For many businesses, customer service was one of the first affected areas of the shift to working from home. The pandemic has led to a rise in phone calls that coincided with what felt to consumers like the phone being taken off the hook. Despite the pressure placed on businesses, many of them started to realise that their contact centres are indeed the heart of staying connected to their customers. According to SmallBizGenius, the global market value of call centres is estimated to reach £428 billion by 2027. In this article, we compiled key global and UK statistics to highlight why contact centres continue to serve as front doors that welcome customers in 2023 and beyond.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why are contact centres important?
So the initial question lingers: why are contact centres still needed in today’s constantly evolving market? In many cases, a contact centre is probably the first – and potentially the only – point of contact with a customer. Customers can purchase products from you without having to interact by simply visiting your website, deciding on a product/service and completing their purchases.
However, a smooth shopping experience is not equal to providing exceptional customer service. It is, on the contrary, a missed opportunity to stand out from the competition as contact centres are crucial tools for customer interaction. Turning a poor customer experience into a positive one or consistently meeting customer expectations can hugely influence a company’s reputation.
Contact centres are also scalable and future-proof solutions. If your contact centre is proliferating or experiencing a sudden increase in calls, adding more agents to meet the demand is much easier. More importantly, Contact Centre as a Service platforms equip agents with the necessary tools to monitor calls, manage meetings and messages, and share files or updates. It also takes care of repetitive tasks, such as updating databases or sending emails and, as a result, improves employee productivity.
Contact centres in the era of COVID-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in many industries, bringing a new era for contact centres. Vonage discovered that the pandemic had changed customers’ preference for communicating with businesses: 51% still prefer to contact customer service via phone calls. Only 18% choose email to reach out, with 11% seeking other routes such as social media, letters and push notifications to contact a business.
However, the pandemic has also left contact centres in a difficult position, as according to IBIS World, there are currently 622 contact centres in the UK in 2023, a decline of -0.6% from 2022.
Interesting contact centre statistics in UK
The employment landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years, with hybrid and remote working becoming the backbone of the new working model. However, the safety measures introduced following the spread of the virus, among other regulations, have placed businesses, including contact centres across the UK, under immense pressure, leaving them close to a breaking point. This is reflected in the contact centres statistics concerning the UK in 2023:
1. One in five contact centre agents in the UK works in finance, an industry that’s responsible for nearly 18% of the entire workforce. (Source)
2. 86% of contact centre leaders claim they cannot supply software updates fast enough to meet the increasing demand. (Source)
3. Only 60% of contact centres currently provide customer support via web chat. (Source)
4. 59% of contact centre leaders agree that contact centre volumes are spiralling beyond their capabilities to control them. (Source)
5. 67% of call centre owners say dealing with dissatisfied customers has impacted their employees’ mental health. (Source)
6. 61% of contact centre leaders state the frequency has increased over the past year, a new global survey finds. (Source)
7. 80% of customers claim they contacted a call centre last month. (Source)
8. 42% of consumers are discouraged by rude or unhelpful customer service staff. (Source)
9. Regardless of channel, speed of response (89%), speed of resolution (89%), and friendliness of customer service staff (82%) are seen as the most important aspects of the customer service experience. (Source)
10. Once a company loses a customer’s trust, 68% of them won’t go back into business with them. (Source)
11. The contact centre market size, measured by revenue, will be worth £2.1 bn in 2022. (Source)
12. The market size of the UK call centre industry has declined by 1.8% per year on average between 2017 and 2022. (Source)
13. The self-service telephony system successfully handled 41% of inbound calls without human intervention. (Source)
14. 30% of customers say that not being able to communicate with an actual human is the most frustrating part of a customer service experience. (Source)
15. 80% of business clients believe anything less than five minutes to be a reasonable time to be on hold. (Source)
16. 66% of customers use at least three communication channels to reach customer service. (Source)
17. 83% of businesses state that artificial intelligence is a key priority in their journey towards better CX and business management. (Source)
18. Businesses that increased customer retention by 5% also improved their profits by 25%-95%. (Source)
19. Getting new customers could cost a business 5-30 times more than retaining existing ones. (Source)
20. 58% of consumers claim that good customer service is a deciding factor when purchasing and choosing one company over the other. (Source)
21. 86% of clients prefer to deal with an agent they share an emotional connection with. (Source)
22. Only a staggering 12% of customers believe businesses put their customers first. (Source)
23. Eight out of ten companies have already implemented AI as a customer service solution into the way they handle phone calls. (Source)
24. 75% of a support call is spent by agents looking up client account information. (Source)
25. 75% of customers would rather interact with humans compared with automated solutions. (Source)
26. 56% of customers name automated telephone systems as one of the most aggravating aspects of bad customer service. (Source)
27. According to Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers who receive a positive customer service experience will share it with six or more people. (Source)
28. 92% of customers aim to resolve an issue prior to contacting customer service. (Source)
29. 64% of business owners admit customer service positively impacts their company’s growth. (Source)
30. 33% of customers would consider leaving a company immediately after receiving bad customer service. (Source)
31. Zendesk discovers that 54% of consumers admit their biggest frustration when talking to chatbots is the number of questions they ask before transferring them to a customer service agent. (Source)
32. 33% of business clients would rather reach out to customer service via social media rather than contacting them via phone. (Source)
33. Contact centres in the UK employ 4% of the entire workforce. (Source)
Global contact centre statistics to know
