SQM’s Awards Program


SQM's 16th Annual Call Center Conference First Call Resolution Best Practices and Call Center Industry Awards




About SQM’s Call Center Industry Awards Program


SQM’s call center industry awards of excellence program is the most prestigious and sought after North American call center awards program. SQM benchmarks over 500 leading North American call centers on an annual basis and has been conducting first call resolution (FCR), employee satisfaction (Esat) and customer satisfaction (Csat) call center benchmarking studies and Best Practice evaluations since 1996. On an annual basis, SQM conducts over 1 million surveys with customers who have used a call center. SQM also conducts over 25,000 surveys annually with employees who work in call centers. Our customer and employee survey call center benchmarking database is one of the largest in North America. SQM conducts business in 11 countries around the globe: Canada, United States, Argentina, Australia, Puerto Rico, India, Philippines, Costa Rica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. You will be benchmarked against leading North American companies such as Aetna, Amex Canada Inc., Avon, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Canadian Tire, Capital One, Coors, Discover Financial, Fedex, Marriott, Sears, US Bank, Scotiabank, Safeway and OfficeMax.

What makes SQM awards unique is that they are based on customers who have used a call center and employees who work in a call center. SQM will conduct the call center benchmarking studies for the period of January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. For each call center that participates in our customer call center benchmarking study, SQM completes 400 post-call surveys, conducted by SQM’s telephone survey representatives. A sample size of 400 surveys provides a margin of error +/- 5% with a confidence level of 95%. All customer post-call surveys have 12 or more questions and take approximately 3-5 minutes to complete. The surveys are conducted within 1 business day of the customer’s call with the call center in order to understand their FCR and satisfaction with their call center experience. SQM uses an in-depth post-call customer survey approach that consists of both rating questions and follow-up customer feedback questions that can be used to measure and help the call center improve their FCR and Csat performance.

In addition, for each organization that participates in our employee benchmarking study, SQM completes a minimum of 100 customer service representative (CSR) employee surveys, or if the call center had less than 100 CSRs, 90% of the CSR workforce completes surveys. All employee surveys have 50 or more questions and are conducted online at the CSR and supervisor levels. This confidential employee online survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. SQM uses an in-depth online employee survey approach that consists of both rating questions and employee feedback questions. The employee survey focuses on the call center’s FCR effectiveness from CSR and supervisor perspectives.

In addition, SQM recognizes call centers and vendors that have demonstrated FCR best practices for the following categories: Quality Assurance Program, Desktop Application(s), Recognition Program, Career Advancement, Call Handling Practice, Real-Time CSR Support Queue, Performance Management System, CSR Coaching, Training Program, CSR Hiring Process. Best Practice Awards will be announced November 2014.

We have 64 different awards and recognize the top performing organizations for the awards listed below. The 2015 Call Center Industry Conference will be held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 2nd to 4th, 2015.

Call Center Awards

Benchmarking client performance is judged using the best performance from any study conducted between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. The minimum sample size of 400 surveys is required.

Tracking client performance is judged using the best performance from any month, quarter or six month time period between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. The time period is based on the smallest time frame where the minimum sample size of 400 surveys is met.

SQM Awards


Customer AWARDS

Employee AWARDS

Vendor FCR Best Practice AWARDS

1. Call Center of the Year Award
2. Best Performing (Small/Mid-Size) Call Center Award
3. Call Center World Class Certification
4. Call Center Site World Class Call Certification
5. Customer Representative World Class Call Certification
6. Supervisor World Class Certification
7. CSR of the Year and Top 10 Finalists
8. Supervisor of the Year and Top 5 Finalists
9. FCR Improvement Awards
10. Customer Representative World Class Improvement
11. Supervisor World Class Improvement
12. Highest Telecom/TV Customer Service
13. Highest Credit Card Customer Service
14. Highest Financial Customer Service
15. Highest Banking Customer Service
16. Highest Energy Customer Service
17. Highest Retail Customer Service
18. Highest Health Care Customer Service
19. Highest Union Customer Service
20. Highest Government Customer Service
21. Highest Helpdesk Customer Service
22. Highest B2B Customer Service
23. Best Customer Satisfaction Selling
24. Highest IVR Satisfaction – Self Serve
25. Highest IVR Satisfaction – Navigate
26. Highest Call Escalation Customer Service
27. Highest Claim Resolution Experience
28. Highest Call Center Industry Satisfaction
29. Most Improved Employee Satisfaction
30. Highest Telcom/TV Satisfaction
31. Highest Credit Card Satisfaction
32. Highest Financial Satisfaction
33. Highest Banking Satisfaction
34. Highest Energy Satisfaction
35. Highest Retail Satisfaction
36. Highest Health Care Satisfaction
37. Highest Union Satisfaction
38. Highest Government Satisfaction
39. Highest Helpdesk Satisfaction
40. Highest Outsourcer Satisfaction
41. World Class Employee Satisfaction
42. Highest Work From Home Employee Satisfaction
43. FCR Leadership Award
44. FCR Champion Award

