In the UK last year alone, nearly 18%
of new agents left within six months of joining their company*1.
Yet this is a growth area. It’s estimated that 1 million people will work in a call or contact centre by 2007.*1 There are currently around 4500 contact centres in Britain with that number expected to rise to 6,000 by 2008.
*1 But there’s no doubt customers are fed up. Research has shown that people simply want to speak to knowledgeable, friendly and clearly spoken staff.
*2 They don’t want to be read scripts. They hate queues, the recorded message saying their call is important (even after 20 minutes of waiting), and having to repeat their details when passed between departments.
Is there any way round these problems? Yes say Ian Munro and Judith Pokora who with over 30 years collective industry experience created www.contactcentres.com. They are among only a handful of people in the UK trying to tackle the problems.
They are consumer champions and can help anyone get the best from a call centre. Ian and Judith know many companies aren’t using their technology properly, leading to inefficient call handling and longer queuing times for increasingly frustrated customers, who then take their anger out on unsuspecting staff.
They are “highly suspicious of the recent (2005) DTI report which the then DTI Secretary of State, Patricia Hewitt, said ‘shows that we have a vibrant call centre industry in the UK.’ Our independent evidence suggests the contrary. Currently the industry is unregulated with no independent body to represent the views of consumers.” The pair believe that work done at public service contact centres is wildly inefficient, claiming almost double the workload could be handled by up to 50% less resource. This would have a dramatic impact on the amount of money available to the Government to spend where it is most needed. They plan to set up a “Centre of Excellence” to show companies from board
level down how it should be done. Having already worked with the likes of AXA, Hutchinson 3G and HBOS where they have made swift, dramatic and profitable changes, they believe they can have a major impact on the way we do business in this country.
They know call centres are not going to go away – that’s something consumers are going to have to face.
*1 – According to research by ContactBabel
*2 – According to research by Aspect software About www.Contactcentres.com