Home // Blog

Don’t Be Fooled by Awards Bestowed on Customer Support Vendors

When evaluating contact center and customer support vendors it’s wise to pay attention to their level of visibility in the marketplace. There are no “best-kept-industry secrets.” The vendor you select should be engaged, active and respected for the quality of services it provides to its customers.

Every vendor wants to be ranked favorably by analysts and industry associations. They apply for certifications and awards and display them proudly on their websites and in their responses to RFPs. But, as in most things, it’s buyer beware as there are differing levels of rigor and verification applied depending on the venue.

For example, the certifications awarded by J.D. Powers are quite rigorous. Contact centers are evaluated against a slate of over 100 criteria. The site must rank within the top 20% of the independent benchmarks established by J.D. Powers in order to pass certification. The onsite auditors also spend time interviewing the management and the agents as part of the process.

Compare this to certain analysts that require the vendor to be a client in order to even be considered in their rankings. Even though the analysts attempt to maintain an unbiased approach, the fact that the vendor must “buy-in” to the club, so to speak, should raise concerns if this is the only accolade they can point to.

There are also awards that allow the vendor to complete the application form and pay a fee to submit their company for evaluation. Without independent verification, it’s hard to know how accurate the self-assessment may be.

Depending on the size and scope of your project, the type of recognition and the level of scrutiny applied to the award decision process may carry more or less weight in your selection of a vendor.

However, beyond the methods in use for the award of recognition, there are other factors to consider.

  • Is the basis for the award relevant for your project?

For example, if your project is based on the provision of support for a new consumer smart phone launch with expected high volume but the vendor’s award is based on technical support for complex communication solutions, does the award really carry weight that’s applicable to the situation?

  • Do you see evidence of the vendor’s expertise claims outside of the response to RFP?

If a vendor indicates it brings a level of expertise or methodology to the project, does its existence make an appearance on their website or in their white paper library? Are the experts at the company featured in articles on industry portals or speaking at industry events?

  • Are customer testimonials and case studies reinforcing the expertise recognized by the award?

When you check references or access case studies, is it obvious that the expertise the vendor won the awards for is reflected in the quotes from the customer or in the project information?

Validating the choice you make in a customer support vendor often means you need to look beyond the shiny surface to the depth it purports to represent. What you really want to see is a vendor that is recognized consistently, year over year, for the performance that you’re counting on to produce a successful customer support initiative for your company.