future thinkers update

India’s perception gap

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Media-inspired ‘background noise’ unfairly influences perceptions of Indian call centres  
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Indian call centres’ image unfairly tarnished

UK customers believe Indian call centres are not as good as they actually are.

This graph is based on ratings for the same calls and yet the Indian agents were judged 8% worse.

We took the recordings of six actual calls to a UK call centre and replaced the English voice with an Indian answering the query in exactly the same way, speaking exactly the same words. Then we took six calls to an Indian call centre and replaced the Indian operator’s voice with an English one. Again, they answered the questions in exactly the same way and the call ended with the same outcome. This gave us two recordings of each call.

UK customers were asked to score each call and, on average, they thought that the calls with the Indian’s voice were not as well handled – despite them being exactly the same call.

We did this same exercise two years ago and the perception gap between the actual and assumed effectiveness of Indian call centres has increased.

This means that Indian agents actually handle calls better than customer satisfaction scores suggest. Many British organisations that outsource their call centres to India or other offshore locations mistakenly believe they can manage away this perception gap while, in reality, all they can hope to do is reduce it. They must decide whether the financial savings associated with basing call centres offshore are outweighed by the “cost” of lower customer perception.

For more information on the issues raised in this update, please email outi.dorsen@intersperience.com

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