Call Center FCR Best Practices AWARDS

45. Best Practice – Quality Assurance Program
46. Best Practice – Desktop Application(s)
47. Best Practice – CSR Recognition Program
48. Best Practice – Career Advancement
49. Best Practice – Call Handling Practice
50. Best Practice – Real-Time CSR Support Queue
51. Best Practice – Performance Management System
52. Best Practice – CSR Coaching Program
53. Best Practice – CSR Training Program
54. Best Practice – CSR Hiring Process

55. Vendor Best Practice – Quality Assurance Program
56. Vendor Best Practice – Desktop Application(s)
57. Vendor Best Practice – CSR Recognition Program
58. Vendor Best Practice – Career Advancement
59. Vendor Best Practice – Call Handling Practice
60. Vendor Best Practice – Real-Time CSR Support Queue
61. Vendor Best Practice – Performance Management System
62. Vendor Best Practice – CSR Coaching Program
63. Vendor Best Practice – CSR Training Program
64. Vendor Best Practice – CSR Hiring Process

Customer Awards


Award Name

Definition

How it is Judged

1. Call Center of the Year Award and Top 3 Finalists The Call Center of the Year award recognizes the organization with the highest combined FCR rating and overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating.

The top 3 finalists are also based on the highest combined FCR and Esat ratings with a weighting of 60% to FCR and 40% to Esat.

The top 2 finalists receive an SQM plaque and the Call Center of the Year winner will receive an SQM gold trophy. The Call Center of the Year will be announced at the SQM Call Center Industry Conference and the top 3 finalists will be announced January 2015.

FCR is judged using a minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects the organization’s actual call type volume.
 
Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100 employee online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
 
(To be eligible for this award an organization must have at least 100 CSR employees).
2. Best Performing (Small/Mid-Size) Call Center Award and Top 3 Finalists The Best Performing (Small/Mid-Size) Call Center award recognizes the organization with the highest combined FCR rating and overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating.

The top 3 finalists are also based on the highest combined FCR and Esat ratings with a weighting of 60% to FCR and 40% to Esat.

The top 2 finalists receive an SQM plaque and the Best Performing (Small/Mid-Size) Call Center winner will receive an SQM gold trophy. The Best Performing (Small/Mid-Size) Call Center will be announced at the SQM Call Center Industry Conference and the top 3 finalists will be announced January 2015.

FCR is judged using a minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects the organization’s actual call type volume.
 
Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 90% of employees using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
 
(To be eligible for this award an organization must have between 25 to 99 CSR employees).
3. Call Center World Class Certification

Call Center World Class Certification is based on 80% of customers being overall very satisfied (top box response) with their call center experience, are very satisfied with the CSR who handled their call and their call was resolved. The organization will receive an SQM gold trophy. Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
 
A minimum sample size of 800 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume is required.
4. Call Center Site World Class Call Certification

Call Center Site World Class Certification is based on 80% of customers being overall very satisfied (top box response) with their call center experience, are very satisfied with the CSR who handled their call and their call was resolved. The call center site will receive an SQM gold trophy. Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
 
A minimum sample size of 800 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume is required.
5. Customer Representative World Class Call Certification

Customer Representative World Class Certification is based on 80% of customers being overall very satisfied (top box response) with their call center experience, are very satisfied with the CSR who handled their call and their call was resolved. World Class Certified CSRs will receive an SQM Certificate to display on their desk. Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
 
A minimum sample size of 25 attributed customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume is required.
6. Supervisor World Class Call Certification Supervisor World Class Certification is based on 80% of customers being overall very satisfied (top box response) with their call center experience, are very satisfied with the CSR who handled their call and their call was resolved. World Class Certified Supervisors will receive an SQM Certificate to display on their desk. Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
 
A minimum sample size of 200 attributed customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume is required.
7. Customer Representative of the Year and Top 10 Finalists To be eligible a CSR has to be world class certified (see the definition for award #5). CSR of the Year will receive a world class medallion, a plaque award to display on their desk and $500 cash! CSR top 10 finalists will receive a world class medallion and a plaque award to display on their desk. Organizations can submit an unlimited number of nominations for the CSR of the Year award and top 10 finalist awards as long as the CSR is certified as world class.
 
