London, 19 January, 2004 – Sterling Commerce, a leading provider of business integration solutions, has been awarded the coveted Help Desk Institute (HDI) certificate in recognition of its world-class customer support. This follows the earlier recognition of high levels of customer support worldwide when Sterling Commerce received the Support Centre Practices (SCP) Certification in the United States at the end of 2003.

Sterling Commerce boasts a running average customer satisfaction rate of 87.98 percent and is the only business integration vendor to have achieved the HDI certification in Europe. In receiving HDI certification, Sterling Commerce joins the ranks of leading international companies such as Barclays Bank, KLM and SNS Bank in The Netherlands. HDI certification indicates that Sterling Commerce’s Customer Support Centre meets globally defined criteria for establishing best of breed customer services.

Sterling Commerce was awarded HDI certification after the evaluation of eight key elements: Leadership, Strategy and Policy, People Management, Resources, Processes and Procedures, People Satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction and Performance Results. With an achieved average rating of 3.6 out of a maximum 4.0, HDI certification of Sterling Commerce’s EMEA-wide Customer Support centres recognises a commitment to best practice across all these areas. The areas of Resources and Customer Satisfaction received the maximum rating of 4.0.

Howard Kendall, Founder Director of HDI Europe, commented: ”In the Sterling Commerce EMEA Support Centre we have seen a very professional operation that compares with the best in our industry. It can be categorised as outstanding in several areas. This is supported by the audit score of 3.6 out of 4.0 which can be defined as EXCELLENT.

Rolf Wigren, Vice President of Customer Support, EMEA, said: "Achieving a running average customer satisfaction rate of 87.98 percent is a fantastic return on our consistent investment into support technology, training and personnel. The high ratings achieved in the HDI certification demonstrate our commitment to providing the highest level of customer service and our success in establishing industry leading, globally recognised standards of service to our clients."

HDI site certification reviews and evaluates IT support centres and is designed to improve the effectiveness of the IT support services industry. Achieving certification indicates to the industry at large that Sterling Commerce has met the global criteria defined by the industry and that its customer support help desk is delivering best-of-breed services. HDI certification requires comprehensive on-site audits to prove that a company’s customer services meet the rigorous internationally recognised criteria.

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