For far too long there have been rules and targets in the customer service industry based only on gut feelings and an “everyone else says it, so it must be true” attitude. No more.

Myth 1 – Female vs. Male and Young vs. Old Advisors impact on CSAT.

We are diving headfirst into one of the most sensitive subjects; gender stereotypes. Males being portrayed as the solution oriented, straight forward doer, while the empathetic females are more understanding and caring. Based on over 50,000 customer satisfaction surveys, we have broken down the scores by gender and then taken a look at these two questions in the survey:

  • How would you rate our advisor on communicating in a positive and caring way? (Empathy)
  • How would you rate our advisor on being knowledgeable? (Knowledge)

The findings suggest that females do receive slightly higher scores both for their soft and hard skills; however the difference is very marginal. It is worth taking into account the psychosocial effect of rating an actual person you just spoke to as well. We are slightly biased towards giving women positive feedback in general.

Nor did we find any real difference between age groups and customers’ empathy and knowledge scores.

Busted Myth Number 1:
Customer service experience is NOT affected by age or gender!

Myth 2 – Offshoring is a lot cheaper – but quality is lacking

Because of far too common prejudices about offshore call centres, it is proving to be a challenging task carrying out a truly unbiased comparison of customer satisfaction scores. Many customers will provide a lower score because they dislike the accent regardless of how helpful the agent is.

For example when comparing calls handled in South Africa versus Wales, the evidence is that actual first call resolution is higher in South Africa and customer effort is the same, but nevertheless customers scored perceived knowledge lower with the offshore operation than the Welsh one.

What if we instead looked at emails handled where accents won’t affect the results?

Based on 20,000 surveys from 2013 the results show a much smaller difference between UK and India than public perception.

Busted Myth Number 2:

Off-shore operations do NOT deliver significantly worse quality than on-shore!

Myth 3 – Speed of answer is the top driver of customer satisfaction and NPS.

Unbelievably, answering 80% of calls in 20 seconds is still THE key target in the contact centre. When we looked at half a million customer satisfaction surveys, speed of answer did have an impact on C-SAT but customers very dissatisfied with how long it took to talk to an advisor still went on to score an average overall satisfaction. Customers very dissatisfied with advisor engagement and knowledge however, went on to score both C-SAT and NPS at rock bottom levels.

Graph shows how customers scored three different metrics and their subsequent scoring of overall satisfaction.

Busted Myth Number 3:

Speed of answer is NOT the most important C-SAT and NPS driver!

Myth number 4 – Online channels are becoming more important than the phone and email.

There is a significant discrepancy in what focus social media is getting right now, versus an old channel such as email. Yet the reality is that an average UK contact centre handles 19.2% email and 80.8% calls; i.e. an average operation handles around 200,000 emails per year. The number of social media contacts directed at companies are however so small that they don’t even warrant assigning a single FTE. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t monitor it though, vented dissatisfaction online is like word of mouth on steroids.

In many cases, the target for responding to an email is 18 hours, an increasingly unacceptable response time to consumers. And why do companies think it’s a good enough target when at the same time trying to handle calls in 20 seconds?

The death of email has been greatly exaggerated. It is still very much alive, both in contact centres and as a communication channel overall.

Busted Myth Number 4:
Online channels are NOT becoming more important than the phone and email!

Bright UK Ltd, October 2013
All rights reserved.

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Is a series of short, to the point insights on the most common challenges in customer management. Bright base these insights on their over 100 benchmarking reviews and millions of customer surveys carried out for clients every year. More info here: