New research conducted by Siemens Enterprise Communications has revealed that UK contact centre agents not only have to be on top of understanding and applying advances in technology but also have to handle an increasing variety of bizarre enquiries from the British public.
The research shows ensuring the delivery of the highest possible standard of customer service is still the main priority of contact centre managers, but it also reflects the decision making and diplomatic skills agents have to employ every day. As we start the New Year, Siemens Enterprise Communications is calling for the right skills training and support to be in place to help contact centre agents deal with these calls appropriately while meeting their call handling and first contact resolution targets.
From questioning a furniture store call centre on whether their chicken is roasted in the oven yet, to requesting a hearse from a car rental company, customers this year have left call centre advisors struggling to contain their laughter.
Amongst other reports, one retail call centre was asked what clothes make you put on weight, whilst the T-Mobile call centre in Wales was called numerous times by fans of the TV show – Gavin and Stacey – to repeat the word ‘lush’. The survey also reported comments such as a pensions company being asked when the next train leaves for Glasgow and a housing association being called by a customer to report their cat had been stolen by a neighbour.
Other call centre advisors have been quizzed by callers about what to buy for a relative’s Christmas present, how to pay rent while in jail after a recent arrest and whether they will have to stand on the aeroplane after booking a flight packaged with a stand ticket for an Arsenal European football game.
Kathryn Penn, portfolio manager, contact centres, Siemens Enterprise Communications, commented that: “The research has revealed some funny moments for call centre advisors. It also highlights the daily challenges for contact centre managers who must ensure all agents are trained and well equipped to suitably handle any bizarre incoming calls so valuable time and resources aren’t wasted. Effective call routing plus some common sense can help to alleviate the problem of miss-matched calls to the contact centre and make sure legitimate customer issues are addressed and the best possible service is provided. ”
The survey, which questioned over 100 UK IT directors and contact centre managers across both the private and public sectors, was conducted by Siemens Enterprise Communications at the Call Centre Expo in October 2011.