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Quantifying Quality in call centers

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #16499
    Saeed Qadri

    Dear All,

    Recently I was given a chance to present in a seminar on quality concepts within contact center industry. I find it extremely pertinent to Pakistan and more so for any startup. Here I am reproducing the text of the slides. Let me know if it helps or if you require the original PPT file.

    My Warm Regards.
    Saeed Qadri

    • A brief evolution of contact center industry
    • The Contact Center Industry segmentation
    • KPI’s and measurability
    • Certification Landscape
    • KPI data in a quality framework
    • A certification strategy
    • Beyond measurements

    Evolution of call centers
    • 1968 (?). A US federal judge orders Ford Motor Company to establish a free phone line to facilitate recall of a faulty car. AT&T and Ford develop the 800 number in response.
    • 1972. AT&T decline to develop an ACD for Eastern Airlines because there is “no real market” for such a product. Instead Rockwell International designs and develops the world’s first customer designed ACD – the Galaxy.
    • 1977-78. The TARP studies carried out for the US Dept of Trade demonstrate a dramatic change in customer behavior. This was confirmed by the update study commissioned in 1985.
    • 1981. The GE Answer Centre is established to help customers get in touch with GE. Since it opened this centre has served as a model and World Class benchmark for other corporations. Between 1984 and 1989, GE established 52 different call centre operations within its many business divisions.
    • 1984-5. AT&T embarks on the largest outbound Telemarketing campaign in history; 16 million households are contacted and offered to sign on with AT&T long distance. To facilitate customer enquires resulting from this project AT&T opens an 800 station call centre in Jacksonville Florida.
    • 1986. AT&T publishes the book Successful Telemarketing and spends 20-30 million US dollars promoting the use of 800 numbers.
    • In the period from 1980 to 1990, the US labour department estimated that 4 million new jobs were created in call centre operations in the USA.
    • 1990—2000 Off shoring the GE fueled Indian BPO model
    Why quality?
    • Different reasons
    • For outsourcer it is a BDM tool
    • For a service company it is a retained customer
    • Tool for customer satisfaction
    • More business
    • More up-sell opportunities
    • $$$$$ !
    Industry Division in call centers
    • Inbound/Outbound/blended
    • Offshore/near-shore/on-shore
    • In-house / outsourced/ blended delivery

    • Different Key Performance Indicators for all of them
    KPIs and measurability
    • KPIs categories
    • Wait for Service
    – Service Level
    – Average Speed of Answer
    – Abandon Rate
    – Response Time
    • Length/Number of Contacts
    – Average Talk time
    – Average Handle Time by Media
    – Average Number of Contacts
    by Media
    – Number of Contacts to Resolution
    by Media
    • Employee Work
    – Average Call Length
    – Occupancy
    – Availability
    KPIs (Contd)
    – Quality
    • Customer Satisfaction
    • Quality Monitoring Scores
    • First Contact Resolution Rate
    – Cost
    • Cost per contact by Media
    • Cost Per Minute
    • Sales Capture Rate
    • Upsell/Cross sell Rate
    Wait for Service
    • Service Level
    – Also called Telephone Service Factor (TSF). This is the percentage of calls answered within a specified amount of time. For example, if the service level time is set at 50 seconds and 85% of calls are answered in less than 50 seconds then the service level is 85. The actual amount of time specified is chosen based on a variety of management considerations.

    This is sometime abbreviated ‘SVL’ when display space is at a premium
    • Average Speed of Answer
    – ASA – Also called Average Seconds to Answer or Average Time to Answer (ATA). The average of the amount of time that has been taken to answer all calls in a given period (e.g. the last 15 minutes, today, this month). It is the total amount of time all calls waited to be answered divided by the total number of calls. It is often expressed in seconds.
    • Abandon Rate
    – An incoming call answered by your ACD, which is terminated by the person originating the call before it is answered by the agent.
    • Response Time
    Length/Number of Contacts
    • Average Talk time
    – The average amount of time the agent spends talking to the caller. Usually timed from when the call arrives at the agent to the time it is released by the agent.
    • Average Handle Time by Media
    – How long on average an agent spends on each call.
    • Average Number of Contacts by Media
    • Number of Contacts to Resolution by Media
    Employee Work
    Average Call Length
    – The amount of duration average call lasts. Calculated by dividing the total number of minutes conservation by the number of conversations/
    • Occupancy
    – The percentage of the scheduled work time that employees are actually handling calls or after-call wrap-up work.
    • Availability
    – The amount of time an agent or agent group is available to receive calls.

