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85% of public see contact centres as sales-driven

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15th Jul 2016
Editor MyCustomer
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Contact centres are being held back by their public image, according to a new YouGov survey.

85% of UK consumers believe contact centres are largely a sales mechanism, with 75% stating they believe at least half of all call centres were in operation in order to make money from hapless members of the public.  

Yet the reality is just 4% of contact centres have any kind of sales focus, the research states.

Ed Shropshire, managing director of Aquarium Software, who collaborated on the study, says this public image of UK call centres is hampering aspects of their service delivery.

“It’s not all that surprising to hear that the public are somewhat sceptical towards contact centres, but I have to say I am quite surprised at the extent of their misunderstanding,” he said.

“It’s now vital for contact centres to try to transform their public image, in order that the public better understands their role.

“The poor reputation of contact centres can cause issues when hiring staff, and also make it harder to reach out to existing customers for non-sales purposes. For consumers, meanwhile, a misunderstanding of the role of contact centres can lead to them missing out on valuable services and assistance which the centres are set up to provide.”

A number of challenges exist for contact centres in the process of trying to improve their public image. In a recent study by Censuswide, Just 22% of people said that the last time they phoned a company the call was answered first time. 

More than a third (35%) of those who couldn’t get through to anyone first time were new customers looking for information on products, trying to open an account or make a purchase.

However, Shropshire believes more time can be freed up in contact centres by businesses opening up new channels for customers to access information.

“One big trend in the contact centre market is the move towards non-telephone based forms of contact – online and social media particularly,” Shropshire adds. “A strong presence in these areas can help to demonstrate to consumers that your operation is more focused around providing a service, than simply on sales.

“As part of this, it is important to be able to move seamlessly and effectively between different platforms – so from a phone call to web chat to email, for instance, with the right arm very much in tune with what the left is doing.”

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