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Iowa Telecom First Midwest Telephone Company Nationally, First Company in Iowa, to Receive Award Through Purdue University Program

NEWTON, IA. - Iowa Telecom, Iowa's second-largest telecommunications provider, has joined an elite group of companies, and is the first Midwest telephone company to do so. The telecommunications service provider has been certified as a Center of Excellence through Purdue University. Iowa Telecom's customer contact center ranks in the top 10 percent of the 20,000 call centers studied for efficiency and effectiveness. "This is a tremendous accomplishment," said Tim Lockhart, Vice President of Administration at Iowa Telecom. "This certification recognizes performance excellence in two critical areas of customer contact: the quality of Iowa Telecom's contact center employees and the quality of our customer's experience with our contact center. This certification puts us in elite standing among industries and with our customers."

The Center for Excellence certification is awarded by Benchmark Portal through the Purdue University Center for Customer-Driven Quality. The Center is home of the largest database of contact center best practices, and reports on contact centers in the areas of operations, customer satisfaction and agent satisfaction. At the award ceremonies held at Purdue University, Dr. John Anton, founder and director of the Center for Excellence, said, "Iowa Telecom is among the best of the best, both in class and overall, in customer service. This is based on a detailed, objective study measuring the company's efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with their customers." "We recognize that this level of performance doesn't happen unless your contact center's leadership is supported by the most senior executives of the company through every level of management to the front-line agent. Quality customer service only results from a team effort." Iowa Telecom pursued the certification as a way to measure its customer satisfaction against other industries. "We believed that our service was world class," said Lockhart, "We really wanted to have a measuring stick that could objectively demonstrate that.

The Purdue certification provides that measurement." Because of a variety of factors, including the complexity of customer needs and a historic reputation for poor service within the industry, telecommunications companies tend to rate low when it comes to contact center satisfaction. This makes the achievement by Iowa Telecom all that more remarkable. Its contact center is not just the first among Midwest telephone companies to merit certification as a Center of Excellence, but it is the first company in Iowa among all industries, from banks to retailers, to do so. Ken Liljedahl, Iowa Telecom Contact Center Director, said, "I'm very proud of our people for achieving this level of service, and am thankful to our customers who take the time to contact us to let us know how we are doing. Excellent service is always the result of great communication."

About Iowa Telecom
Iowa Telecommunications Services, Inc. (d/b/a Iowa Telecom) is a telecommunications service provider that offers local telephone, long distance, Internet, broadband and network access services to business and residential customers. Today, the company serves over 440 communities and employs over 600 people throughout the State of Iowa. The company's headquarters are in Newton, Iowa. The Company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IWA. For further information regarding Iowa Telecom, please go to www.IowaTelecom.com. The Iowa Telecom logo is a registered trademark of Iowa Telecommunications Services, Inc. in the United States.

About BenchmarkPortal
BenchmarkPortal is the custodian of the Purdue University Center for Customer-Driven Quality database of contact center metrics, the largest in the world. It provides reports, products and services for contact centers in the areas of operational metrics, customer satisfaction measurement and agent satisfaction measurement. In 2005, BenchmarkPortal, Inc. received U.S. Patent #6,877,034 for its unique methodology of contact center performance benchmarking through metric gap analysis. BenchmarkPortal's Web site can be found at: www.BenchmarkPortal.com.

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"Becoming a Call Center of Excellence can be a game changer for businesses. Fighting to keep customers in today’s economy is paramount to most companies and the Center of Excellence distinction has helped drive us to that end result. Going through this process yearly continues to challenge us to improve processes and service levels. The detailed process that BenchmarkPortal provides in comparing our data with a large peer group is unparalleled. At the end, you have a clear roadmap of what is working well and what needs focus and attention for improvement. Because of this, we have been able to develop plans each year to drive better results and better customer experiences. This, coupled with a knowledgeable staff, helps us to close the gaps and continue to achieve excellence in every area. Every call center out there should be doing this benchmarking process; we are proof that it works."
Angela Ballantine, Director, Customer Care, ARAG GROUP

 

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