Published: September 18, 2012 | Comments (2)
CMOS Certification: Validating Contact Center Operations Best Practices
In 2011, ICMI certified ADP, a leading provider of human resource outsourcing, payroll services, tax and compliance services, benefits administration and accounts payable solutions, via its Customer Management Operations Standards (CMOS) program. ICMI’s CMOS Program supports a comprehensive call center management framework that employs a mix of specialized tools, cross-industry best practices, assessments, and proven systems. This helps participating organizations deliver sustained contact center efficiency and effectiveness over the long term. Comprised of a four-step process, CMOS participants first take part in a formal assessment, followed by an improvement and implementation period, then a subsequent audit, which finally prepares them for certification.
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®) at a Glance:
Location(s): Des Moines, IA; Salt Lake City, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Augusta, GA; El Paso, Texas; Hyderabad and Pune, India; Manila, Philippines.
Hours of operation:7 AM – 7 PM, Central Time
Number of agents:850
Services your center provides: Resolves payroll, benefit and HR inquiries from our client’s employees.
Channels Handled: Telephone calls, email, web self serve and fax
Contacts Handled Per Day/Week/Month/Year:3.3 million calls a year.
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®) was the first contact center to receive this certification. ICMI recently chatted with Dan Hammelman, Vice President, and ADP National Account Service Centers to find out more about why ADP sought out ICMI’s CMOS program.
ICMI: Can you tell us a bit about what ADP does?
Dan Hammelman: Sure. ADP is one of the largest providers of business outsourcing solutions to employers and vehicle dealerships around the world. We provide human capital management, talent management, payroll services, benefits administration and integrated computing solutions for vehicle dealers and bring more than 60 years of unrivaled industry experience to the marketplace. Today, we serve approximately 600,000 organizations in over 125 countries, including nearly 400,000 small business clients and about 25,000 vehicle dealerships. In fact, more than 80 percent of FORTUNE 500 companies and more than 90 percent of FORTUNE 100 companies use at least one of our services.
We’re also one of the largest B2B software providers globally, and one of the most innovative companies when it comes to developing and deploying technology. While many other companies have laid claim to being champions of cloud computing, we actually helped pioneer the cloud computing industry and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model long before it became fashionable.
ICMI: What led you to seek out CMOS certification?
Dan Hammelman: In the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry, clients are relying on us to deliver world class service to their employees. We are dealing with payroll, benefit and HR inquiries from those employees dealing with very sensitive information. Leaders in our client’s organization ask, “Can we trust ADP to deliver quality service?” Having a trusted, unbiased third party validate our operations as adhering to best practices is a very powerful thing. It essentially says, “Yes, they’re following best practices, they do what they say they’re going to do. They have the right controls and processes in place, and they have the right customer service or quality assurance program.” To have such an endorsement goes a long way in helping prospective ADP clients feel even more confident about partnering with us.
ICMI’s CMOS methodology is comprised of a four-step process: Assessment, Improvements, Audit and Certification. ADP was guided through each phase of the process by a team of ICMI experts. During the assessment, ICMI prepared a comprehensive qualitative and quantitativeanalysis and improvements roadmap, which included briefings with key executives, interviews with contact center leaders and focus groups with contact center representatives. ICMI consultants have real call center experiences, which is very beneficial during the certification process. Not only do they have the business acumen and knowledge, they also have the ‘know how’ to work with an organization through an audit. In addition, the ICMI experts we worked with fully understood that business operations need to continue uninterrupted during the audit, and consequently they were very cautious of their presence.
ICMI: Now that ADP is successfully certified, have you found the certification is enhancing trust in your service capabilities and ability to execute?
Dan Hammelman: Yes, the certification has proven its value for us in that clients and prospective clients see it as a differentiating factor from our competitors. In the BPO space, we are not aware of any other outsourcers that currently have this certification.
It’s much like a report card – you never really know where you really stand until you get your report card. It has also instilled additional confidence with our Call Center operations management team, since they now have a trusted third party reaffirming to them that we are doing the right things.
ICMI: What is your advice for others outsourcers or contact centers looking to, as you’ve said, ‘validate’ processes? What is the first step?
Dan Hammelman: For any contact center, understanding call centers fundamentals is important. The two fundamentals that I consider most important are Workforce Management practices and Quality Assurance program expectations. To receive feedback and suggestions in those two areas, whether it’s a validation or a needed change is very valuable.
The first step when considering whether or not to pursue getting certified is making sure the contact center you lead is established and has standard operating procedures that you can reference. Another beneficial step is for you and your staff to attend relevant classes and symposiums in order to gain a better sense as to how your operations measure up to others in your industry. This is an important thing to assess before taking the leap to pursue becoming certified. And perhaps most important is being ready to take action, because after you receive your initial results and receive your scores and feedback, you need to be prepared to address and make changes in the areas where you may have fallen short. If you’re not prepared or in a position to make changes relatively quickly, it may not be the right time or a worthy investment of your time and resources.
At ADP, we were fortunate enough to have the backing of our senior leadership to make necessary changes. In fact, we have already made numerous improvements and have further analyzed the changes we anticipate needing to make a year out from now when our next CMOS certification audit is due.
Christina Hammarberg is Associate Editor and Community Manager for ICMI.
Do you want to share your contact center’s story with the ICMI Community? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.