Trend Spotting: What’s Going on in Contact Centres Right Now?


We asked our readers to identify the latest trends hitting their contact centres.

Upper management have started to prioritise quality over quantity

Management have started to understand that quality measurements, including quality of service, are as important (if not more important) than traditional quantitative KPIs when measuring performance.

With thanks to David

The customer journey is taking priority over business process mapping

We’re now mapping the customer journey instead of business process mapping.

Our business is now more focused on customer experience, rather than making them fit into our processes.

With thanks to Steve

Customers are being overwhelmed by survey requests

Customers are getting “survey fatigued” from constant survey requests which seem to lead nowhere.

When you do tell a customer you have implemented changes from their feedback, they are always pleasantly surprised.

With thanks to Nerys

Agents handling more than one contact at a time

Due to higher contact volumes, as well as customers wanting calls and live chats dealt with faster and faster, our contact centre agents now handle more than one contact at a time.

With thanks to Kate

First Contact Resolution trumps Average Handling Time

When it comes to measuring First Contact Resolution (FCR), the Average Handling Time doesn’t matter – so long as the issue is resolved.

With thanks to Suzette

Customers are beginning to understand how the contact centre works

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We have seen that customers are more aware of contact centres and seem happier with being on hold and receiving follow-up emails.

They also seem to be more aware that more complex enquiries may need more than one contact, such as being passed to a new agent or following up by email.

With thanks to Emily

The role of the contact centre has finally been acknowledged

This year we’ve seen other areas of the business acknowledge the role of customer service in saving the organisation money.

With thanks to Steve

Contact centres are being more proactive in their service options

We use customer verbatim and First Contact Resolution (FCR) root-cause analysis to identify opportunities for up-front servicing options.

With thanks to Craig

Quality Scoring in written communication

We have noticed a need for our Quality Team to assess written communications.

Our online support team now also goes through the Quality Assurance process.

With thanks to Dianne

Social media is highlighting short-term problems

Social media interactions often highlight short-term contact centre problems within your business.

For example, wait times, bad customer service and unresolved issues.

With thanks to Alex

Average Handling Time hampering Customer Satisfaction

Over 2014, the management team realised that targeting AHT was hampering customer satisfaction.

With thanks to Dianne

Speech analytics has replaced a lot of our listening activity

We now use speech analytics to identify demand, as a replacement for call listening.

This does save time, but we have found that the findings can be too generalised if you don’t physically listen to any calls at all.

With thanks to Michael

Customers are moving away from the phone

Customers are moving away from the phone, they just post on social media.

I think this is because we generally respond quicker to tweets, as they are often brand damaging.

With thanks to Tom

Looking after staff helps look after customers

We’ve found that looking after our staff helps them to look after our customers.

We’ve improved morale by offering flexible working, building employee forums and putting pool tables in the break-out room.

With thanks to Nadine

Peer-driven best practice is more effective than management-driven activity

We’ve found that sharing best practices agent to agent is much more effective – and is actioned much quicker – than when we promote best practices from the management team down.

With thanks to Pam

Multi-skilled agents waste time logging in and out of different systems

We’ve noticed that our multi-skilled agents spend a lot of their time switching between different IT platforms.

All of this logging in and out results in an increase in AHT – and can be an inconvenience to the customer.

With thanks to Michael

The IT team is still largely disconnected from the contact centre

We’ve noticed a disconnect between IT and the contact centre.

IT sees the need for systems to aid in customer contact management. However, they tend to develop solutions somewhat in a vacuum, with the result of slower call resolution and slow employee adoption.

With thanks to Robin

Businesses aren’t taking compliance as seriously as they should be

I’ve started to notice that not enough organisations are truly complying with all PCI DSS regulatory rules.

With thanks to Christine

Unhappy customers turn straight to social media

If a customer gets bad service from the contact centre, they are now very quick to voice this on social media.

With thanks to Kate

Supervisors have more time to supervise and take calls

Most companies are now moving towards web-based systems and in doing so, systems are much faster.

This has allowed more time to be allocated to supervisors and managers to actually do some supervision and they are even taking calls as well as the staff.

It has also resulted in more friendly competition between supervisors and staff  – which is great for general motivation as well as helping supervisors understand the nature of the calls coming in.

With thanks to Suzette

Younger staff are more enthusiastic about new channels

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We have noticed that our younger staff are far better at dealing with IT queries – and are also more enthusiastic about promoting apps.

With thanks to Pam

Customers aren’t afraid to tarnish the company’s reputation online

Customers have become very aware of a company’s online reputation – and the power of using it against them.

With thanks to Nerys

Poor training continues

I’ve seen a need for quality training to be provided.

Given some of the poor training I’ve seen, it’s no wonder so many staff are insufficiently up-skilled.

With thanks to Pam

Supervisors are not doing enough to empower their staff

Contact centre staff need to be empowered, so they can do the best thing possible for the customer – without constantly referring to a supervisor.

With thanks to Petro

It is hard to find the right people

Working in a call centre is challenging and you need an all-round range of skills, mainly excellent customer service.

We have struggled with new employees who cannot deal with the demands of a call centre environment.

With thanks to Tom

Live chat isn’t a practical solution if your agents can’t spell

I think people are afraid of implementing live chat.

My staff can’t spell or use proper grammar!

With thanks to David

Thorough training is essential when launching a new channel

Don’t launch a new channel until all of your assigned staff are adequately trained.

We’ve jumped in too soon in the past and only succeeded in making the customer experience worse.

With thanks to Pam

A mixed sales and customer service role is most appealing for new recruits

We are finding that if a role is advertised as sales we get a much lower application response than if a role is advertised as customer service.

However, a mixed sales and customer and sales role is also desirable to applicants.

With thanks to Emily

Customers using the call centre are reluctant to switch to other channels

We’ve found that customers using social media/email are happy to redirect their issues to the call centre, whereas those using the call centre are less likely to try the other channels if we’re experiencing problems with the phone lines.

With thanks to Alex

There is a growing need to mystery shop on your own site

We’ve noticed a growing need to mystery shop on our own site to ensure it is up to date.

We also do this regularly to ensure all pages can be run on the latest tablets and smartphones – as not all of them are compatible.

With thanks to Pam

It is a nice touch if customers are able to speak to the same agent each time

If the customer remembers a particular agent for good service, giving them the option to choose that person would provide a consistent and positive experience.

With thanks to Tom

What is your experience of the modern contact centre?

Published On: 17th Dec 2014 - Last modified: 8th May 2018
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1 Comment
  1. Communicate well and often to the team to keep them motivated and engaged. We are training all our team to be more social media savvy as this is no doubt the preferred customer channel for feedback/concerns. Our reputation/profile could be enhanced with how we respond to customer comments on social media.

    Steve 29 Jan at 10:04 am
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