Suspicious minds: Customers think call centre agents are clots or criminals

4th Apr 2013

The shocking extent of the mistrust of contact centres has been laid bare by new research that reveals 86% of consumers believe agents will misuse their personal card details.

The survey of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Eckoh showed that just 5% of people are totally confident that their personal financial data will be safe when given to a customer service agent over the phone.

According to the findings, consumers mistrust call centre staff with their details almost as much as they do using mobiles to make payments (60%). Women and men showed equal levels of concern whilst those aged over 45 where most sceptical, the findings showed.

As a result of this concern, 57% of those surveyed said they were reluctant to provide their financial details when asked over the phone or online – a worrying figure given the survey revealed 73% of call centres take card payments over the phone.

Nik Philpot, CEO of Eckoh, said: “Whilst call centres remain an integral part of any large enterprise’s consumer facing operations, people don’t believe that organisations place a value of protecting their data. Simply put, contact centres have lost the trust of the public.”

“The research indicates a disconnect between how people would like to pay for goods and the methods currently available to them. It shouldn’t escape our attention either as businesses start to build their operations for the mobile world, that this channel is also viewed with a high level of suspicion.  If businesses want to keep the virtual tills ringing, then long term they are going to have to demonstrate a more secure and trustworthy call centre environment.”

Eckoh’s research is the latest to document a failing relationship between call centre staff and customers. Recent figures from BT and Avaya showed a total lack of consumer belief in agent competence with 7o% claiming to know more about the products and services they’re enquiring about than the contact centre agent dealing with their call.

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