Headlines: December 6th, 2004

As more public bodies set up call centres to improve efficiency, customers are voicing their concern about the length of time it takes to get through to someone who is able to talk about their problem. A third of respondents won’t wait longer than a minute for a response. Part of the concern is that public sector services can’t use freephone numbers, so customers are always paying for any hold times.A survey by Telewest Business investigated the public’s attitude to call centre service levels across financial services, public sector services, leisure and utility industries. The survey revealed that public sector services have the least public confidence in handling their call most effectively with only 11% prepared to wait for their calls to be answered, compared to 48% willing to wait to speak to financial services companies.

In the survey respondents tended to be critical of public sector service call centres suggesting they didn’t trust them to direct the call properly first time, where as in the financial service sector almost half of people had confidence their call would be effectively dealt with. When phoning the leisure sector people were far more tolerant of longer hold times, perhaps because booking tickets is much less stressful than resolving financial or utility problems.