Deputy Editor Sift Media
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Why your customers hate your contact centre

22nd Jun 2014
Deputy Editor Sift Media
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Hold onto your hats; we have some news that might just blow you away. It has recently been revealed in a new survey that – wait for it – people don’t like dealing with call centres.

Gasp.

There’s a little more depth to this revelation, though; the study in question, which comes from ICT solutions provider Damovo UK & Ireland, involved over 2,000 UK consumers and delved into what, exactly, customers dislike the most about contact centres, and how successfully companies are countering these issues.

Unsurprisingly, a large majority (82%) of people reported that they find dealing with call centres to be an “unnecessary stress”. In terms of what it is that creates this stress and hinders customer service, 80% believe that it’s the rigid, inefficient operations which cause extended waiting times during busy periods. And the biggest frustration? Inconsistency across channels, according to 79% of respondents.

“Nobody expects to enjoy dealing with customer service teams, but these findings clearly show that organisations are adding insult to injury with poor contact centre operations,” said Jennie Cleal, head of client solutions at Damovo UK & Ireland. “Given the pressures of the working day, high call volumes during lunch hours and early evening are entirely predictable. Although some organisations are trying to alleviate this problem by opening additional communications channels, consumers are often left reeling by inconsistent levels of service between them. One solution could be to ensure that contact centre phone lines are more readily staffed during peak times by enabling flexible and remote working. This removes the need for contact centre staff to be physically present in the office; thereby protecting businesses against unforeseeable absences.”

Using additional channels for interaction is another way this issue may be resolved during peak times. Indeed, 62% of consumers find it frustrating when businesses only offer one or two ways to get in touch with them. Web chat proved to be the most preferred form of contact and was closely followed by email – although these preferences changed for different age groups. However much customers want different channels available to them though, it’s the choice which is perhaps the most important factor. Automated telephone messages directing callers to other channels certainly don’t go down well for this reason; almost three quarters (72%) of respondents view them as a “tactic to get them off the line” as opposed to a way of improving customer service.

Jennie Cleal commented how contact centres need to keep up with moden consumers and offer methods of communication that are convenient for them. “Now that email, Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging tools are part of everyday life, consumers expect businesses to be ready to talk to them on any available channel. However, these additional channels aren’t just a substitute for the phone; the research shows that many still find the ability to speak to someone to be the most effective way of dealing with contact centres."

The only issue is that the more channels you offer, the less consistent your service is likely to become. "It isn’t enough for businesses to simply add more communications tools into the mix, as consistency between channels is essential to guaranteeing a positive customer experience. By modernising their operations with fully integrated multi-media contact centres, businesses will be in a much stronger position to deliver a level of customer service suited to the demands of today’s consumers.”

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