Tech savvy Brits embrace call centre technology

August 23, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
UK adults believe that they are left waiting on hold for more than 11 minutes to speak to a live agent, compared to the 30 second industry average reported in the UK Contact Centre Operational Review. The study, which was conducted for advanced voice solutions vendor Vicorp, examined adults’ attitudes to call centres and revealed that to avoid queuing, more than half would be willing to use automated self service for tasks such as checking their bank balance and buying cinema tickets and almost half were willing to use automation to pay bills.

However, people still want to talk to somebody if their day-to-day lives are being inconvenienced or if something is potentially hitting them in the pocket. Technical issues appear to be the biggest bugbear. Nearly a third of those questioned were willing to stay on the phone for as long as it takes to solve problems, such as not having Internet access or losing the TV satellite signal. Resolving a gas bill and booking a holiday are the next things that are most likely to keep us on the phone, with 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. However, only 18 per cent were willing to wait as long as it takes to purchase their car insurance.

Queuing has long been associated with the Brits, but when it comes to call centre queues the patience of the population is tested. The research highlighted an interesting generation gap as patience appears to decline significantly with age. Contrary to popular belief, the 18 -24 age group proved to be the most tolerant, prepared to wait 16 minutes in a call centre queue. For the 25-34 age group, the waiting time drops to13 minutes, whereas the 65 plus age group were only willing to wait for nine minutes. On average, 18 – 24 year olds queued for 60 per cent longer than those aged 65 plus and, when booking concert tickets, this differential doubles.

The survey also found that people’s biggest dislike is not knowing how much longer they have to wait in a call centre queue, gathering 61 per cent of the votes. Nearly half of those questioned ranked repetitive announcements and having to restate account information given earlier in the call in joint second place.

Lee Cottle, chief operating officer at Vicorp, commented: ”Call centres frequently receive bad publicity and, more often than not, it revolves around how long consumers are left on hold before their queries are resolved. However, people’s perception of how long they have to wait differs dramatically from the reality and, with such a large number of people prepared to use self-service for simple transactions, the amount of time people have to wait on hold can be reduced even further. What this suggests is that call centres are not shouting loud enough about the things they are doing right and second, if more organisations employed self-service technologies so that people can deal with straightforward queries themselves, those customers with more complex issues could be directed to a live agent much faster.

“No matter how frustrated people get with call centres, they are an integral communications tool between most organisations and their customers today,” Cottle continued. “As the call centre is often the first point of contact between an organisation and its customers, every effort needs to be made to improve the experience for both customers and staff. Automation creates a win-win situation. Call centre employees can avoid dealing with mundane, repetitive queries, which ensures that motivation levels remain high and staff turnover is reduced. And for customers, their queries and needs can be met in a hassle-free manner in a timeframe that they control.”

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Editor’s Notes: The survey was conducted amongst 1,000 UK adults by ICM Research and the findings were analysed by Contact Babel on behalf of Vicorp Ltd. To view the survey findings, please go to

About Vicorp

Vicorp, a privately owned, AIM listed company, is a leading provider of speech self-service solutions. The company drives realistic returns on investment across all verticals in the contact centre industry and has a unique approach to the full speech solution offering, enabling easy migration from legacy systems whilst providing businesses with control over their application environment.

Vicorp is an end-to-end service creation solution provider that helps organisations create and manage voice and data services rapidly and efficiently utilising media rich components, open standards and web technologies. The company is committed to remaining generic at the technology platform layer as this enables businesses to accommodate migration strategies and focus at realising the benefits of self-service automation independently of underlying technologies.

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