Study warns of top-heavy contact centres

8th Feb 2010

Too many contact centres have top-heavy management structures but are continuing to recruit ever higher numbers of temporary workers in order to cope with high turnover rates despite the performance issues they generate.

According to a study undertaken by researcher Key Note Market Intelligence entitled ‘Contact Centres Market Assessment Report for 2010’, some 307,000 people worked in customer service in the UK during the second quarter of last year, with another 84,000 employed in call centres.
But a further 96,000 people were also employed as managers, which meant that the overall ratio was about one to every four staff. Despite such high numbers, nearly four in five contact centres failed to tackle turnover rates that currently stand at 20 per cent and so were forced to recruit temporary or contract workers last year to cope. 
As a result, while wages for customer service agents may have remained static, the salaries of training managers soared as organisations turned their attention to training newcomers in order to try and improve service quality.
The report said: “The expansion of temporary staff raises issues such as the problem of providing adequate training for and obtaining excellent performance from people who are engaged for only a short period.”
It added that such training had the potential to help organisations improve staff retention rates.
As to the top complaints, the report indicated that customers did not like speaking to staff that they could not understand. They were also unhappy about automated response menus that were too long or failed to offer required options and became aggrieved over slow query and complain resolution procedures.

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