Contact centers help numerous companies around the world to grow and succeed by providing excellent customer support. At the same time, they're victims of many well-established myths based on outdated assumptions. We've gathered 8 most common myths about call centers and debunked them one by one.
It’s safe to say that clients would rather not have to contact a call center. The reason is pretty simple: If there is a need to make a call and talk to an agent, it means we have a problem - usually with an order, shipping or payment. Moreover, it’s likely to be a problem that can’t be solved easily, for example by reading instructions on the website. At the same time, expectations towards companies are high: everything needs to be provided fast, smoothly and hassle-free. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, and it’s a call center that often comes to the rescue.
The problem is that call centers, which seem to be a fundamental part of the customer experience in practically every company that sells products or services, tend to have a bad reputation with both clients and employees. That’s why it’s so important to show that the reality can be different. A modern contact center that takes advantage of up-to-date technology can be a place where its employees or agents thrive, and customers are so satisfied that they become advocates of the brand.
People don’t call customer support anymore.
This opinion is particularly common among younger generations who prefer using chatbots or social media to solve issues. Some people dislike calling; it’s also very stressful for a growing number of expats who have just started to learn the local language. However, let’s face it: They’re a minority. Making a call is still the number one method to solving a problem, especially when the issue is complex. Taking to a real person is natural and simple, maybe that’s why it remains the most popular type of live-assist channel and is chosen by 59% of consumers. Telephone customer service isn’t likely to be replaced soon by something completely new, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be enhanced by technology. On the contrary, this already happens and improves the user experience - for example, integrating call centers with CRM allows for efficient and personalized problem-solving while talking to a real person.
Robots will replace people in call centers
With the fourth industrial revolution emerging, people are afraid that many jobs will become redundant as a result of automation and robotics. Data supports these worries - according to the World Economic Forum, 1 million jobs will be in jeopardy by 2020. It’s not surprising, therefore, that telephone customer support agents are afraid of losing their jobs, especially in an age of chatbots and voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa. At least for now, though, it doesn’t seem to be a great concern. AI-powered automation will rather enhance their skills and improve the user experience. As we’ve stated in debunking myth number 1, customers still want to communicate with a real person. As long as human-to-human contact remains in demand, it’s unlikely that agents will be replaced by robots. It is likely, though, that automation will help with the most mundane and repetitive tasks.
Agents don't care about clients
Another harmful myth concerns how much call center agents care about clients and their issues. Of course, a negative experience can always occur for various reasons, but in general, agents are professionals who are genuinely interested in solving the problem and making a client happy.
A positive, can-do approach from an agent is necessary, but technology helps too. CloudTalk can power any contact center with emotion recognition that advises an appropriate tone of voice. Moreover, because it can be easily integrated with CRM, helpdesks, and e-commerce tools, the user experience can be fast and personalised.
Call centers are expensive
They don’t have to be. It’s true that setting up an in-house contact center with expensive infrastructure and hiring IT administrators can be costly, but it’s not the only way of having phone support. Call centers can also be cloud-based. Such a solution not only reduces the running cost, but also simplifies the daily routine of the agents and increases their productivity. It also offers international and short phone numbers. A cloud-based call center is affordable because it provides flexible packages based on current needs, which can be (temporarily) upgraded or downgraded.
In fact, an effective contact center can generate revenue. Customer experience has already become a part of marketing because clients who have received excellent support will likely promote the brand among their friends and professional network. Numbers don’t lie: 70% of buying decisions are based on customer experience, and 89% of consumers look to a competitor after experiencing poor service.
Call centers are difficult to set up
Just like the myth of being costly, call centers don’t have to be difficult to set up either. On the contrary, with a cloud-based solution it only takes 5 minutes. It’s enough to connect any device (a computer, laptop or smartphone) to the internet, log in and you are good to go.
Another challenge for a company that requires a contact center is using numerous external tools and platforms, such as CRM, helpdesks and e-commerce solutions. CloudTalk understands that and allows for integrating the call center with over 500 services, including Salesforce, Help Scout, Pipedrive, Zapier, Zendesk, LiveAgent, Intercom, Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify and more. As a result, it’s easier than ever for an agent to make flexible data-driven decisions based on real-time information, including a client’s emotional state.
Remote call centers are not secure enough
Offshore contact centers often bring security concerns. Customer experience agents deal with personal data, credit card information, storing logs and call recording. However, the truth is that storing data in a brick and mortar office doesn’t guarantee security or prevent data breach. On the other hand, online solutions offer highly secured encryption and dedicated teams of cybersecurity experts. CloudTalk is GDPR compliant and it follows recommendations from security standards such as ISO 27001/27002, PCI/DSS and the OWASP security project. All phone calls are encrypted, passwords and credit card information can’t be accessed internally, and infrastructure is constantly monitored.
Remote call center agents are unproductive
It’s increasingly common for call center agents to work remotely, from home, which causes both security and productivity concerns. We’ve already debunked the security concern in Myth number 6, so now let’s take a closer look at how productive remote call center agents can be.
The discussion about productivity in home-based offices causes a wide discussion worldwide. With the rise of the gig economy, and the growing popularity of freelancing as a first-choice career path, the debate on how it affects productivity arises in many different fields, not only call centers. For example, Marissa Meyer, a former CEO of Yahoo, has banned working from home and demanded all remote workers to go back to the office. However, her decision was based on outdated metrics and productivity had been an issue in the the entire company, not only among remote employees but also in the offices.
The truth is that an office environment doesn’t guarantee productivity just like it doesn’t guarantee security. On the other hand, the right management, user-friendly tools, and motivation do. From an employer perspective, call center employees may be even easier to manage than other professions because all of the logs and call recordings are stored in the system.
Being a contact center agent is not a dream job
Some call centers have a bad reputation as employers. It may be true that working there can be difficult and mundane, as agents often have to deal with difficult clients and solve similar issues repetitively. It takes lots of stamina to endure long hours working on tasks and listening carefully at the same time. Working in a call center also requires excellent communication and multi-tasking skills, which makes it a harder job as some people think.
At the same time, contact center agents have to be curious problem solvers, both patient and energetic. Most of them have a degree, and their career paths are not limited to a desk job. In fact, the BPO industry is continuously growing and it’s often possible to get promoted into a managerial position. In fact, many professionals working in tech, marketing, healthcare, and other fields, enjoy having the opportunity to work in a call center to get valuable experience in their areas. Moreover, working in a modern contact center helps to get to know various tools and gain computer skills.
Contact centers help numerous companies, both small and big, to grow and succeed by providing customer support. At the same time, they’re considered costly, complicated to set up and cause productivity and security concerns. However, it’s important to stress that those are well-established myths based on outdated assumptions. A modern call center can be a cloud-based secured phone system that’s ready to set up in 5 minutes, easy to scale and simple to integrate with CRM, helpdesks and other tools. There is no need to hire IT specialists and to be afraid of data breaches - everything is taken care of. All you need to do is to log in, use the headset, and provide an excellent customer experience.