Contact centres still lag behind customer expectations amid pandemic

Image courtesy of Uniphore

Call centres and customer experiences are a bellwether for consumer confidence and have become increasingly critical during the pandemic as an opportunity to build customer connections, a report from Uniphore found.

The report is based on a survey that was completed in January 2021, administered online and included a random sampling of 1,210 adults from across Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

Findings show that more than half (54%) of consumers in Singapore find themselves feeling angry, frustrated, and annoyed while being put on hold when they contact a call centre.

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Also, 39% of respondents in Singapore said they waited more than 30 minutes to get a response while 36% said they did not get their questions solved the first time when reaching out to a call centre.

“Many consumers today still feel undervalued at the same time as call centre agents feel overwhelmed and under resourced,” said Ravi Saraogi, co-founder and president of APAC at Uniphore. “We have the ability to change this and empower call centre agents with technology and support that enables them to truly hear the voice of the customer and deliver personalised and impactful answers and support.” 

Almost a year into the pandemic, organisations across APAC have transitioned to remote working. This has led to businesses turning to the use of chatbots, interactive voice recording (IVR) and social media channels to communicate with consumers.

However, the survey data reveals that there is still a strong preference from local consumers (67%) to speak to a live agent when reaching a company’s call centre.

With the massive and rapid shift to remote work, only about one-third of Singapore consumers claimed they trust contact centre agents with their personal information while working remotely. The two countries who trust remote agents the most are India (74%) and Vietnam (75%).

With an increase in customers calling and a desire for more information from companies, agents will be overwhelmed by the amount of post-call work if they do not work hand-in-hand with their Artificial Intelligence (AI) co-workers.

However, only one in every five consumers in Singapore feel comfortable if companies use AI technologies to help the customer experience, especially if the technology is assisting a human agent — compared to India (78%), Vietnam (72%), Malaysia (43%) and Indonesia (41%).