all of the winners, congratulations.

' Tracey Schelmetic

Gold MVP Winners

GOLD AWARD WINNERS

InfoCision Management Corp.
(b-to-c integrated)
Akron, OH
www.infocision.com


Q: Explain how quality has evolved in your contact center, how it is sustained and how it is measured.

A: InfoCision evaluates each Communicator (TSR) based on more than 300 criteria per phone call. The system allows supervisors, trainers and QA staff to identify which skills a Communicator is lacking and the coaching methods needed to increase their skills, ultimately improving their performance. All Communicators receive feedback as well as additional training in potential areas of improvement. Our Q3 system (proprietary quality assurance system) has been so successful that we've trademarked it.

Advanced Data-Comm
(b-to-c inbound)
Dubuque, IA
www.advanced-data.com


Q: Provide quantifiable results [for a specific program]. Explain how the results were tabulated and how the quality of the program was gauged.

A: When Hurricane Wilma was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, [the client] recognized their business could be in jeopardy. With their fulfillment center and their other call center located in southern Florida, the client realized the hurricane could cause a disruption in their business. As a result, they chose to route all of their calls to Advanced Data-Comm before the hurricane hit. This action turned out to be rather far-sighted, as the power at the client's other vendor's center was knocked out when millions of people in Florida lost power. Luckily, the client's customers noticed no disruption, since Advanced Data-Comm had the agents and expertise to handle the additional call volume.

APAC Customer Services, Inc.
(b-to-b inbound)
Deerfield, IL
www.apaccustomerservices.com


Q: Describe all efforts made to make your work environment more stress-free and ergonomically correct.

A: The center has a large employee lounge with vending areas, video games, wireless Internet access, on-site food vendors, telephones and PCs, and a large SleepRoom facility for employees to use during breaks. Employees 'bid' for shifts that allow them to structure their changing family needs, etc. with our clients' peak processing. Flexible schedules, with part-time options and the ability to 'trade shifts' within the employee group allow our teams to manage their personal lives without tight constraints. We also have a relationship with an online research tool that allows our corporate and center teams to research personal topics of interest, gain professional support or seek private counseling.

GC Services Limited Partnership
(b-to-c integrated)
Houston, TX
www.gcserv.com


Q:What are your monitoring practices?

A:Quality monitoring and evaluation is one of our core competencies. Our skilled quality analysts monitor our representatives to ensure procedural compliance, courtesy and customer satisfaction. We also supply third-party quality monitoring services to measure the quality of our clients' internal or outsourced customer service. We provide our clients with unbiased third-party reviews of employees' effectiveness. We also provide coaching for performance improvement, as well as general quality consulting services. For most clients, our Quality First teams monitor a minimum of five calls monthly for each representative. This ensures that the entire representative corps is evaluated approximately every two weeks.

Silver MVP Winners

SILVER AWARD WINNERS

Hamilton Contact Center Services
(b-to-b outbound)
Aurora, NE
www.hamiltontm.com


Q:What are your monitoring practices?

A: In addition to providing clients with the opportunity to easily access 'full shadow' (voice and data) remote (off-site) monitoring on a daily basis at all calling sites supporting the client's campaigns, Hamilton also facilitates 'blind' monitoring. Blind monitoring allows the client to track the vocal interactions of the telephone agents and view the on-screen script used by the telephone agents and the entry of data by such telephone agents, without the knowledge of Hamilton or the agent.

ePerformax Contact Centers
(b-to-b integrated)
Cordova, TN
www.eperformax.com


Q: What is special or unique about your staff that contributes to quality?

A:Our staff's most unique attribute is their Filipino culture. It totally supports our focus on quality by first being a culture that has service orientation and a commitment to complete customer satisfaction. Filipinos have been deeply scripted to believe that patience in adversity and unflagging self-sacrifice are the principal attributes that will lead them to eventual success. The Philippines' underemployment rate is in excess of 15 percent; as a result, Filipinos seek long-term careers with stable companies. While not all contact centers provide stability, ePerformax offers a commitment to career development through its highly effective training programs which can then provide the building blocks for continuous learning development. As a result, our turnover is less than one percent per month (compared to a rising turnover rate of up to 10 percent in the Philippines).

eTelecare Global Solutions
(b-to-c integrated)
Monrovia, CA
www.etelecare.com


Q:Provide quantifiable results [of a program]. Explain how results were tabulated and how the quality of the program was gauged.

A:Our blended approach [to handling the client, a large wireless carrier] increased agent utilization by 33.8 percent while reducing costs per sale from $32 to $25 and reducing the typical variance in cost per sale from about $6 to about $1. The client has used another vendor on a similar program and saw abandonment rates of about 80 percent. Our abandonment rates were about three percent. Out of 1,977,851 contacts, we converted 687,523 customers to new handsets and rate plans, a 34.7 percent conversion rate. Inbound contacts represented 71 percent of the total acquisition volume, with eTelecare delivering $8.5 million in savings. Outbound represented 29 percent of total acquisition volume with eTelecare delivering $5.2 million in savings. In total, eTelecare Global Solutions estimates it saved the client $13.7 million in 2005.

