Speed dial set to UK for customer service

New research from Aspect suggests that UK companies are more likely to have a local contact centre in 2012

More than 90 per cent of retailers and utilities companies base their primary customer service operation from an in-house or outsourced contact centre in the UK, according to new research by Aspect. The survey, which interviewed 250 UK organisations, found that only 2 per cent base their customer service outside of Europe.

With contact centres having suffered from public image problems in the past due to the proliferation of offshore contact centres in the 90s and early 2000s, the research contradicts the perception still held by many consumers that most contact centres are based overseas.

Mark King, Senior VP Europe & Africa at Aspect, suggests that the increasing operational cost of offshoring to popular territories such as India, China or South Africa, as well as the importance of the contact centre to an organisation has driven this sea change.

He said: “This should not only lay consumers’ biggest contact centre bug bears to rest, but it will financially benefit UK organisations. Advances in technology, such as unified communications, makes it more cost effective to run a contact centre in the UK than ever before. As well as this, the increasing impetus on organisations to plough resource, time and money into customer engagement seems to be working; customer satisfaction is a key factor in loyalty and increased sales.”

He continued: “The research shows that organisations within the consumer-centric retail and utilities sectors are listening to their customers. And if your customers love you, it’s a hard bond to break.”

Earlier Aspect research in 2012 that talked to 150 UK financial services providers, including banks and insurers, also suggests that the perceived value of the contact centre to UK organisations is increasing. Over half of the organisations surveyed see improving the customer experience as their number one business goal for the contact centre (56 per cent).

King concluded: “Organisations are fast recognising to contact centre as the critical heart of operations and a huge influence on the bottom line. As expectations of the next generation of consumer increases, companies are showing significant signs of working to ensure that they are met.”

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