June 23, 2005, 12:00 AM

Call center ratings must be based on customer satisfaction

When setting service levels in agreements with call centers, retailers need to make sure those measurements truly impact customer satisfaction, says David Himes, senior vice president, NewRoads Fulfillment and Customer Care.

When setting service levels in agreements with call centers, retailers need to make sure those measurements truly impact customer satisfaction, says David Himes, senior vice president, NewRoads Fulfillment and Customer Care.

“Make sure the measures you put in your service level agreements make a difference to your customer and measure the right things,” Himes says. “Sometimes we put measures in place out of habit because we see it being done a lot in the industry. And other times we do it because it makes a difference to the customer. That’s got to be the ultimate focus.

To make sure their customers are satisfied with customer service, a retailer needs to work closely with their vendor, says Michael Arking, president of FrenchToast.com, a NewRoads client.

“It’s really about a good relationship between you and your partner, and how they can manage your business,” Arking says. “Can they represent your brand properly?”

FrenchToast speaks with NewRoads weekly, Arking says. “We have meetings where we talk about what’s appropriate for our customers. We get a lot of feedback about things that are happening with our clients.

For example, several years ago, FrenchToast had some defects in products and customer-service representatives felt they didn’t have the authority to resolve the problems when customers called in, Arking says. FrenchToast met with NewRoads to discuss the situation, and gave customer service reps more power and training. “We had a reduction of about 20% in the amount of calls we got in,” he says.

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