Q

Standardizing customer service with many call center outsourcing partners

Lori Bocklund offers advice on how streamline call center operations to ensure a single customer experience for the end user in this expert tip.

We have many call center software applications by different vendors as well as franchise organizations. We would like to streamline our call center operations to ensure a single customer experience for the end user, despite variation in vendor culture and quality of customer service. Where should we start streamlining the process? What is the best way to approach standardizing customer service? Should we make service-level agreements (SLAs) or first call resolution (FCR) the priority? We want to ensure that the vendors will buy into our standardization initiative.
While your question is not quite clear, I assume you are using a set of call center outsourcing partners. I suggest you start with a discovery process, creating a complete inventory of the current applications and operations. Conduct an assessment of the existing operations as standalone operations, as well as their fit for a virtualized operation. Then I would suggest you develop key requirements for the combined operation. Follow that by conducting an analysis of the various options and gaps, and work to develop a "best practices" vision for your operation. Then you will need to develop a plan to get there. This approach should help you to define the magnitude of the challenge as you progress through the steps so that you can build a realistic execution plan.

As far as the service-level agreement (SLA), this should be a priority once you've defined your vision. First call

resolution (FCR) is one potential element of an SLA with outsourcer vendors. You need to define a full call center metrics strategy as part of the overall process for developing your best practices vision. Then you can build the appropriate SLAs with your vendors.

This was first published in March 2007

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