A new study by Juniper finds that the global contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) market revenue is likely to reach £13.3 billion by 2027. The following global contact centre statistics highlight how customer satisfaction and call response times remain a top priority for businesses in a post-pandemic environment:
34. 58.3% of contact centres emphasise budget as a significant obstacle to running their dream operation. (Source)
35. The global call centre market, including contact centres, multimedia access centres, and customer interaction centres, is expected to reach £425 billion by 2027, fuelled by the changing needs of businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Source)
36. The Cloud-based contact centre market is set to reach £20 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 25%. (Source)
37. Cloud contact centres are 27% cheaper with 35% less downtime than their on-premise counterparts. (Source)
38. 49% of clients use three to five different communication channels to contact customer service. (Source)
39. 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds represent the global norm for service level in a call centre, while the average speed to respond to a call is an estimated 28 seconds. (Source)
40. 95.7% of contact centre workers consider customer satisfaction as the number one call centre metric. (Source)
41. 75% of customers expect a consistent experience across multiple channels, including social media, mobile, online, in-person, or via phone, with 73% stating they will likely leave the brand if they don’t receive it. (Source)
42. 36% of call centres utilise cloud technology. (Source)
43. 77% of clients consider a business more positively if they’re proactive with customer service. (Source)
44. 35% of customers prefer customer support agents to help them resolve their issues in a single interaction. (Source)
45. 59% of business clients state that their expectations for customer support have increased compared to the previous year. (Source)
46. Only 26% of consumers responded positively when asked if they reckon customer service centres provide adequate support, compared to 49% who disagreed. (Source)
47. Customers will likely pay a 16% price premium in exchange for a good customer experience. (Source)
48. 49% of clients feel relieved when their calls aren’t transferred, 37% state they feel their business is valued, with 34% of them are more likely to complete a purchase. (Source)
49. 53% of customers reveal they often need to repeat their reason for calling multiple agents. (Source)
50. 86% of contact centre agents feel they don’t have adequate resources or the authority to provide effective customer service. (Source)
51. Up to 30% of call volume is about previously unresolved issues. (Source)
52. 50% of contact centre managers claim that they didn’t utilise automation in their contact centre tools enough. (Source)
53. Despite the growing popularity of bots and automation, traditional technologies, like telephone and email, will account for 81.5% of the total contact centre inbound interactions. (Source)
54. 66% of call centre companies seek to invest in advanced analytics to provide a more efficient customer experience. (Source)
55. 76% of call centres are looking to invest in AI over the next two years. (Source)
56. 82% of decision-makers believe that insights gained from inbound calls and call experiences could potentially reveal costly blind spots in their organisations. (Source)
57. 88% of call centre service teams admit the pandemic has unveiled their technology gaps. (Source)
58. 76% of customers who reach out to customer service do it via phone calls. (Source)
59. The average speed to take a call is 15 seconds better in blended contact centres than in those with dedicated inbound and outbound teams. (Source)
60. Call centres attribute 60% to the global customer service market. (Source)
61. 66% of global call centres are located in the US. (Source)
62. 57% of businesses are experimenting with the use of AI in assisting their customer service agents. (Source)
63. Migrating to the cloud can increase call answer rates by 5%, with the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) dropping by 50%. (Source)
64. 90% of call centres that shifted to the cloud did so to gain financial flexibility. (Source)
What makes a great contact centre?
Regardless of the main objectives of contact centres, they all aim to either market a product or a service, provide assistance or collect customer information. But how do they achieve all that? The key to creating a contact centre that successfully meets its goals lies in several factors starting with establishing the right environment with particular attention to providing quality equipment and bright space to foster productivity.
Building a solid relationship with your agents with communication and mutual trust in focus to avoid employee burnout, clear goals and effectively utilised client information can also contribute to a great contact centre that benefits your business in the long run.
How do you measure the success of a contact centre?
When clients decide to reach out to a contact centre, they expect their queries to be resolved as quickly and professionally as possible. The success of your contact centre directly corresponds with customer satisfaction. Choosing the right metric is key to determine the effectiveness of your processes and also helps identify necessary areas for improvement.
The most critical contact centre metrics and KPIs contact centres need to focus on include:
– Response times
– Quality of the calls
– Average call duration
– Customer service satisfaction score
– Escalation rate
– Call abandonment rate
What is the most important aspect of a contact centre?
A contact centre can have the latest software and cutting-edge technology, but its operation’s core hugely relies on its agents’ qualities. A customer’s experience with a contact centre is often the determining factor in whether to continue doing business with your company. Hiring agents with the right skill set is crucial to meeting customers’ needs and maintaining long-term relationships. But what makes a good contact centre agent?
Contact centre agents deal with a variety of situations on a daily basis, some are more demanding than others, and even though there is no one size fits all solution, they are required to have certain personality traits to create a good call centre experience. Creative problem-solving, empathy and effective communication skills are all essential elements of providing good customer service, such as the ability to remain calm under pressure or having an optimistic spirit to soften the mood.
What are the basic elements of a contact centre?
The modern contact centre is evolving consistently. As companies continue to learn the importance of providing excellent customer service, contact centres are becoming extremely advanced, with new emerging technologies to discover, like artificial intelligence or sentiment analysis. As such, the contact centre market is set to grow at a CAGR of 19.7% from 2020 to 2027.
In order to support operations efficiently, a contact centre should include the following tools:
– Call recording tools and analytics platforms
– Workforce management and optimisation tools
– Interactive Voice Response systems (IVR)
– Artificial intelligence and virtual agents
– Automatic call distribution (ACD) software
– Security services and Quality of Service monitoring