    KPIs as a basis for QA
    • Your KPIs will be the Core set of data for any framework (COPC, ISO , Six Sigma , CMM)
    • Data capture devices/control
    • Visibility / invisibility
    • KPI data propagation in a framework
    Certifications: a tool for quality ?
    • Provides a basic mindset or thought-framework
    • Draw a line somewhere (dis-advantages?)
    • Pragmatic views / metrics development
    • Quality of people = Quality of Centre = $$$

    Certification Landscape
    • Individual Certifications
    • Operations Management
    • CRM
    • Domain Specific (Help Desk, Tech-support , Domain Support OpenWorks, Business Applications)
    • CIAC
    • P.CRM (Association for the Advancement of Relationship (AARM))
    • HDI Certification

    • Organizational Certification
    • General
    • COPC
    • ISO
    • SixSigma
    • CMM
    • Domain Specific/Compliance
    • HIPAA,
    • FTC

    KPI’s and Frameworks
    • KPI will be the seed data to any frameworks
    • Some frameworks are more administrative in nature. Good entry points !
    • ISO : For organizations
    • CCOM : For Individuals
    • Some frameworks are more abstract or sophisticated
    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 five 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.
    • stands 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 fulfillment operations,
    • 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/Pakistan it can cost anywhere from Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakhs [about $50,000] and about a year to get the COPC certification.
    • The (COPC) 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.
    • Very strong knowledge back-end and KB network
    • 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)
    • The model focuses on assisting customers to measure the capability of service providers on 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

    Other models / frameworks
    • 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 Certification is 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 behaviors identified as essential for success.
    • Achieving CIAC Certification indicates that an individual:
    – Has demonstrated mastery of industry-established knowledge, skill, and behavioral requirements
    – Is committed to their career and ongoing professional development.

    • CCOM Outline

    • The Help Desk 2000 community provides a global forum for expressing your views and sharing your challenges about the help desk support industry. The Community is comprised of support professionals, managers, and directors, as well as STI Knowledge and other help desk industry experts and visionaries.
    • Software Support Professionals Association (SSPA) – The SSPA offers five different levels of certification for the support professional:
    – Customer service qualified
    – Certified support professional
    – Certified support specialist
    – Certified support manager
    – Certified support executive

    A suggested road map

    Beginners Track
    • ISO
    • CIAC : CCOM / CCMA
    • Domain Skill certifications (Mous , SAP etc)
    • More quantitative
    • More Control

    Road to expertise
    • COPC  Six Sigma
    • Domain Certifications a must
    • Why are we here in the first place ?
    • ComplianceSatisfaction Delight
    Value Chain
    Beyond Measurements
    • not only Nice, but Needed : Not only a BDM tool
    • Beyond This-looks-nice-on-letter-head mentality
    • Repeat customer = Repeat business

    Good-Bad-Ugly ?
    • 90% of all calls answered by a person in 20 seconds &

    • 90% of all calls handled to satisfactory completion (to the customer) at entry point, also called First Call Resolution.

    • Staff turnover


    Very good stuff…wonder if you can send me the presenation as a file.



    great work saeed lot of research has gone behind this work good luck


    this is good solid stuff. What is your take on CIAC certifications ; are they effective ?



    Good information. I’d like to correct a few inaccuracies:

    Telephone Service Factor (TSF) is not the same as service level. Service level is defined as percentage of calls answered within a predefined threshold (e.g. 95% in 30 seconds). TSF is a combined metric of service level and abandoned calls. TSF calculations vary depending on the organization’s strategy for handling abandoned calls (see

    ASA=Average Speed of Answer

    Response Time = ASA

    As defined, average talk time , average handle time and average call length are essentially identical. More precisely, average talk time and average call length are identical. Average handling time (AHT) is the sum of average talk time and after call work (ACW).

    Saeed Qadri

    Thanks Joe, You are right. I will correct this in my original presentation.

    Warm Regards
    Saeed Qadri


    Hi Saeed ,
    Dam good work keep it up .
    anyways i need a help from you
    i m working in call centre as a quality analysist and i want to know how i should improve on barging the calls and how should i make the reports of the agents and the teams and supervisor. and plz tell me what are the various works performed by a Q.A


    Excellent information from all of you.
    I just took over inbound call centre and having experience in outbound sales environment I find all information above extremelly useful.



    i m working in call centre as a quality analysist and i want to know how i should improve on barging the calls and how should i make the reports of the agents and the teams and supervisor. and plz tell me what are the various works performed by a Q.A

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