Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Thing about Call Centers

In a recent article at the New York Times, Alina Tugend discusses the current state of call centers within in the United States. The worst customer service we’ve all seen usually comes from an automated phone system when trying to call into a company. In the 1980s, with the invention of IVRs, companies lost the desire to deal with customers, and chose to save money and use the automated phone systems instead of having people talk with customers live. As a result, their desire to keep customers was outweighed by how much cheaper it was to use the IVRs.

Today, Tugend points out that companies are changing that. Contrary to what people think, only 10% of customer call centers are located outside the United States. Companies have also discovered two things about the way customers perceive their call centers. They’ve noticed that it’s cheaper to keep customers in the first place, rather than constantly find new ones to replace the old ones they loose as a result of poor customer service over the phone. They’ve also had to deal with the technology of today’s world spreading word about 1) customers are spreading word about their poor customer service and 2) websites that tell customer show to get past the automated system and communicate with a human.

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