When they were first created, contact centres were seen as a major leap forward in customer service. Rather than having to find time and often have to travel long distances to see someone face to face – always within limited opening hours – access was suddenly greatly extended.

However, what should be a means of reducing inconvenience and hassle has become a source of unnecessary stress, according to 82 per cent of the consumers interviewed by ICT firm Damovo UK & Ireland.

Among the findings were the inflexibility of such centres, with long waiting times during peak hours being a concern for 80 per cent of those polled. Inconsistency in service standards between different contact tools was also a common complaint, cited by 79 per cent.

Head of client solutions at Damovo Jennie Cleal said: “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.”

She suggested centres could help with more staffing during busy hours, with more flexible working helping to cover for periods of unusually high absence

The study also found there are ways in which businesses can use new communications channels to improve user experiences. This is a sensitive issue for consumers as 72 per cent said they believed automated greeting pointing people to other channels were simply designed to get them off the line. At the same time, 62 per cent of consumers were frustrated that some organisations could only offer one or two means of contact.

Managers seeking to use devices such as CRM technology to bolster the customer experience could benefit from using this to establish the ways in which customers would like to be able to contact them.  

A means of communication neglected by many contact centres is the use of mobile apps, further research has found. The Call Centre Helper research paper, sponsored by NewVoiceMedia, found that 43 per cent of them neither offer a mobile app, nor plan to do so in the future.

Of the remainder, 30 per cent do offer an app and the rest plan to do so in due course.  

Customer engagement white paper