Stressed call centre managers factor in offshore decisions

The
stress of managing over-qualified staff in UK call centres is a strong factor
in the loss of jobs ‘offshore’, according to new research.

A
study by Intervoice, a provider of voice automation for call centres, shows
nearly all senior UK call centre managers feel under ‘major stress’, with just
4 per cent feeling that stress levels are not a significant issue.

The
desire to escape the headache of agent management is a strong impetus for
offshoring, with high staff turnover cited by 71 per cent as a factor in
offshoring decisions. Absenteeism cited by 70 per cent and declining levels of
customer service by 50 per cent.

According
to Intervoice’s Simon Edwards, part of the problem is the stress of managing
call centre agents who are bored by their work.

“Wage
costs are undoubtedly the initial reasons to relocate jobs, but our research
shows that a catalyst to make the move is management frustration with the
workforce,” he said.

"However,
it looks as if much of this frustration is self-inflicted.”

More
than half of the managers interviewed (56 per cent) believe the work they give
agents is unfulfilling and that the nature of call centre work and the pay
available is unlikely to attract the right quality of candidates (51 per cent).

An
even higher proportion (61 per cent) admit that the tasks they are giving their
agents are too mundane for an educated workforce.

By Quentin Reade

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