The CSR nominee submissions must be based on a customer experience story and should be chosen by senior management and then submitted to SQM.
 
The customer stories are the basis on which the SQM management team will judge the CSR of the Year and top 10 finalists.
 
All customer representative finalists will be announced before the SQM conference. CSR of the Year will be announced at the SQM Call Center Industry Conference.
8. Supervisor of the Year and Top 5 Finalists To be eligible a supervisor has to be world class certified (see the definition for award #6). Supervisor of the Year will receive a world class medallion, a plaque award to display on their desk and $500 cash! Supervisor top 5 finalists will receive a world class medallion and a plaque award to display on their desk. Organizations can submit an unlimited number of nominations for the Supervisor of the Year award and top 5 finalist awards as long as the supervisor is certified as world class.
 
The supervisor nominee submission to SQM must be based on a customer experience story from their CSRs on how the supervisor helped them improve their call resolution or Csat performance and then submitted to SQM.
 
The customer stories are the basis on which the SQM management team will judge the Supervisor of the Year and top 5 finalists.
 
All supervisor finalists will be announced before the SQM conference. Supervisor of the Year will be announced at the SQM Call Center Industry Conference.
9. First Call Resolution Improvement Award This award recognizes organizations that have a 5% or greater annual 2014 FCR improvement from the previous year. Each FCR improvement award winner will receive an SQM gold trophy. First call resolution is judged using a minimum sample size of 400 customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume.
 
This award is based on the organization’s 2014 annual FCR rating compared to their 2013 annual FCR rating.
10. Customer Representative Top 10 World Class Improvement Top 10 customer representatives that have a 10% or greater annual world class metric improvement from the previous year receive a world class medallion and a plaque award acknowledging accomplishment. SQM’s world class criteria are based on the definition section for award #5, World Class Certification.
 
Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
 
The CSR nominee submission to SQM must be based on a CSR customer service improvement story and should be chosen by senior management and then submitted to SQM.
 
The customer service improvement stories are the basis on which the SQM management team will judge the CSR World Class Improvement finalists.
 
A minimum sample size of 25 attributed customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume for both current and past year.
11. Supervisor Top 5 World Class Improvement Top 5 supervisors that have a 10% or greater annual world class metric improvement from the previous year receive a world class medallion and a plaque award acknowledging accomplishment. SQM’s world class criteria are based on the definition section for award #6, World Class Certification.
 
Surveying must have been conducted for a minimum of 3 consecutive months during the Award year from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.

The supervisor nominee submission to SQM must be based on improvement stories from their CSRs on how the supervisor helped them improve their call resolution or Csat performance and then submitted to SQM.
 
The supervisor improvement stories are the basis on which the SQM management team will judge the Supervisor World Class Csat Improvement finalists.
 
A minimum sample size of 200 attributed customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume for both current and past year.

12 – 22. Highest Specific Industry/Sector Call Center Customer Service Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest call center customer service rating for each specific industry/sector (i.e., telecom/TV [consumer and business], credit card, financial, banking, energy, retail, health care, union, government, helpdesk & B2B). Customer service is based on having the highest FCR rating for a specific industry, sector or outsourcer. Award winners receive an SQM gold trophy. Customer service is based on having the highest FCR rating.
 
A minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume.
23. Best Customer Satisfaction Selling Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest customer satisfaction for selling approach (top box) rating. Award winner receives an SQM plaque. Customer satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume.
 
To be eligible for this award an organization must have at least 200 surveys where an offer was made.
24. Highest IVR Customer Satisfaction Self-Serve Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest IVR overall customer satisfaction (top box) rating for a self-serve IVR. Award winner receives an SQM plaque. Customer satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual IVR call type volume.
25. Highest IVR Navigation to CSR Performance Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest customer satisfaction (top box) rating for the ease of navigating to a CSR. A minimum sample size of 400 customer live telephone surveys taken from a random selection of calls that reflects your actual call type volume.
 
