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• 68% of consumers have seen customer care deteriorate since call centre operations moved abroad
• Just 7% have a problem free experience contacting an offshore call centre
• Only 5% think it is easier to contact an offshore call centre compared to when it was based in the UK

Moving call centres overseas does not lead to improved customer service levels, a survey conducted by Surveylab has found. In this recent study, 66% of participants reckoned their call to a UK company ended up overseas but only 7% reported their call was trouble-free. The vast majority experienced problems:

• 88% found it difficult to understand the agent
• 57% felt that the agent had difficulty understanding the caller
• 42% felt the agent had insufficient knowledge of the product or service involved
• 41% felt that the call centre agent relied too much on scripts
• 38% felt that the agent had no or limited authority to resolve the caller's issue
• 35% felt there was poor call quality or noise on the line
• 21% said that promises made were not kept

More than two thirds of consumers taking part in the survey (68%) felt that the overall level of customer care is worse or much worse compared to when the call centre operation was in the UK.

One of the reasons for “offshoring” was to make it easier for customers to contact but only 6% of respondents thought it was. Just over a quarter felt it made no difference and 68% worse.
"From the customers' perspective, 'offshoring' call centres has not improved customer care," explains John Kemp, Customer Service Director at Surveylab, "Although never popular, companies still seem keen to make their customers talk to someone thousands of miles a way if they have a problem with the products and services they use. The original argument for offshoring was to improve customer care levels and at the same time make cost savings. Teething problems were expected initially but this survey suggests that the quality of service provided by many offshore centres is getting worse rather than improving”.

A staggering 91% stated that they would prefer to deal with an organisation that made a point of not using overseas call centres.

In previous research, positive comments were made about the politeness of overseas agents but this trend seems to have reversed with many complaints about rudeness and agents hanging up mid call. Other gripes include spending considerable time "on hold" whilst their call is being charged at 0840 or 0870 rates, and there are still some agents who get through their training with an unfortunate misunderstanding of UK culture and geography. One caller was quoted prices in rupees rather than pounds and another asked "What is Birmingham?"

The most frequently reported organisation directing their customers offshore was BT with twice as many mentions as any other organisation. Others in the top five were HSBC, Orange, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

- Ends -

For further information please contact:

Surveylab Limited
John Kemp on 020 8090 0811 / mobile: 07941 672 561
Email: john@surveylab.co.uk

Note to Editors:

The survey was conducted by Surveylab Limited (www.surveylab.co.uk) during July, August and September 2008 on behalf of the Customer Care Alliance. 10,102 responses were received from a random sample of UK consumers.

The Customer Care Alliance is a consortium of companies specialising in customer retention and loyalty strategy. Surveylab is a founding member and has conducted four UK Customer Care studies since 2004.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Surveylab Limited in the following categories: Women's Interest & Beauty, Travel, Media & Marketing, Retail & Fashion, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.