We’ve been enunciating and articulating with agents in offshore call centres for more than twenty years now. Offshoring has brought down the costs of insurance, white goods and clothing, but at what price?
The heart of the British caller sinks as they are transferred to India or the Phillipines. The back office staff manage amazingly well with the nuances of British regional accents but frustration often builds and ultimately leads to dissatisfaction. Add to this the concerns over data pharming, and the whole concept becomes unworkable and breeds suspicion.
From a quest to reduce cost, companies have realised that customer service has been seriously compromised. So in an attempt to reassure people many British companies have made a big deal of bringing their call centres back to blighty – hurrah! UK call centres for UK people, but there is a big BUT….getting to talk to anyone at all now seems to be the problem
In the last twenty years, as we are all aware, there has been a technological revolution affecting all areas of our lives. In telecoms, IVR or Interactive Voice Response has had an incredible impact. Press 1 for this, press 2 for that, trotting out messages like “your call is important to us”, “you can probably find the answer to your question on the FAQ section of our website” and so it goes on. The original idea behind IVR was to efficiently route callers to agents trained to help them. Now IVR has become a wall protecting the agents from the callers. One frustration has been replaced by another and which is worse, offshore call centres or onshore IVR?
So is it the comeback of the UK call centre, or is it just smoke and mirrors? People just want to talk to people, it really is, and should be, that simple. It seems that yet again customer service is being compromised and what a shame because there are some great UK call centres out there with well trained teams happy, willing and able to deliver great customer service. Rather than companies spouting on about their “UK call centres” it would mean so much more if that was quantified in a message like “you’re never one minute away from talking to a real person”. Now that would be a proper customer service commitment and nothing short of a revolution.