TMC, CUSTOMER Announce 2016 MVP Quality Award Winners


TMC, CUSTOMER Announce 2016 MVP Quality Award Winners

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  March 30, 2016

Customer service has gained something of a negative perception and, in fact, overall customer satisfaction is struggling mightily in the U.S., with the American Customer Service Index reporting the lowest overall CSAT ratings since 2009. The low mark is the result of a steep decline in ratings over the past two years, after a many years of consistent improvement. Certainly, there are other economic factors involved, but the figures should send a message to customer service teams and organizations that their efforts are a key element in overall business success.

The simple fact is that many businesses don't have the resources or the time or the skills to handle a full-scale customer service operation. In many cases, that means they cobble together some sort of CS team comprising any number of staff who are taking this on as an adjunct to their primary roles – not an efficient or effective way to run customer service. For those businesses that either can't or don't want to staff their own customer service organizations or contact centers centers, or for those that need seasonal or project-specific staffing, there is a broad spectrum of business process and customer service outsourcing firms. These are contact centers that specialize in inbound and/or outbound customer service and engagement and have made it their business to excel in the very factors that can help increase customer satisfaction levels.

For the past 22 years, TMC (News - Alert) and CUSTOMER magazine have named MVP Quality Award winners to provide a starting point for businesses seeking to increase the value, quality, and consistency of their customer engagement. As customer satisfaction erodes, the ability for businesses to recognize that customers have evolved, and so should their customer service strategies, becomes paramount. We're seeing continued awareness of omnichannel trends, and a need to equally effectively address each of the multiple channels customers are likely to leverage. We're also seeing continued commitment from management at outsourcers to aligning their capabilities (including technology and training) with both client needs and end-customer trends.

As such, the best outsourcing businesses are able to adapt to market trends without sacrificing their traditional core competencies and values. With that in mind, we are proud to present the 23rd edition of our MVP Quality Awards. We congratulate this year’s winners and hope you will use this list – and our quantitative annual Contact Center Outsourcing Rankings in the April issue – as a starting point in your quest to deliver the best to your customers. With the rankings, we have included key excerpts from the exhaustive essays each firm was required to submit as part of the application process.


InfoCision (News - Alert) Management Corp. 

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

The mission of InfoCision’s quality assurance program is simple:  quality makes a difference. We establish direct line metrics for every activity and we validate each process or make the needed adjustments. The overall goal is to help our people achieve success. As part of our Q3® quality assurance system, Communicators receive a minimum of nine and up to 20 assessments per month from three specialized areas of quality assurance: Procedural Skills (doing the right things), high value Audits and individual Presentation/Sales Skills (doing things right). For Procedural Skills, the Communicators undergo a quality assessment evaluation based on a 130-point criteria per phone call. Our Audits assess hundreds of calls on pinpointed, high-value components of each call, quickly identifying trends and areas for improvement. The Presentational and Sales Skills are assessed via our proprietary “Rules for Success” system, which measures the Communicator's ability to close a sale. The system allows supervisors, trainers and QA staff to identify areas for improvement and the coaching methods that will effectively improve their performance. All Communicators receive feedback at each level of Q3® as well as additional training in areas where they have not achieved their full potential. Individual programs and call centers also receive an assessment. The Q3® system has been so successful we trademarked it!

TLC Associates

How do you communicate your quality standards to your clients, and what assurances do you provide that those standards will be met?

TLC Associates is one of the few outsourcers still willing to base compensation on quality output. We routinely include quality standards in the contract agreements and plan our operational approach around such standards. We also make certain pricing allocations based on quality performance for incentives and disincentives.

Clients are given the opportunity to live monitor any agent or any interaction on their campaign at any time. We are also available to assist the client with blind monitoring sessions, but we have found that clients really appreciate the ability to log in at any time throughout the calling shift to monitor whom they wish. Clients are also able to download calls off a secure web interface should they wish to review calls outside of the normal program calling shift period. The client and client services team talk on a regular basis to discuss standards, calibrate term definitions, and make determinations on grey areas, etc. Feedback sessions have also been held with the end users of the product or service being offered. This provides the end user with the ability to improve the service through direct communication with the client services manager. In addition, we encourage clients to visit with the team of agents, operations managers, and quality assurance staff that has been assigned to their campaign. Giving clients easy access to the front-line staff enables them to see firsthand how their campaign is being conducted and encourages their participation in discussions on ways to improve program and agent performance.  



