New research shows.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of Australians have had a bad experience when dealing with call centres, with 43% admitting they wish they never had to use them again, according to new research commissioned by contact centre recruitment agency, Citrus Group.

The data also revealed that 18 to 25 year olds have a particularly low tolerance for call centres, with 72% having had negative experiences, followed by 65% of 26 to 33 year olds, and 67% of those 57 years and older.

The leading reason behind these negative experiences was being passed around between staff members (28%), staff members not being able to resolve their issue (24%), and rudeness (15%).

Interestingly, many of the common complaints were also attributed to internationally based contact centres, over locally based ones.

Of the 36% of people who had positive experiences with call centres, the reasons cited were issues being resolved quickly (33%), staff members clearly comprehending what the issue was instantly (31%), staff members really knowing their stuff (25%), and staff members who showed empathy towards the situation (9%) and other reasons (2%).

Citrus Group joint managing director, Paul Smith said, “This research provides valuable insight into the good and the bad of the call centre sector. Our mission is to focus on sourcing exceptional talent for the Australian call centre industry to help negate the stereotypical negative perception.

“A need that we hear time and time again from our clients is the importance of empathy in their staff members, both when dealing with customers and when resolving their issues. Empathy is therefore the first quality we test for to ensure potential staff are able to deliver the best possible customer service for our clients, their brands and ultimately the most important stakeholder – the customer.”

Key things customers are looking for when they deal with call centres:

  1. Knowing your product – along with empathy to their individual situation, customers simply want the quickest resolution, which requires teams to be crystal clear about the company they work for and its offerings.
  2. Don’t pass people around – Customers need contact centre staff to be able to handle their enquiry so that it produces the least amount of pain possible.
  3. Courtesy is king –In a hyper competitive world where there is endless choice at the click of a button, courtesy towards and gratitude for the customer choosing your product needs to be exercised and authentically delivered. Or, they will simply go elsewhere.
  4. Regular updates – if the matter cannot be resolved immediately by the call centre member, customers need to receive regular updates that negate any additional frustration. Going this extra mile will be much appreciated and will surprise and delight them into potentially becoming an advocate for the brand.