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In the booming age of technology, should call centres in the UK fear being phased out by robots and artificial intelligence? Analysts say the answer is not just yet, but there may be another competitor on the rise which UK call centres are ceding to: call centres overseas.

Forbes Magazine says, “As long as people use phones to communicate, brands will need to connect with their customers through phones. Much of it boils down to human interaction. Customers tend to trust people more than they trust machines. Many people still feel there’s something to be said for talking to a person who can understand a situation, especially the emotion involved. 74% of people contact customer service call centres via phone, more than they use any other channel. To many people, it’s even worth waiting on hold or navigating through a phone tree to speak to a human.”

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Because of this need for human connection, it’s doubtful that robots will be replacing humans completely when it comes to the contact centre business. But what about overseas workers? They work twice as hard for a fraction of the pay, and are often culturally groomed to be polite and accommodating, patient and customer service oriented. Empathy is a highly important quality when it comes to call centre workers.

Forbes further emphasizes, “The contact centre is often the emotional component of a brand. The customer journey doesn’t end after customers have made a purchase. The contact centre is there to provide real-time voice communication to solve problems. Finding a solution or venting to a real person is much more emotional and cathartic than doing it online or to a bot.”

Survey results published in the Telegraph that name the UK’s worst call centres say customers are most frustrated with poor staff knowledge, long phone tree menus, and lengthy waiting times. Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? (the company that polled over 7,000 customers in the survey) says, “ Unfortunately, poor customer service from contact centres has become a 21st century bug-bear for too many people. Customers should vote with their feet if they’re tired of waiting or fed up with the service they get.”

But it’s doubtful customers are willing to go the old-fashioned route and walk into a facility just to get face-to-face customer service. With busy schedules, and expectations for convenience of customer contact centre service from the comfort of home, people would rather pick up the phone and talk to a person, no matter how terrible the service. But if the service is bad enough, they just might walk away without a word, changing to a different service provider altogether.

PITON-Global, an award-winning contact centre service provider in Manila, says this is why they encourage companies in the UK who need call centre outsourcing to look to companies like theirs, whose overseas staff is trained to mitigate such customer frustrations, because when it comes to customer satisfaction, quality call centre service is priceless – and companies like theirs recognize what’s needed to provide it. While UK call centre jobs may not disappear because of technology, they are surely slowly losing the battle to the younger generation of overseas workers – determined to make a life catering to customer’s needs on the other end of the line.

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