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UK Contact Centres Close to Breaking Point according to Survey

UK contact centres close to breaking point according to new global survey – Contact centre leaders are struggling to keep pace with ‘unrealistic’ demands

89% say the business has unrealistic expectations of them

86% cannot deliver software updates quickly enough to meet demand

59% agree that contact volumes are spiraling beyond their capacity to handle them

67% say dealing with frustrated customers has impacted employees’ mental health

61% say the frequency of outages has increased during the last 12 months

UK contact centres are struggling to deliver much-needed CX innovation while battling against rising contact volumes, agent attrition and customer churn, according to a new survey of 1000 contact centre leaders in the US, UK and Australia from Censuswide. The research, commissioned by end-to-end contact centre testing specialist Hammer, has revealed an alarmingly consistent picture of contact centres close to breaking point.

With chat volumes on the rise for 64% of UK contact centres and call volumes on the rise for 60%, almost as many, 59% agreed that contact volumes are spiraling beyond their capacity to handle them. Agent attrition is on the increase for 65% whilst 68% reported escalating customer churn. In addition, 61% of call centre leaders say the frequency of outages has increased over the last 12 months.

Call wait times and abandoned calls are also on the increase, leading to rising levels of customer frustration, which in turn is affecting employee welfare; 67% of UK contact centre leaders reported that dealing with frustrated customers has impacted the mental health of frontline customer service employees in the last 12 months.

The survey suggests the industry is turning to technology in an attempt to avert a complete breakdown in customer service, with 99% of UK contact centre leaders planning to upgrade technology in the next 12-24 months. The top five areas identified for upgrades are outbound telephony systems (13%), chatbots (12%), email (12%), conversational AI (12%) and web chat (11%).

However, worryingly, 86% of UK contact centre leaders in our survey say they cannot deliver software upgrades quickly enough to meet the demands of the business; 85% are not able to properly test these upgrades and improvement projects before they go live, 85% do not have enough resources in their developer team and 83% say their dev ops is simply not agile enough.

John D’Anna, CEO of Hammer comments:

While it’s encouraging to see so many contact centres willing to invest in new technology, the figures relating to the lack of proper testing, are concerning and highlight the imminent disasters waiting to happen. Without end-to-end testing, improvement projects will fail to deliver the anticipated improvement and much-needed ROI.

“We’ve been seeing increasing customer dissatisfaction right across the industry during recent years. And, with hybrid working becoming the norm, delivering positive customer experiences could be all the more be challenging, causing yet more tension between contact centres and the businesses they serve.

“If we don’t get new technology right, there is a very real risk that customer frustration will continue to spiral with alarming consequences for agents’ mental health.  Technology is supposed to empower agents, but organisations who rush into it, without proper planning and testing, risk doing the opposite.”

 

 

Hammer emerged from the acquisition of Empirix by Infovista and is now a division of the global leader in network lifecycle automation. The largest contact centres around the world rely on Hammer and its proven technology to guarantee optimal customer experience and business outcomes. Through automated end-to-end testing and assurance solutions that mimic real-world customer engagement, Hammer ensures its clients deliver high-quality communications across voice, IVR and digital channels.

Hammer solutions play a pivotal role in ensuring excellence in day-to-day operation of more than 250 large enterprises, including 6 of the top 10 global banks, 8 of the top 10 global healthcare organizations and 7 of the top 10 largest insurance companies.

For additional information on Hammer visit their Website

Hammer commissioned Censuswide to conduct research during May 2022.  Censuswide surveyed 1,000 contact centre decision makers and budget influencers in the following industries: Financial Services, Healthcare, Health Insurance, Utilities, Travel & Hospitality, Technology (SaaS companies). The survey included 333 respondents in the UK, 333 respondents in Australia and 334 respondents in the US. It included organisations with 150 or more contact centre agents in the UK and Australia, and with more than 1,000 agents in the US.

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