Companies Pursue COPC-2000 CertificationAs quality management programs such as ISO 9000 gain popularity with teleservices firms seeking to gain a competitive edge, other standard certification programs, like the COPC-2000, are coming forward to meet the more specific needs of customer service-oriented companies.
Developed in 1996 by Microsoft, L.L. Bean, American Express, Novell, Dell, Compaq and other customer-focused companies, the COPC-2000 requires companies to focus efforts on performance metrics. The metrics must be tracked, linked to drivers of customer satisfaction and used to take actions to improve performance.
The goal is to give companies tangible proof of a customer service provider's (CSP) commitment to achieving high levels of performance and service levels.
"The COPC-2000 gives CSPs a competitive edge by providing potential buyers of services with extra quality assurance," said Alton Martin, executive vice president, COPC.
While the ISO 9000, created in 1987 and revised in 1994 by the International Organization for Standards for Quality Management in Geneva, stresses the quality of products that meet the needs of users, (see TeleServices News, March 6) the COPC-2000 standard stresses service. Criteria to measure quality and performance include customer service, customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Harte-Hanks Response Management, Austin, TX, is the latest company to pursue the COPC-2000 certification, joining the growing roster of CSPs, internal customer service providers and outsourcers.
A provider of teleservices fulfillment, lead and database management and Internet transaction processing for the technology, financial and healthcare industries, Harte Hanks, the business sector of Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing, is currently in the process of certifying all six of its response management facilities by the end of 1999.
The decision to become COPC-2000 certified was made after extensive review of other quality standard certification programs, among those ISO 9000. COPC's focus on customer service and flexibility in dealing with varying customer needs and goals it was a better fit than ISO 9000, which seemed to be geared more toward manufacturing, said Jeanne Shaunessy, marketing communications manager for Harte-Hanks.
"The COPC-2000 standard does not contradict any element of the ISO standards," said Peter Bloom, President, COPC. "However, the COPC-2000 standard is more rigorous. The standard emphasizes performance metrics and procedure implementation, unlike the documentation-driven methodology of the ISO standards."
The first Harte-Hanks unit to be certified will be the Austin location, with Boston locations to follow later this year. Certification at their other locations will take place in 1999.
"We talk about quality a lot and believe we deliver a high quality product," said Gary Skidmore, president of Harte-Hanks Response Management. "COPC will provide our clients with tangible proof that we deliver a higher quality service."