NEWS2 October 2014

UK call centre customer service ‘in decline’

News UK

UK — Customer service satisfaction across UK call centres has fallen from 62% to 50% over the last 18 months, according to new research.

Long waiting times and “shuffling between departments” have led to the UK public becoming more frustrated with the sector, according to research from Bright UK, a consultancy for call centres.

The study surveyed 2 million call centre customers across all sectors of the economy, including banking and insurance, telecoms, retail, energy and travel and leisure between Spring 2012 and Autumn 2013.

To improve standards, a new customer service standard – the Gold Standard – has been launched this week in London, supported by the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA). The standard is intended to help companies improve customer service, operational performance and staff engagement by benchmarking their service levels against best practice.

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2 Comments

6 years ago

The most successful contact centre operations in the future will be those that reflect the continually evolving needs of their customers. One of the latest trends we are seeing is social routing, a method that is capable of taking customer service to its highest level. In simple terms it allows contact centres to more accurately meet their customers’ requirements with a specific and tailored approach. Social routing works by effectively channelling the customer to the most appropriate service representative in the contact centre. Whether it is via a company’s website or on social media channels, the customer is presented with a menu of agents detailing each representative’s name, skills and biography. The skills information may include relevant details such as the language the agent speaks, their technical-know how or what they supply. Other useful data could include an agent rating, based on reviews from previous customers, and also the average waiting time, all of which is provided live and constantly updated. Social routing puts the choice back into the consumers hands. The customer is empowered to make their own decisions, they can review the specific agent information and select the most appropriate option in an effort to get their query resolved first time. By Dave Paulding, regional director UK, Middle East, at Interactive Intelligence

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6 years ago

The article cites statistics showing that customer service satisfaction across UK call centres has dropped 12% over the last 18 months, implying that the broader customer service sector is failing to deliver. This struck me as surprising as the piece entirely glosses over the rise in customer service delivery across key areas such as mobile, social and digital channels, and also overlooks the significant improvements in CSAT and reductions in customer effort that many leading organisations are currently achieving. As ever, it's important to look behind the headline to see what's really going on. Sabio has recently been working on a market-scoping project with research firm Ovum, and their analysis tells a very different story. Over the next five years Ovum projects a fairly static core UK contact centre market, with increasing levels of investment in key areas such as workforce optimisation and digital tools. Those are the technologies that can contribute directly to optimising performance and delivering an improved level of customer service. Ovum has particularly highlighted how customer-facing companies in the UK are busy investigating ways that they can use service performance as a competitive differentiator. Trends such as mobile, social and digital are already factored into their plans, and the emphasis is increasingly shifting towards ensuring omni-channel support, providing better service context and reducing the levels of customer effort involved. In its forecast Ovum also confirmed how the UK is now leading customer service delivery in Europe, particularly in terms of evolving towards digital channels and a next generation service infrastructure. Thanks to investment in core contact centre platforms, UK service leaders are now looking to build on this with an increased focus on new channels and also analytics tools. This certainly doesn't look like a UK call centre customer service sector that's 'in decline'.

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