The results are in: Aussies hate call centres

If you hate dealing with call centres, you are not alone. New research commissioned by Citrus Group, has revealed that 64 per cent of Australians had a bad experience when dealing with call centres, and 43 per cent wish they never had to use them again.

Gen Z has a particular intolerance for call centres with 72 per cent of 18-25-year-olds citing a negative experience with a call centre. Call centres did not fare much better with millennials either, with 65 per cent complaining of their service. Even 67 per cent of Baby Boomers had an issue with call centres; proving there is much to be done within the industry to repair its negative reputation.

The main cause for complaints included being passed from staff member to staff member, staff being unable to solve an issue and poor or rude customer service. Call centres based internationally fared far worse in the survey, with the majority of the common complaints being attributed to internationally based contact centres, over locally based call centres.

Only 36  per cent of people surveyed reported a positive call centre experience.

Joint Managing Director of Citrus Group, Paul Smith said the research provided valuable insight into the good and the bad of the call centre sector.

“A need that we hear time and time again from our clients is the importance of empathy in their staff members, both when dealing with customers and when resolving their issues.”

Smith suggests it’s vital that call centre operators are completely familiar with a brand and its products or services.

“Customers simply want the quickest resolution, which requires teams to be crystal clear about the company they work for and its offerings. There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with someone who simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Smith says.

Courtesy is another essential.

“We found that 30 per cent of 50-57-year-olds would actively tell others not to use a company’s call centre if they were mistreated. In a hyper-competitive world where there is an endless choice at the click of a button, courtesy towards and gratitude for the customer choosing your product needs to be exercised and authentically delivered. Or, they will simply go elsewhere.”

Smith also believes keeping a customer updated on a situation if their complaint can’t be immediately resolved, is essential for a great customer experience.

“Going this extra mile will be much appreciated and will surprise and delight them [the customer] into potentially becoming an advocate for the brand,” says Smith.

“With years of damage caused by questionable call centre practices, there is still much work to be done by the industry. To avoid the backlash we are still seeing from Australian consumers who have unfortunately had negative experiences, we look for people who not only have the emotional intelligence but the overall understanding of the bigger picture and how every customer touch point can make or break a brand’s reputation.”

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Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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