Catalogers lead in call-center satisfaction

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Catalog call centers ranked highest in satisfaction among consumers, and offshoring was found to affect customer satisfaction across all industries, according to a study from Claes Fornell International Group.

The first Call Center Satisfaction Index surveyed customers of call centers in six industries using the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, which rates satisfaction on a 100-point scale.

At the top of the list by industry are catalog call centers, which received a customer satisfaction rating of 80, and banking call centers, which posted a 77. The call centers for these industries typically provide superior customer service and good first-call resolution, according to CFI, Ann Arbor, MI.

The call centers for cell phone service received a 69, cable and satellite television a 68, insurance a 68 and personal computers a 64. Nearly a quarter of callers hang up on PC call centers with their issues going unresolved. PC-customer-service representatives rated much lower when it came to solving problems.

The ability to resolve issues is one of the key drivers of customer satisfaction and therefore their loyalty and likelihood to recommend, according to CFI. The report indicates almost one-fifth of callers across all industries hung up with their issue unresolved. Of those, 43 percent said they would definitely defect from that brand and 25 percent weren't sure.

Offshoring also has a big effect on customer-satisfaction levels. According to the study, customers who think the contact center is outside the United States rate their satisfaction with the call-center experience 26 points lower and are almost twice as likely to defect compared to those who assume the call center is in the U.S.

Part of the problem is that customer-service representatives outside the U.S. are rated lower on communication skills. When communication skills are poor, customers' issues remain unresolved. Representatives with poor communication skills are able to solve customer issues 45 percent of the time, compared to 88 percent of the time when representatives speak clearly.

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