How do you communicate your quality standards to your clients, and what assurances do you provide that those standards will be met?

Ansafone believes that impressions are most often the byproduct of truth. When quality standards are high, the right impression will follow. Ansafone strives to maintain a solid and consistent quality standard and process of accountability. In addition to our internal calibrations, our QA team also conducts weekly and bi-weekly calibrations with clients able to participate. In the spirit of our Transparency Builds Trust core value, we believe this is a great opportunity to truly connect with our clients’ expectations, needs, and culture, and to best identify our successes and areas of opportunity for improvement. Ongoing calibrations allows our clients, and Ansafone, to clearly measure our progress


How has current technology changed how you communicate with your clients’ customers? What are the most common and most effective channels, and how do you ensure consistent quality across all channels?

Phone (News - Alert) is still the largest channel by volume, quickly giving way to live chat and social media. Important to note is that often times these channels don’t just exist in a vacuum or serve as the mutually exclusive channel of communication for customers. No, they will pivot between channels over the same inquiry or request; so it is imperative to be able to accommodate that desire to flow between channels and capture data and serve seamlessly regardless of channel of origin.

While many contact center operations won’t admit it, assuring quality of non-phone communication is a challenge. QA staff for live chat, social care, SMS text messaging, and email require writing skills in addition to understanding and passion for customer care. Training and retaining team members to perform QA tasks for omnichannel service is challenging for contact centers. Additionally, the short, 140-character-based style of writing mandated by Twitter (News - Alert) is an additional skill that requires time to identify and teach. As a result, Callzilla has adjusted our recruitment, training, and QA procedures to be able to identify experienced talent and to better coach and to better evaluate the written communications we produce on behalf of our clients. The traditional phone-based QA scorecards and practices have had to evolve to ensure strict, demanding quality standards to adequately serve ever-evolving consumer trends and preferences for omnichannel, on-demand communications with brands.


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

At the core of our quality methodology is our innovative workforce optimization application, KnoahsARK. It is a modular, web-based application that enables the various roles that exist in our organization to capture, import, share, and report on data in a variety of areas within our day-to-day operations. Knoah clients also have a key role and are provided access into KnoahsARK that enables them to have visibility into our operations in real time and also to provide direct feedback, raise alerts, and information that helps to speed communication on issues before they become potential customer-facing problems.

KnoahsARK enables us to track quality metrics for multiple clients and multiple criteria across multiple channels of customer interaction. Because we record every transaction, we are able to do things like review transactions that were associated with poor CSAT surveys to quickly identify problem areas with specific agents or groups of agents and provide specific and near real-time feedback that leads to re-training and improvement plans that make a difference. The QA component improves agent performance and the customer experience by calibrating evaluators, creating a collaborative QA environment by allowing agents to provide feedback or appeal evaluations, and assigning corrective actions, including training courses, define quality plans, and associate criteria scores to specific metrics and key performance indicators. This is what Knoah’s 360° Feedback process is all about: measuring, analyzing, improving, and re-evaluation.

New to our KnoahsARK suite is KnoahsARK 360, an integrated contact center performance management software that goes beyond agent-level workforce management and brings our clients one view analytics and actionable insights for their entire customer experience program environment across multiple levels and across multiple locations, providing a gateway to all applications at Knoah.



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

Fusion’s Quality Assurance is now so effective that we provide it as a separate paid service to several organizations. With effective planning and development of effective quality assurance models, we strive to improve customer satisfaction, increase average order value, lower average handle time and agent turnover, meet regulatory and compliance requirements, increase agent productivity through sensible planning, improve the overall processes, convert sales and seek out new opportunities for sales, and ultimately reduce defects and errors. When we began our operation, we practiced simple QA management techniques and were content with providing a few small coaching sessions for our workers per week. The more we came to understand the necessities of the business, the more we developed ourselves. Today, Fusion follows a well-defined and systematic quality management plan to monitor, assess, and improve the quality of customer service.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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