To be eligible for this award an organization’s IVR must have a minimum of 4 menu choices.
26. Highest Call Escalation Award This award recognizes the organization’s call center with the highest customer service for escalation calls. Award winner receives an SQM gold trophy. Customer service is based on having the highest FCR rating.
 
A minimum sample size of 400 customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of customers who used your call escalation queue.
27. Highest Claim Resolution Experience This award recognizes the organization with the highest customer service experience with a claims call. Customer experience is based on the customers being overall very satisfied (top box response) with their claims experience. Award winner receives an SQM gold trophy. Customer service is based on having the highest claim satisfaction.

A minimum sample size of 400 customer telephone surveys taken from a random selection of customers who called in regarding a claim.

Employee Awards


Award Name

Definition

How it is Judged

28. Highest Call Center Industry Employee Satisfaction Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating. Award winners receive an SQM gold trophy. Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100 using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
 
To be eligible for this award an organization must have at least 100 CSR employees.
29. Most Improved Employee Satisfaction Award This award recognizes the organization with the most improved overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating. Award winners receive an SQM plaque. Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100, or 90% of employees if less than 100 employees at the organization, using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
 
This award is based on the organization’s 2014 overall employee satisfaction baseline rating compared to their 2013 overall employee satisfaction baseline rating.
30 – 40. Highest Specific Industry/Sector/Outsourcer Employee Satisfaction Award This award recognizes the organization with the highest overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating for each specific industry/sector (i.e., telecom, credit card, financial, banking, energy, retail, health care, union, government, helpdesk & outsourcer). Award winners receive an SQM plaque. Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100, or 90% of employees if less than 100 employees at the organization, using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
41. World Class Employee Satisfaction Award World Class Employee Satisfaction is based on 50% or more of CSR surveys being a “world class Esat” survey. Award winners receive an SQM plaque. SQM’s World Class Employee Satisfaction criteria is based on CSRs being overall very satisfied (top box response) with working at the call center.
 
To be eligible, an organization must complete a minimum sample size of 100 CSR online surveys, or 90% of employees if less than 100 employees at the organization, must have completed the online survey.
42. Highest Work From Home Employee Satisfaction This award recognizes the organization with the highest work from home overall employee satisfaction (top box) rating. Award winners receive an SQM plaque. Employee satisfaction is judged using a minimum sample size of 100, or 90% of employees if less than 100 employees at the organization, using online surveys taken from a random selection of CSR employees.
43. FCR Leadership Award FCR Leader is someone at a strategic level of the business who has prioritized the FCR measure and use of Voice of Customer data, resulting in improved FCR performance. They have shared a vision for FCR with clearly stated and understandable goals, prioritized FCR over other initiatives and responsibilities, demonstrated personal passion for FCR, provided the resources for the FCR focus to occur in the organization and been the driving force of FCR amongst executives and ensuring organization-wide understanding of FCR This award is judged by a panel of SQM Client Account Managers who work closely with our tracking clients on an ongoing basis. Final award determination made by Mike Desmarais, President and Founder of SQM Group.
44. FCR Champion Award FCR Champion is someone who is seen by the call center leadership and front line representatives as the “go to” person for helping improve FCR. They demonstrate the following traits: work closely with the Leader to translate the strategic vision into tactics, they have a deep understanding of the surveying process and the voice of the customer data, they support training and communication sessions at the group level and/or informally on a one-to-one basis, personal passion for FCR, driving force of FCR from the CSR level to the operational management team of the call center This award is judged by a panel of SQM Client Account Managers who work closely with our tracking clients on an ongoing basis. Final award determination made by Mike Desmarais, President and Founder of SQM Group.

Best Practice Awards


Award Name

Definition

How it is Judged

45 – 54. Call Center FCR Best Practice Awards There are 10 distinct Best Practice Awards (i.e., Quality Assurance Program, Desktop Application(s), CSR Recognition Program, Career Advancement, Call Handling Practice, Real-Time CSR Support Queue, Performance Management System, CSR Coaching Program, CSR Training Program, CSR Hiring Process). These awards recognize the organization that has demonstrated they have improved or helped maintain high first call resolution and customer satisfaction performance.
 
There are 10 Best Practice categories and for each category, SQM will recognize 3 organizations. There are 3 award types (i.e., Gold, Silver, Bronze) for each best Practice category.
Organizations applying for a best practice award must submit specific practices they have used to improve or maintain high first call resolution (FCR) and customer satisfaction (Csat) performance.
 
