Accent Grave

“Hello! My name is Kelly. I very much wanting to be help you.” If that sounds familiar, and if your first thought on hearing it is, “Yeah, right — if your name is Kelly, my name is Arnold Schwarzenneger,” you’re not alone. Most consumers appear to feel that way about offshore call centers, according to a recent study conducted by CMP Media LLC. The study’s most amazing finding: a complete disconnect between what outsourcers think they’ve accomplished, and what customers think of their efforts. Outsourcers claim that 65% of customers are “highly satisfied,” but customers themselves are “highly satisfied” only 22% of the time. Most problematic to business and consumer callers was difficulty understanding an agent’s accent; nearly two-thirds of both groups cite this as an issue. In addition, one in five business customers say that they have experienced a security or privacy concern on the phone with an offshore center.

The urgent need to fix offshore call centers is illustrated by another survey result: Fully 65% of customers prefer to interact with a firm by phone. And if 65% of customers are highly satisfied only 22% of the time, that, my friend, is veddy veddy bad for business.