According to the Convergys Corporation 2011 U.S. Customer Scorecard Research, call center agents remain the focal point of customer care, 1to1 Media reports. This means that most people use them as their primary resource for customer service in spite of the growing number of web chat, email and social media options available.
However, it tends to be a lengthy adventure to reach a live agent, with most consumers subjected to automated messages and pushing buttons when all they really want is a human being.
"It's frustrating for people when they are hitting those buttons," Mark Kotkin, director of Consumer Reports' national research center, told the Baltimore Sun. "They are paying good money for a service or product and many times they want to get someone to help with a problem."
Mystery shopping firm STELLAService recently researched which companies reported the quickest response time to customer service inquires to call centers. Some businesses, such as DisneyStore.com (12 seconds) and Urban Outfitters (17 seconds) let consumers talk to an agent almost immediately, while others, such as Macys.com (seven minutes, 12 seconds) and Barnes and Noble (eight minutes, three seconds) showed less urgency.
In addition, the Oxford Mail notes Cheshire, England-based call center Astraline recently had the quality of its call center responses tested using mystery shoppers and by examining call logs.