One in five ‘ashamed’ of the way they speak to call centres
Foreign agents face brunt of hostility
Twenty-one per cent of people in the UK are ashamed of the way they speak to call centre agents, according to research from Nuance Communications.
People over 55 years old are the least likely to show regret at the way they’ve spoken to call centre staff. And when comparing regions, Londoners (24%) are most ready to express guilt about the way they have spoken to call centre agents in the past.
Ian Turner, general manager for Northern EMEA, Nuance, commented: “Customer service is a differentiator in any competitive, resource-strapped economy. In a recession it’s fundamental to survival and recovery. And yet, against better business judgement, many call centres are overlooked for investment or just off-shored.
“As the principle point of customer contact, call centres should be regarded as the company’s crown jewels. Contacting a company should be a positive experience, not one that exasperates and tests your limits.”
Foreign call centre employees often face the brunt of consumer hostility. Language barriers are often blamed for an increasing resistance to speak to outsourced call centres, perhaps emphasized by the fact that 65% of respondents who have called a call centre find non-British accents in a call centre difficult to understand.
These strained interactions are also having an impact on call centre staff morale. A study from Global Outsourcing magazine identified client hostility as a reason for low call centre staff retention. Such is the extent of the problem that some companies in India are now hiring trained counsellors to provide support to harassed call centre employees.
Turner added: “Clearly we can’t maintain the status quo. Firstly we need to consider why people contact the call centre in the first place. Typically, it’s to complete a routine task as quickly as possible, with minimal hassle. This thinking should inform a business customer service thinking and strategy. For instance, would customers be better served dealing with an automated or self-service system? What is certain is that we shouldn’t have a situation where people feel stressed just by making or receiving a phone call.”