For many enterprises, call centers are the lifeblood of customer service. While tools like chatbots, email, and text support have become more common, they are not a replacement for speaking live to a human for faster, more personalized problem resolution. But because most call centers are located outside the country of origin for a given business, hurdles with understanding grammar, accents, and cultural nuances can hinder communication between caller and agent.
Poor communication leads to a poor customer experience. But in order to address this, we must first understand the hardships call center agents are facing. To do this, Gradient Flow issued a survey to 270 call center workers in India to identify key challenges and potential solutions to enhance job performance. The survey explored factors such as industry tenure, understandability when speaking to callers, and affinity to assistive tech solutions.
What we found was surprising. And it could mean the next generation of customer service starts with AI-powered voice assistive technology. Below are some of the key findings and why they matter:
Tenure Means Little for Job Performance
While conventional wisdom tells us that tenure would greatly impact job performance, this was not the case. While slight variances in time in the industry and ability to understand callers were apparent, they were much smaller than expected. In fact, a vast majority of respondents reported that they can easily understand callers (95%), and in turn, callers can easily understand them (91%). This was true among all respondents, with experience from from less than one year to more than three years.
Agents are Overwhelmingly in Favor of Assistive Job Technology
Despite a vast majority of respondents reporting a high level of confidence in their ability to effectively communicate with callers, their receptiveness to assistive technology was overwhelming. Specifically, the results indicate a decisive inclination towards the adoption of assistive technology aimed at improving voice and speech comprehension. Even more interesting, although slight, those most receptive to assistive voice technology were the respondents with the longest tenure in the industry.
Better Communication Leads to Improved Job Satisfaction
The survey closed by asking respondents about the benefits of better communication, and the perceived advantages were clear. Benefits listed include: mitigated conflict, increased employee engagement, improved productivity, improved client relations, a healthy workplace culture, improved direction for employees, professional growth, and improved communication skills. Additionally, better communication can lead to better understanding of customers, strengthened team building, increased innovation, and better job satisfaction. Many respondents also noted that better communication leads to better customer service.
So, What Does this Mean for CX?
Overall, effective workplace communication is seen as an essential aspect of an efficient and successful business. Giving employees the tools they need to enhance communication is not only a smart business move, but it’s evident it’s what employees want, too. And it’s encouraging to see that tenured employees are keen to improve performance, even in areas where they excel.
Additionally, the survey suggests that better communication can lead to a variety of benefits, including improved productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee job satisfaction and growth. This is huge in a field known for high turnover. In fact, the average tenure of a call center agent is around 22 months, and the annual attrition rate among India-based call center agents ranges from 28% for in-house agents to 38% for external subcontractors.
Satisfied employees and those who feel fulfilled in their roles are far more likely to stay. Voice assistive tech, which has the power to enhance communication and better the customer experience, is a valuable tool to help achieve both job satisfaction and employee retention. As AI continues to mature, use of voice assistive software will become more widely used across the enterprise. In the meantime, smart leaders should give close consideration to how this can improve their business’ first line of defense: their call center support agents.