Purdue study raises offshore call centre concerns

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 1, 2004

A consumer's experience with a company's customer call centre has a significant impact on their future purchasing behaviour toward the company, and perceptions concerning offshore call centres also play a significant role, it seems.

This is revealed by the latest Call centre Study sponsored by global staffing provider Kelly Services and led by Dr Jon Anton, of Purdue University's centre for Customer-Driven Quality, in conjunction with researchers at BenchmarkPortal. A significant finding of the report is that 65% of American consumers would alter their buying behaviour toward a company if they knew or had the impression the business was using an offshore call centre, regardless of the level of satisfaction the customer received from the call centre experience.

Consistent across categories
This response was found to be consistent across all call categories - high value calls (product information, purchases, reservation), low value calls (account or order status), technical support, and complaint calls. According to Teresa Setting, vice president, Kelly Services: "Some companies will choose offshore outsourcing as a solution; some will not. Regardless of which option companies decide to implement, an important element to consider which is often overlooked is patriotism." Dr Anton adds: "As American companies consider opening call centres in other countries to serve and sell to US customers, they would be wise to weigh their expected cost benefits against the possibility of potentially alienating their American customers."

Global economy
According to Dr Anton, "An interesting cut of this data further reveals that with respect to technical support calls, college educated respondents and individuals age 18 to 35 were even more likely to indicate that their buying behaviour would not be impacted if these calls were handled by contact centres located outside the U.S. This suggests that perhaps members of generation X and Y and those with higher levels of education are more apt to embrace a global economy.

Agent-related issues
The research found that general agent-related issues included representatives lacking professionalism, and/or customer service skills, and long wait to resolve problems, as well as service agents reading from and/or not deviating from scripts, and those who were ill informed. Reasons related to communication skills included language difficulties (poor English, difficulty understanding) - although this individually ranked among the lowest factors, having little effect on a customer's call centre experience - agents who mumbled and/or spoke too quietly or too quickly, agents who were constantly asked to repeat themselves, and poor communication skills overall.

For additional information:
·  Visit Kelly Services at http://www.kellyservices.com
·  Visit Benchmark Portal at http://www.benchmarkportal.com