Simon Kent’s beliefs (MW November 8) about automating routine enquiries to call centres makes perfect sense from the staff and company point of view but fails to address one of the most important factors in customer satisfaction – the human element.
When consumers contact call centres with a query, not only do they want their information needs satisfied, they need empathy and the kind of personal service that can only be provided by speaking to an actual person. A customer with a grievance or an urgent query will only become more disappointed, and less loyal, when connected to computerised voices providing inappropriate, irrelevant, impersonal information.
In the end, job satisfaction for call centre staff decreases when dealing with irate callers who have spent an age trying to get through to an operator. The customer is sure to already feel let down by the company, which makes it harder for call centre staff to provide a satisfactory conclusion. This kind of situation is demoralising and unnecessary.
Technology is a necessary part of modern business life and can save a lot of time, money and effort, but there are times when only the human element will do.