To certify or not to certify? That is the question. Or rather it’s a dilemma for many contact centres. It isn’t compulsory and costs money, but does it have any advantages? And if so, what are they?
Why should you certify?
There are many possible arguments in favour of certifying:
- based on meeting external demand
- based on your company’s positioning
- based on your own quality situation
- based on a mixture of these factors
Often it’s the latter, which seems like a decent balance to us. If you gain certification merely to please a third party, then you’re missing intrinsic opportunities. If you do it exclusively for internal reasons, there are other (less expensive) solutions.
At what level do you want to guarantee quality?
There are a number of labels on the market. If your answer to the question: “Do I WANT to certify?” is “Yes”, then the obvious next question is “How?”, Which label is the best fit for my organisation? At the end of January 2018 we attended the NBN event on the ISO 18295 standard, where 1SQ showed the interesting overview below, on which you can base your choice.
What is there to say about certification?
A certificate is objective
Everyone has some kind of quality assurance system. You spent weeks, months, sometimes years on it, and think that there is still little room for improvement. But is that really the case? Is your outlook still open enough or do you have tunnel vision? To prevent this kind of corporate blindness, the objective opinion of an outsider is highly desirable. Your organisation can only get better as a result. Everything is in place: great. Have you overlooked anything? Take the auditors’ advice. You can only benefit.
A certification audit offers potential opportunities for improvement
Audits are intensive. All your processes are questioned and tested. And you yourself will be involved, with the auditors talking to you. How are your processes organised? What policy and objectives do they serve? What risks are involved? Are there any opportunities for improvement? In short, the process sets you thinking. You can start ticking things off. And when the process is over, you’ll receive either a good or a bad report. If you receive a good report, then hurrah! That’s great confirmation that what you’re doing is right! But if you receive a bad report, where can improvements be made? And then you can continue optimising your process.
A certificate awards recognition
Are you the kind of organisation that is totally committed to quality? Then you know that designing a sustainable process demands intensive effort. You know where to start, but where should you stop? When is your process so slickly organised that it’s utterly perfect? When loopholes have been closed as far as possible and the incidence of errors in the system has been reduced to a minimum? Obtaining a relevant ISO certificate gives the green light to everyone involved. It provides recognition and a benchmark. And above all, it objectively crowns all your efforts. It says: “We’re on the right track and external parties confirm this”.
Certification supports and guarantees a continuous process
Obtaining certification does not mean that you can subsequently rest on your laurels. On the contrary, most certifications include interim (e.g. annual) evaluations to reconfirm your sound working methods. Consequently, a good certifier offers significant added value. You regularly receive feedback on whether or not your quality assurance system is working well, so it remains optimally suited to the task. Sound self-reflection + confirmation from a third party = an optimally correct view.
Quality confirmed by a third party generates confidence
Have your customers ever asked for an ISO certificate? Really? None of ours ever have. But we’re rather proud of it. It makes us feel good, that we’re doing things right. Why? Because it indicates that we have our organisation in order. And that, we notice, inspires trust. But yes, there is also a downside. If something goes less than optimally here, then we have a bad conscience. And we are told that this had not been expected of an organisation with the highest certifications.
But at the same time, thanks to our certified status, our customers also know that we do all we can to rectify any errors that occur. Because human beings making mistakes. That said, having optimal quality assurance processes minimises the likelihood of errors. Because your organisation is structurally well organised. And that is what we strive for.
A few months ago, N-Allo decided to obtain the latest quality label for contact centres, the ISO 18295-1 standard. Bjorn Martin, our in-house quality expert, led the process within N-Allo to gain this high-level certification from A to Z. “Getting a quality certificate isn’t easy”, he says. “As a contact centre, you need a solid footing and have to be able to justify every step of your work process. But we think it’s worthwhile having our organisation also measured and validated by third parties. That way we get an objective opinion, and are 100% certain that we not only believe we’re doing well, but that this is actually the case. This way, any bottlenecks are exposed, and we can make any necessary adjustments. Our prime objective is to be able to help our end customers in the best possible way, and that is only possible if working within a process in which every step is optimised. Our processes + their application are extremely goal-oriented and geared towards our end customers. We can now prove that once more by gaining the highest certification available in the business. And that’s something we’re proud of. It also reaffirms our company’s position as a high-quality contact centre, a standing we’ve proudly upheld and maintained for years now.
On 25/01/2018, Bjorn represented N-Allo as an experienced expert guest speaker at the NBN event on the ISO 18295 standard (an event for customer care managers, auditors and quality assurance managers).
This is what he says about addressing the NBN Academy: “The room was full of famous big names from the world of contact centres. The many questions that followed the talk, the high degree of interactivity and interest, confirm that the question of whether or not to gain certification is clearly a hot issue. That makes me even more proud of the fact that we at N-Allo are blazing a trail in terms of quality and its certification”.
Here’s a brief summary of what N-Allo means in terms of quality certification within the Belgian market:
- 1st to obtain the European Contact Centre Standard (ECCS)
- 1st to gain the Premium Contact Centre quality label
- 1st to be awarded the ISO 18295-1 standard
So at N-Allo we say a definite yae to certification!