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Report says contact centres still dogged by negative perception

30th Jul 2015
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A large majority of contact centres continue to be weighed down by negative perception within their own organisations, according to the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI).

The ICMI’s latest report, Collapse of the Cost Center: Driving Contact Center Profitability, was written in partnership with Zendesk and reveals that 62% of global contact centres are still “perceived as cost centres” within their organisations, and viewed internally as being inefficient.

The study, which surveyed over 400 contact centre professionals, highlights issues around the ability to report contribution as central to the continuing stigma, in most cases. At present, only 27% of contact centres are effectively measuring and reporting their service level.

50% of contact centres do not measure their accuracy either – leading to senior managers continuously generating inaccurate future forecasts.

“Contact centres provide unmatched and essential services for organisations, yet their importance is hindered by the lack of visibility their contributions have on a grander scale,” says Justin Robbins, senior analyst for ICMI.

“Organisations must uncover the opportunities hidden within their operations and take the necessary steps to make their worth apparent.”

A number of leading experts believe changes in consumer behaviour, combined with the improvement to self-service tools, will inevitably lead to a widespread change in attitude towards call and contact centres.

In BT’s most recent study into the subject, Dr. Nicola Millard found two concurrent trends emerging of customers becoming more ‘autonomous’ in their problems-solving support queries, alongside call centres experiencing more and more complex problem solving as their first line of contact with a customer.

It is this combination, Millard argues, that will lead to businesses having no choice but to hone in on the quality of service their contact centres provide, in order to match the increasing expectations of the customer.

Academic research, such as that conducted by Kingston Business School alongside the NHS’s PALS team in 2014 also suggests that private sector businesses could benefit from taking a public sector approach to contact centres, focusing more on the emotional needs of customers as opposed to traditional metrics, such as call per hour or speed of resolution.

Zendesk’s SVP for worldwide sales and customer success, Marcus Bragg, believes the concept ties in with the need for organisation to do more to establish the profitability of their contact centres:       

“We recognise the necessity of contact centres for a wide array of businesses. However, in order for contact centres to continue serving businesses effectively, executives should envision them as revenue generators instead of unnecessary overhead.”

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