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Call Centres Continue to Improve Customer Service

New independent research by GfK Mystery Shopping, shows that smart companies are improving their customer service to beat the economic recession. The findings reveal that contact centre queues overall are getting shorter, with 96% of callers getting through the very first time compared with 93% last year and that 66% of customers speak to agent’s in less than 1 minute compared to 58% in 2008.

The report looked at elements such as menu options, transfers between agents and follow up calls and finding that 92% of callers felt that contacting a contact centre was easier than it has been in the past. Agents remain very knowledgeable with 83% agreeing that contact centre representatives had good product knowledge and the ability to resolve customer queries effectively. 94% of customers enquires where resolved in the first call.

86% of callers were either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their contact centre experience, with 43% of these being extremely satisfied. These happy customers are having a positive impact on brand perception; only 33% of callers had a high regard for the organisation prior to the call whereas after the call experience, 59% of callers said that they had an enhanced perception of the organisation.

The results are taken from the 2009 Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service benchmarking initiative, sponsored by Genesys and Noble Systems, which is one of the largest mystery shopping exercises in the UK. Over 17,000 mystery enquiries were made to the leading contact centres in the UK, in retail & distribution, financial services, telecoms & utilities, public sector and entertainment, leisure and travel. Each call was rated using over fifty criteria across five key areas: timeliness, ease of use, reliability, staff knowledge and personalised service and awarded a customer service rating in % terms.

The most improved sector was entertainment, leisure & travel which saw its score rise from 82% in 2008 to 86% in 2009. Telecoms and utilities also improved year on year, increasing their overall customer service rating by 3% to score 85%. The overall average score for the call centre industry increased from 83% in 2008 to 84% in 2009, with those contact centres taking part for the second year seeing an average 2% increase.

For the first time the study looked at email communications, which is becoming more important in this digital age. However the report shows that there is still room for improvement. With more and more contact centres realising that it is important to be able to communicate with customers effectively via their preferred method, they are working to improve the standards of their email communications.

“With overall consumer and business spending reduced, it is more important than ever for organisations to deliver outstanding customer service, this will help attract new customers and retain existing ones in these tough economic times. The results of this study clearly show that call centres are rising to the challenge and that smart companies are investing and encouraging outstanding customer service” commented Simon Thorpe, Programme Director, Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service.

Source: Press Release (Top 50 Call centres)

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