Myth-busting: The truth about call centre misconceptions

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Published byIRIS Team

After many years in the contact centre world, our SVP of Global Sales, Neil Titcomb has come across his fair share of industry myths. From misconceptions around agent productivity to believing that robots will replace all call centre staff, he’s heard them all and is now on a myth-busting mission to shed some light on these untruths.

Myth #1: Customers prefer to handle queries and troubleshoot via chat, email, or other asynchronous methods


Although these platforms are useful when it comes to communicating with brands, voice remains the preferred channel for resolving customer service queries, especially when the issue is very important.

In fact, recent research IRIS conducted for our recent whitepaper revealed that 54% of consumers said they only use calls for critical issues — making voice a premium that is demonstrably failing to deliver.

Further demonstrating this, a recent CCMA study entitled ‘Voice of the Contact Centre Consumer 2022’ revealed that 48% of consumers would use the phone to report fraud, compared to just 11% to check their bank balance.

Plus, a lot of customers actually prefer authentic human interactions when it comes to customer service. While online channels are useful, communicating by voice is often more effective than typing messages back and forth. It offers genuine and empathetic interactions that tend to be diluted by written text. This makes audio a premium that cannot be overlooked. Yet so many call centres don’t have the means in place to support both agents and customers to have better conversations.

That’s why at IRIS, we are committed to changing the ways in which audio is prioritised in call centres. The benefits of voice isolation are clear, and yet they are so often overlooked.

Myth #2: Call centres now value longer time-to-resolution because it means the quality of calls is better, and the contact with the customer is more human


Although this is a widely held belief in the industry right now, the reality is that most customers want their question or query answered as quickly as possible. If it's an urgent question or complaint, they’ll contact the call centre via the phone, the most real-time channel available.

That said, there are some exceptions. For example, older demographics have more time and will accept longer wait and call times even for basic queries. So, one size does not fit all.

Ultimately, time is money for both agents and customers. As such, reducing time to resolution remains the most important KPI for call centres, and will be for a long time to come.

Myth #3: Remote working has cut down background noise for call centre agents


Working from home has actually introduced more background noises than at a call centre. From pets and children to household appliances and street traffic, home environments are rarely fit-for-purpose. 

Our whitepaper research revealed that background noise around agents (37%) and background noise around customers (27%) were among the top three challenges for agents working from home. In addition, many agents don’t have the luxury of suitable workstations, often sharing their space with multi-generational families. Not only does this increase the level of background noise at any given time, it also raises issues around privacy.

The customer is traditionally never in a convenient location either. The majority (59%) of consumers have hung up a call because they felt they were in an inconvenient location due to background noise. 

It’s clear that background noise is not just an ‘at work’ problem, but also an ‘at home’ problem. That’s why we are on a mission to remove unwanted background noise, no matter where you — or your customers — are.

Myth #4: Background noise can easily be tuned out. It doesn’t affect agents’ ability to perform


For many, the fuss around background noise may come across as a bit futile and merely an excuse for a lack of performance. Especially for those of us living in large urban areas, background noise is just par for the course, right?

Wrong. Background noise is proven to have a negative impact on both physical and mental health — IRIS COO Tom Darnell wrote a great piece about this for BusinessCloud. For call centre advisors who spend all day surrounded by it, it’s even worse, exacerbating employee churn in an already highly-affected industry (the average turnover rate for call centres is 30-45%).

Our whitepaper research revealed that more than two-thirds (69%) of advisors feel that noise has a negative effect on their mental health and wellbeing. In addition, 86% of advisors have had to repeat themselves because the customer couldn’t hear them. This feeds into a sense that employees are hampered in their day-to-day jobs, which affects their motivation, productivity, and business results.  

Put simply, being a call centre advisor is challenging enough without background noise being a contributing factor. Eliminating background noise can be a gamechanger for both staff wellbeing and retention. 

Myth #5: In 2022, consumers are happier with the customer service they are receiving


For a sizeable portion of consumers, it’s actually heading in the opposite direction. A 2022 CCMA research study titledVoice of the Contact Centre Consumerconfirmed that a third of consumers think customer service is getting worse. But it’s an opinion that varies across age groups, increasing the need to ensure all calls are carried out to their highest potential.

And a chief instigator of all this? You guessed it: background noise. Almost half of all customer service calls are abandoned due to contact centre background noise, with a mighty 42% of consumers hanging up immediately when they detect the noise. It’s clear, background noise plays its part in customer service and experience, yet it’s something that doesn’t need to be an issue. 

It’s clear how much of an impact unwanted background noise can have on all aspects of call centre life, from agent well being and performance to customer satisfaction. By removing the problem with voice isolation technology such as IRIS Clarity we are also removing the barriers to success, resulting in better customer service and improved agent wellbeing.

To find out more about how IRIS Clarity can help your call centre, here or contact Neil directly