Contact center service quality in Europe; a standard Transcom’s quality team promoted and helped to define
When tackling the subject of contact center quality, national and European standards provide the benchmark for ensuring that users receive the best customer experience. The standards UNI 11200 and EN 15838 published in 2010 set out the requirements of call centers and establish transparency, consistency with service goals, expertise, continuity of assistance and technology as the criteria to ensure that a service satisfies users’ real needs. The standard outlines a series of requirements that define Call Center Quality consistently throughout Europe. These strategic, organizational and operating requirements affect all aspects of a Call Center structure and the services it offers, from communication policy to role definition and internal organization, from the selection and training of resources to rules of professional conduct and social responsibility, and from claim management to customer satisfaction.
I am proud to have played a leading role in defining and drafting the standards, and I can say that this experience is of great value in my present role as Total Quality Manager at Transcom Italy. It all started in 2005, when – having gained several years of experience in the area of quality and operating processes - I was asked to participate in a project to develop an Italian national standard for the Call Center sector. As France already had begun to draw up a national standard they intended to submit to CEN (the European Standards Entity), meant that we had to move quickly if we wanted to play a leading role in this Europe-wide project ourselves. Together with a working group consisting of myself representing outsourced Call Centers, representatives from in-house Call Centers as Telecom, Poste etc., and people from various consumer associations, we managed to set up the national standard, UNI 11200:2006 in record-breaking nine months. Once we presented our standard to CEN in order to participate in the European project, I had the honor of representing the entire Italian Call Center sector. The European project took three years to complete, (which is average for CEN), and was monitored by representatives from various countries as Italy, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway who together defined the structure of standard EN 15838:2009. Italy was very active in the project, as is demonstrated by the fact that the new European standard adopted numerous aspects of UNI 11200. Although several years have passed since the publication of the European standard, the call center sector still uses it as a benchmark. For example, there was recently a workshop held in Milan on the subject of UNI11200/EN15838. The comprehensiveness and level of details of these standards make them an extremely powerful tool that call centers can use to drastically improve the quality of the services they offer. In Transcom, many of the contracts we manage make explicit reference to these standards, which are stipulated with increasing frequency by companies and clients as tender specification requirements. And then, of course, offering excellent quality of service is a fundamental aspect of our company mission: we want to ensure that consumers and users receive the best possible customer experience.