FCR can be determined by the customer or the organization and Csat must be determined by the customer themselves.
 
For both FCR and Csat, please provide ratings information for years 2013 and 2014 including sample sizes and method of measurement.
 
Please provide details that show the link between your FCR/Csat performance and your specific practices used to improve or maintain high FCR/Csat performance.
 
For each category, submissions should be no longer than 5 pages in length using SQM’s online application form.
 
SQM will use a panel of 6 subject matter experts to examine each submission to determine the finalists and award winner for each category.
 
Click here for more details.
55 – 64. Vendor FCR Best Practice Awards There are 10 distinct Vendor FCR Best Practice Awards (i.e., Quality Assurance Program, Desktop Application(s), CSR Recognition Program, Career Advancement, Call Handling Practice, Real-Time CSR Support Queue, Performance Management System, CSR Coaching Program, CSR Training Program, CSR Hiring Process). These awards recognize the Vendor who has demonstrated in their case study that they have had a positive impact on their clients’ FCR, Csat and Esat performance.
 
There are 10 Best Practice categories and the winner of each category will receive an SQM trophy.
Vendors applying for an FCR best practice vendor award must submit one client case study showing how their product/service has had a positive impact on their clients’ FCR, Csat and Esat performance.
 
FCR can be determined by the customer or the organization and Csat must be determined by the clients’ customers.
 
For both FCR and Csat, please provide ratings information for years 2013 and 2014 including sample sizes and method of measurement.
 
For each category, the case study submission story should be no longer than 5 pages in length using SQM’s online application form.
 
SQM will use a panel of 6 subject matter experts to examine each submission story to determine vendor award winner for each category.
 
Click here for more details.

Awards Participation and Eligibility


The organization must have participated in SQM’s benchmarking and/or tracking programs. Awards will be announced January 2015 and presented at SQM’s 16th Annual Call Center Industry Conference June 2nd to 4th in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Click here for more details.

Date Eligibility


All organizations that have been evaluated by SQM from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 are eligible to win an SQM Award.

SQM Conference


SQM’s 16th Annual Call Center Industry Conference will be held June 2nd to 4th in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in which we will:

  • Provide all participants the opportunity to learn the top 10 best practices from award winning organizations
  • Recognize the winners of SQM’s Call Center Industry Awards
  • Provide call center research and FCR, Esat and Csat best practices based on world class performers

FCR and Csat Benchmarking Study


Specifically, SQM’s FCR and Csat benchmarking study will provide the following:

  • Benchmarking comparison to over 500 leading North American call centers
  • Benchmarking comparison to peer group, call center industry and world class call centers
  • Customer Protection – CP SCORE™
  • High level and detailed FCR and Csat ratings
  • Amount of revenue the call center protected and lost
  • Unresolved calls impact on operating costs
  • Top 5 repeat call reasons and their improvement opportunity for financial savings
  • Targeted opportunities for reducing repeat calls
  • Operational benchmarking data for over 45 metrics
  • Best practices for reducing repeat calls
  • Entry into SQM’s Service Quality Excellence Awards Program

Cost of SQM’s FCR and Csat Benchmarking Study


The cost of $10,000 is for SQM’s or $4,000 for our call center Esat benchmarking study. You are automatically entered in the SQM Awards program at no cost, if you participated in an SQM FCR/Csat benchmarking or tracking study.

The 5 Benefits of Winning an SQM Award


  1. Recognition/Respect – SQM’s Call Center Industry Awards of Excellence and FCR Best Practices Awards are the most prestigious and sought after North American call center service quality awards. When you win an SQM award you gain recognition and earn respect from industry peers, within your organization and most importantly customers who call your call center and employees who work in your call center.
  2. Retain/Attract New Customers – Winners have used their SQM award as a marketing tool to inform existing customers and potential new customers about their world class customer service they provide.
  3. Retain/Attract New Employees – Winners have used their SQM award to inform their employees and potential new employees about the world class customer service they provide and/or the excellent working environment.
  4. Career Opportunities – Leaders of the award winning call centers have more career opportunities within their own organization, as well as outside their organization. Also, a CSR that is certified as a world class performer has more career opportunities because everybody wants them.
  5. World Class Performance Recognition – Winners gain recognition for performing at the world class level. World Class performance is determined by using the FCR metric. World Class FCR performance means that the call center provided great customer service and delivered that service efficiently. FCR is the metric that matters most because it measures both service quality effectiveness and cost efficiency.