See past CSC Edge issues here!
The Certified Service Center Program was designed to recognize the best Service Companies in the Industries that they represent. The process is open to all companies in several different industries and recognizes their adherence to a basic set of standards that are quality indicators for a company no matter what products they service. These standards were defined nearly 20 years ago and have not changed other than the types of specific certifications that are currently accepted. So why is this a valuable exercise for your company? That’s a logical question that we should ask when making any business decision.
One important component of the CSC program is that it calls for the certification of technicians, customer service personnel, and, of course, service managers. Some might view that as a cost for the time spent perhaps studying plus the actual fee for taking the exam. The real value here is that your personnel will be taking an exam that is based on the specific skills required to handle that position. If they need to review some material needed to pass an exam on basic knowledge and skills it is not time wasted and will definitely serve to benefit both the employee and company in the long run. We take care of our vehicles and our test equipment, so why not take care of our people? They represent our most critical resource. If we received some training prior to accepting a new position how many of us could handle that new job immediately? And when were we ever recognized as being accomplished in our field? In many cases the answer is never. The end result of certification is an independent recognition showing that an individual has personally met the industry standards of knowledge and performance relating to the specific job skills needed to handle that position as outlined by a group of his or her peers. No tricks, just testing on the specific skills needed to actually handle that particular job. This is a big plus for your company and of course for the individual who is finally recognized for their on-the-job expertise. If you don’t believe me just ask someone who has recently been certified for the first time.
But certification is just one part of being a CSC. Through completing the actual CSC certification process, you will be asked to set up a specific set of standards that you can use both inside and outside your company. Some of these written standards are a detailed written company Customer Service Policy that can be reviewed by your own personnel and your Customers; a written, specific, employee dress code; a brief written warranty that avoids confusion and possible misunderstanding. Your overall business philosophy should be reflected in all these standards and show the detail that defines your company’s goals and objectives for both your employees and your customers. The more things you put in writing so that everyone can read and understand your policies and procedures the better you define your company to everyone. Many companies already have these written standards, but unfortunately some do not. Having company policies that are known by a few are usually only followed by a few. So, save the consultant fees and commit these principles to writing, make them widely available to everyone, and stick to them. If you need some assistance in completing these standards the CSC Staff will even provide some sample boilerplates to help.
Your investment in this process is time well spent up front to complete the application, secure the certifications, finalize the items called for in the application, and pay the 3-year CSC Certification fee that averages $345. That translates down to a cost of only 47 cents per day. The certifications for some must be updated by providing training information, and a renewal fee, and in some cases the certifications are good for life. The time spent initially will provide a solid foundation to help your company stay successful in the long run. This is the whole purpose of going through the CSC application process.
The morale of this story is pay attention to and update your planning, document your processes in detail, and most importantly provide for the growth and recognition of your people and success should follow. That is an age-old management guideline and is still true to this day. Take the time to complete the application for the first time in as much detail as you feel is necessary and for those who are in the process of renewing your CSC Application during the CSC Renewal process make sure that you revisit the processes and certifications that you have in place and modify them if needed. Your company will win; your employees will win; and your customers will always win.
Author: Don Pierson, Apr 2019