36% of call center agents have been threatened with violence: Study

At least 36 percent of call center agents have been threatened with violence, while 21 percent of female call center agents have been sexually assaulted by customers, according to a study released Friday.

Not only that, 81 percent of agents have experienced customer abuse, while 41 percent of agents want AI to handle complex calls and 40 percent of agents fear that AI will take away their jobs, according to ASPP, Artificial Intelligence (AI) ) the research-driven company that published the report, CX: The Human Factor.

Three million Americans work as call center agents and nearly one million in India. However, many face daily abuse from customers, so much so that 1.2 million Americans lose their jobs every year, it said. It said that at least 51 percent of agents who received poor training report being pessimistic about their careers, which can lead to poor performance and burnout.

The report reveals the main challenges facing three million US contact center agents, an industry with one of the highest employee turnover rates; 40 percent leave their role within 12 months. Three key themes of training/coaching, technology and career opportunities emerged from interviews and a survey with agents that focused on short-term savings that ultimately increase long-term costs to the customer experience.

While companies often look to ways to reduce the time it takes to train agents, the report’s results suggest that less training lowers agents’ confidence and competence, which can lead to high absenteeism. Thirty-eight percent of agents said training and career development opportunities would improve their jobs.

The impact of training at the start of the job and throughout an agent’s career directly affects their happiness. Ongoing coaching and support for agents has been inconsistent with 37% of respondents shifting to work from home, indicating that it was difficult to get a response during the pandemic, it said.

“Seventy-four percent of agents see themselves as the brand ambassadors of the company and the voice of the brand they represent. When companies fail their agents with dysfunctional technology, training, and coaching, they risk not only a disappointing employee experience, but a poor customer experience that will lead consumers to look elsewhere,” said ASAP Chief Experience Officer Michael Lauder said.

“Contact Center agents want to be empowered and do their best to help the consumers. They operate in a difficult environment with a frankstack of poorly designed legacy systems that are difficult to use; Policies and processes that prioritize cost and liability, over solutions and customer satisfaction – with a lack of ongoing coaching and training that does not help accelerate their progress,” he said.

“Around 80 percent of the B2C enterprise CX budget is spent on labour. The industry has a culture of continuous improvement and a focus on metrics, yet how we measure customer service and agent performance must evolve to identify the behaviors that drive customer loyalty and value to employees and customers. increase the. The environment we create for employees is the environment that customers experience,” said Barbara Porter, Managing Director, Ernest & Young.

“Agents want to serve people, but existing industry metrics measure only a fraction of an agent’s overall performance. Both employee and company invest in metrics, processes, and technology to achieve the critical business results needed to serve consumers. Let’s work together to serve the cause,” she said.

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