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Study: Call back the call centers

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 8:10am
Brian Santo

Consumers are only slightly less aggravated with offshore call centers as they are with the IRS.

A recent survey from the CFI Group that included MVPD (multichannel video programming distributors) customers revealed what CFI called an "almost unprecedented level of dissatisfaction associated with offshore agents." 

The study finds that call center satisfaction is only 58 out of 100 when the call is handled by an offshore agent, compared to 79 for U.S.-based agents. The IRS scores 55.

Foreign-based contact centers score lower in every single category, from first call resolution to customer service, the survey finds.

This is apparently not news; U.S. companies have been repatriating call centers. The percentage of consumers being funneled to call centers located in a foreign country declined for the second straight year, according to CFI Group, from 15 percent in 2008 to 9 percent this year.  

Sheri Teodoru, CFI Group's CEO, said, "Offshore agents not only serve as fodder for late-night comedy sketches, they're a painful reminder that American jobs continue to be outsourced during a period of high unemployment."

Teodoru advises companies to consider two factors when weighing the cost savings of operating an offshore call center. The first is how often customers will need to use the call center, and the second is the level of stress likely to be involved in the call. She notes, "It's one thing to go offshore to handle simple balance inquiries, but it's quite another when success or failure in solving a software problem determines if your customer is able to meet the deadline for a proposal or get a term paper in on time."

The report analyzed contact centers across several vertical industries, including banks & credit unions, cell phone service, insurance, personal computers, retail and subscription TV.

The full report is available for download (registration required) at the CFI Group's website.

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