Quality Certifications for Call Centres

While having a certification may not help you to get business, not having a certification may be a good reason for a prospective client to reject your organization. Certification is a useful way to advance your contact center career or evaluate how your center stacks up against your peers.

There are several certifications applicable to the BPO / Call Centre world. We have divided them into two broad categories: Individual (for employee) and Organizational (for employer) Certifications.

Nasscom is planning on introducing certification programs for HR personnel and also for BPO firms which could become an industry standard in India.

Organizational Certifications

ISO 9000

International Stands Organization (ISO) 9000 series, a European standard, is an international set of documents on quality assurance, written by members of a worldwide delegation known as the ISO/Technical Committee 176.

The ISO 9000 series consists of 5 documents; three core quality system documents, that are models of quality assurance, namely ISO 9001 – model for quality assurance in design / development, production, installation and servicing; ISO 9002 – model for quality production and installation; ISO 9003 – model for quality assurance in final inspection and test; and two supporting guidelines documents, namely ISO 9000 and ISO 9004.

COPC 2000

COPC 2000stands for Customer Operations Performance Centre. The COPC-2000 Standard was written in 1995 by a core group of users of call center services and associated distribution fulfilment operations, including representatives from American Express, Dell Computer Corp., Microsoft, Novell, L.L.Bean.

COPC is the world’s leading authority on customer contact centre operations. COPC is used to improve customer service.In India it can cost anywhere from Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakhs [about $50,000] and about a year to get the COPC certification. The adoption rate for COPC is much faster in India than other countries, which is a very good sign.The (COPCSM) mission is to develop and drive initiatives that support superior performance in customer-touch intensive environments, as measured by the criteria of customer service, customer satisfaction, and operation efficiency. These initiatives are developed and implemented in collaborative, consortium environment, which includes practitioners from both external and internal Customer Service Providers (CSPs), Outsourcers, industry suppliers, and other industry experts.

Today, COPC audits organizations for compliance to the COPC2000 Standard; conducts benchmark reviews of call centers and fulfilment centers, using the Standard as the organizing methodology for the data collected during the course of the review; consults with call centers and fulfilment centers on operational performance improvement; consults with purchasers of call center and fulfilment services on strategic alternatives for outsourcing, including how best to select and manage suppliers; provides industry-wide forums, such as conferences, workshops, and facilitated user groups, to foster an atmosphere supportive of high levels of customer service.

eSCM

(e Services Capability Model) World’s first capacity model to cater the unique requirements of ITES / BPO services. The model has been developed by Itsqc group at CMU Serwiz partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (founders of the SEICMM, used by the Software industry) to develop this capability model and associated assessment methods at the Department of Computer Science.

The model focuses on assisting customers to measure the capability of service providers on assisting customers to measure the capability of service providers to establish and manage continually improving outsourcing relationships.

It initiates and guides service providers through the process of continuous improvement by specifying practices to be implemented and institutionalized. It aims to become the preferred resource for best practices and appraisal of BPO capabilities. The eSCM will assess the capabilities of service providers to service customers in the IT enabled BPO business sector.

BS7799 / BS 7799 Security Standard

BS7799 is the most widely recognized security standard in the world. Although it was originally published in the mid-nineties, it was the re-vision of May 1999, which really put it on to the world stage, Ultimately, it evolved into BS EN 15017799 in December 2000.BS 7799 (ISO 17799) is comprehensive in its coverage of security issues, containing a significant number of control requirements.

Compliance with it is consequently a far from trivial task, even for the most security conscious of organizations. This web site is intended to help address this issue. It will introduce the main sections of the standard, as well as a number of methods and resources to help you tackle it more efficiency.

The first step is usually to obtain a copy of the standard itself. BS7799 / 15017799 can be procured either stand alone, or as part of an introductory toolkit.

Achieving compliance with BS 7799 is a substantial task. Assessing compliance levels for information systems, and then creating / implementing the necessary plans to become fully complaint, can by a very intensive process indeed. However, with the correct approach and method this effort can be minimized.

  • PCMM®: stands for People Capability Maturity Model. This provides guidance for organizations in crucial areas such as attracting, developing, motivating, deploying and training the talent needed to steadily improve the organization’s software development capability.
  • Support Center Practices (SCP) Certification: program was designed to address issues that affect the rapidly growing technology support industry. SCP Certification quantifies the effectiveness of customer support based upon a stringent set of performance standards and represents best practices in the industry.
  • Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a methodology that provides business with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation leads to defect reduction and vast improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of product.  Six Sigma is a rigorous and a systematic mythology that utilizes information (management by facts) and statistical analysis to measure and improve a company’s operational performance, practice and systems by identifying and preventing ‘defects’ in manufacturing and service related processes in order to anticipate and exceed expectations of all stakeholders to accomplish effectiveness.
  • Help Desk Institute: HDI is the world’s largest membership association for the service and support industry. Founded in 1989, HDI’s mission is to lead and promote the customer service and technical support industry by empowering its members through access to timely and valuable industry information, including reports and publications; encouraging member collaboration through events and online forums; and establishing internationally recognized, standards-based industry certification and training programs.

Individual Certifications

  • CIAC [Call Center Industry Advisory Council]: CIAC Certificationis the process by which the competence of individuals is assessed, validated, and recognized in specific areas of expertise based on the requirements of their job role, as determined by leading practitioners in the call center industry. It allows individuals to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of call centers, comprehensive knowledge of the essential aspects of their job function, and to demonstrate skills and behaviours identified as essential for success. Achieving CIAC Certification indicates that an individual:
    1. Has demonstrated mastery of industry-established knowledge, skill, and behavioral requirements
    2. Is committed to their career and ongoing professional development.
  • Software Support Professionals Association (SSPA): The SSPA offers five different levels of certification for the support professional:
    1. Customer service qualified
    2. Certified support professional
    3. Certified support specialist
    4. Certified support manager
    5. Certified support executive

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