Synergy Solutions, Inc.
(b-to-c outbound)
Phoenix, AZ
www.synergysolutionsinc.com


Q: Explain how quality has evolved in your contact center, how it is sustained and how it is measured.

A:Synergy Solutions has developed an online quality monitoring module as part of our enterprisewide proprietary system known as SPOT, which stands for 'Synovative Power of Technology.' All online quality critiques are customized per program and are designated to mirror either a client's internal checklists or are developed to capture all elements that are important to that particular client's program. These online quality forms are navigated through by our Quality Coaches, and we have the capability to digitally record all or part of the monitoring session for future review.

Bronze MVP Winners

BRONZE AWARD WINNERS

Cross Country Automotive Services
(b-to-c integrated)
Medford, MA
www.crosscountry-auto.com


Q:Specifically state your policies on quality and your company's philosophy/motto on quality.

A:Our motto is to 'treat each call as if it is the only call you will take today'. We teach our associates to be XSIV (Excessive) about delighting the customer. Every day we must increase our value proposition by exceeding our client standards for customer satisfaction. Over 87 percent of our clients' customers rate our associates 'Excellent' or 'Top Box'. We provide unparalleled rigor in quality assurance management by coaching and monitoring 16 calls per month per associate and directly surveying 100 percent of their customer transactions. This enables us to benchmark our internal scores against external feedback.

The Connection
(b-to-c integrated)
Burnsville, MN
www.the-connection.com


Q:What is special or unique about your staff that contributes to quality?

A: At The Connection, we strongly believe in service values and employee-focused cultures that can often be found in rural communities. Our four call centers are located in rural communities throughout Nebraska and New Mexico. We have found we are able to invest in rural communities and attract top-notch skilled employees with strong work ethics. Our agents view their roles with The Connection as more than just a job. They see it as a long-term career. Through increased investment in training and staff development, call center management teams help improve the skills of its staff. Our employees develop a strong loyalty to The Connection and often work to promote a positive image of our company within their communities. In the communities we are located, we are often the first or second largest employer.

NOVO 1
(b-to-c outbound)
Laurel, MD
www.novo1.com


Q:What are your monitoring practices?

A: Even if a sale looks perfect, it may not get through the pending process on outward appearances alone. NOVO 1 uses customer care representatives who report to Quality Assurance on the back end ' after a sale ' to ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of each record. Following every shift, NOVO 1's reps attempt to call back 100 percent of buyers, with a contact rate of 80 percent. Reps thank the buyer and try to assess the effectiveness of the pitch/script, as well as the courteousness of the rep and the quality and stability of the sale.

SR. Teleperformance
(b-to-b integrated)
Paris, France
www.srteleperformance.com


Q: Detail a specific program and explain the program's goal and outcome.

A: The client organization [uses MM Teleperformance, whose parent company is SR. Teleperformance, for a] long-term program to encourage blood donation. Bearing in mind donors are not paid and give up valuable time to donate, the communication program with them is paramount to its success. The London bomb blasts on July 7th triggered an unprecedented 10,000 calls to the hotline on a day when MM Teleperformance would normally expect 3,500, as the public were encouraged to help victims. At peak times during the day, almost 200 calls were received every three minutes. MM Teleperformance staff volunteered to work on their day off to help take as many calls as possible. The blood donor organization recorded a record number of new donor registrations that day.

ACS, Inc.
(b-to-c integrated)
Portland, OR
www.acs-inc.com


Q: Describe all efforts made to make your work environment more stress-free and ergonomically correct.

A: Because incentives and positive motivation are crucial to providing a great customer experience, we make all efforts to provide employees with a pleasant, positive and motivational working environment. Our 'open door' policy provides any employee with the opportunity to directly approach their management team with issues they are facing that could adversely affect their performance. Likewise, we routinely solicit suggestions from employees on how to make ACS a better place to work. Most of our new hires come from employee referrals, an indication that ACS is a good place to work. Additionally, all workstations are equipped with ergonomically correct chairs and computer equipment. Since we employ many physically challenged individuals, we also provide Braille keyboards and special computer equipment to enable them to work comfortably and effectively.

Alta Resources
(b-to-c integrated)
Neenah, WI
www.altaresources.com


Q: What do you do to demonstrate your commitment to staff quality, i.e., training, motivation techniques, etc.?

A: Each quarter, Alta holds an all-employee meeting. These Quarterly Employee Meetings are very motivational, inspirational meetings. The CEO leads each one. The agenda is designed to help employees see themselves as critical to the overall business success. Service anniversaries, special achievements/milestones and business results and issues are all shared during the meeting. Also, there is an employee Web site that features corporate news, personal updates on new employees, features on corporate activities and community events. All of these communications vehicles contribute to building a community of employees. In fact, in the employee opinion survey, 97 percent of our employees stated they are proud to work at Alta.

CIS

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