Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Modifications to Call Center Certification Process Embrace Social Media

May 30, 2012

The task of interacting on multiple channels to resolve issues, answer customer questions and even sell products sounds simple enough, but the reality in the call center is challenges emerge on a daily basis that threaten the level of quality care these organizations strive to deliver to the customer base. With call center certification, call center leaders report they are better equipped to respond to these challenges and still meet performance expectations.

A recent Tech Target report highlighted the success a number of key players in the industry have had with CIAC certification from International Customer Management Institute, a consultancy and training firm. Brands such as State Farm Insurance and Coca-Cola Refreshments both report success with the program and look forward to recently announced updates.

International Customer Management Institute announced at the ACCE conference and expo in Seattle a revamped process for the call center certification. The changes are meant to reflect those that are impacting the industry, specifically as call centers try and leverage social media channels to connect with customers.

Glen Gemmill, Coca-Cola Refreshment’s vice president of customer care and one of 34 members of ICMI’s Advisory Council that shapes the call center certification process, refers to the update as a refinement. The call center is a constantly changing environment and social media is no longer just a small spot on the radar; it’s now an important part of the customer interaction process.

Within the Coca-Cola Refreshments environment, the update to the call center certification process allows for social media to be included in CIAC competency training and testing. The company had already implemented the use of social media in their call center, but this enhancement to the certification process will provide standards and guidelines to improve their processes and the customer experience.

Since its creation in 2003, CIAC call center certification has had very little change. Now, the updated version will offer training and testing on the maintenance of a consistent voice across multiple channels; the legal considerations for social channels; the impact these social channels will have on existing workloads; and the processes necessary to support social media efforts, such as forecasting, scheduling, staffing and quality improvements.

According to Tom Haas, enterprise services manager for State Farm Insurance and also an Advisory Council member, the new competencies in call center certification will provide managers with an improved sense of how to capture and analyze interactions on social media platforms without forgetting about the customer on the other end. Haas also suggests the call center should act as the backbone for the company’s integration into the social network environment.

The important thing to note with social media, says Linda Riggs, training director for ICMI, is that it is still a communication channel. The customer is using it to interact with the company and that company needs to respond appropriately. The CIAC call center certification helps in that process, demonstrating the appropriate methods for interactions that keep customer service at the forefront of the call center environment, regardless of the channel.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli