Customers would rather clean a toilet than talk to call centers

Change is coming to the call center industry.  

“Customers expect to receive service where, when and how they want it.  By 2016, more than 60 percent of inbound customer service interactions are expected to come from devices other than your landline,” says Alfred Lallana Jr., country sales manager of Aspect Software, a world leader in call center technologies.

The rise of millennial generation, or individuals aged 18 to 34, to the corporate hierarchy is leading this change.   These young customers want omni-channel experience, instead of talking to call center agents, in dealing with companies, says Jim Freeze, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Boston-based Aspect in a news conference at Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Sanjay Gupta, managing director of Aspect for South Asia and the Middle East, says call centers are going through an interesting transformation.  “The reason for this is that consumers are changing,” he says, adding that technology is also playing a role.

“Now, customers are looking at more information. They are looking at superior customer handling.  The fact is that the role of agents is changing.  This is a very interesting shift,” says Gupta.

Freeze says that instead of picking up the phones to talk to call center agents, the millennial population prefer browsing the interactive Websites of companies on their smartphones to avail of services, in the same way that they can now do financial transactions through banks’ Websites without dealing with a teller.

A new Aspect survey developed with millennial expert Jason Dorsey shows that companies need to quickly address the customer engagement preference of the millennial demographic or risk going out of business.

“Nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service,” results of the Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations show.

Results also show that 56 percent of millennials moved their business from at least one company in the past year due to poor customer service.  About 73 percent of consumers say they should have the ability to solve most product and service issues on their own.

Freeze says companies that fail to respond to the generational shift will be left irrelevant. “Tons of companies are in the dust of history because they did not respond to generational changes. Failure to do so will lead companies to shrink or ultimately become irrelevant,” he says.

Freeze says the big opportunity is for companies to enable consumers help themselves and let them do it with text and other digital channels.  He says 65 percent of all generations and 69 percent of millennials feel really good about both the company and themselves when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem related to that company on their own.


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