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This week’s number is from a conversation I had with Ultracomm‘s Bev Hughes, yesterday.

Their speech analytics exercise for a massive leisure and travel brand demonstrated that 46% of its conversations with customers were comprised of silence or ‘dead air’.

Irrespective of the underlying reasons – which are no doubt busily being investigated – that indicates an awful customer experience. And without the new, machine learning technology-driven abilities to undertake ‘free form’ analysis of speech, text and dialogue patterns – what we’re calling Speech Analytics 2.0 – the client may never have even realised…


When rational call routing becomes a negative customer experience.

One of many fascinating findings in Ultracomm’s “It’s Still Good to Talk” research is this: 34% of callers to UK contact centres face more than one set of options to navigate – which must directly contribute to the 7% of callers who gave up on their call.
Technologies like IVRs which allow contact centres to better understand the nature of the calls they are receiving and/or route them to the right agents can be very useful, but anything that stands between a consumer and the person they want to talk to should be treated with great caution. “Press or say 1 for this and 2 for that…” can cause customers’ hearts to sink and the 7% who subsequently give up trying to speak to your people are unlikely to stick with you much longer

April’s Regulation & Compliance Update from the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

Each month Channel Doctors’ Steve Sullivan prepares a summary of all the news contact centre and customer experience professionals need on regulation and compliance for the Direct Marketing Association (www.dma.org.uk)’s Contact Centre Council.

April’s headlines include:

Bounty fined £400k for pre-GDPR data protection abuses
Pensions firm fined £40k despite getting advice from specialist consultants and lawyers
Funeral plan firm fined for calling TPS numbers
Data cleanse leaves TPS file numbers 4m down vs 2018

Download the Update here:


47% increase in remote or card not present fraud – that is, when a criminal uses stolen card details to buy something on the internet, over the phone or through mail order – is a startling statistic in UK Finance’s ‘Fraud: The Facts 2019’ report.

A stark reminder of the financial losses that can be experienced through self-service and contact centre channels, as well as the practical need for organisations ensure they’re PCI DSS compliant, especially in light of the PCI’s revised guidance on taking phone payments.

11 clicks to complain

British Airways is presumably very keen to get feedback from its customers. It’s had a rather torrid couple of years, so needs to maintain its customer engagement. So it’s really disappointing to discover that – once you’ve navigated your way through various opaque website options to understand what to do – that it takes 11 clicks to be able to start to lodge a complaint.
BA customers aren’t short of other airlines they can take their business to; avoiding those customers’ feedback is a hiding to nothing.


The average length of a UK customer service call has gone from 3 mins 55 seconds in 2003 to 5 mins 12 seconds in 2018, an increase of 33%.
As most organisations can testify, increased self-service means that when a customer does seek out person-to-person help their query is likely to be complex and require skilled support.
Even when you’re sure about something, it can be great to get some statistically valid confirmation. This research finding comes from ContactBabel‘s Steve Morrell
See his 5 minute video here


48% of employees have left a job because the reality didn’t match how it was communicated to them in the recruitment process. That’s the fascinating and disappointing statistic I learned from Thrive Map at Call & Contact Centre Expo, this week.

Contact centre roles are – unavoidably – those in which the to day-to-day demands and realities are most difficult to change. So, in parallel with looking to improve the employee experience, being honest about the realities of the job you’re recruiting for is vital.

March’s Regulation & Compliance Update from the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

Each month Channel Doctors’ Steve Sullivan prepares a summary of all the news contact centre and customer experience professionals need on regulation and compliance for the Direct Marketing Association (www.dma.org.uk)’s Contact Centre Council.

March’s headlines include:

  • Two ‘dawn raids’ of contact centres by the ICO
  • Fundraising Regulator doubles down on ‘naming & shaming’ of charities
  • The first ICO ‘GDPR’ fines may be a while away
  • Vote Leave fined £40k for sending illegal texts
  • PPI ‘robo-call’ company director banned
  • All about the Direct Marketing Commission

Download here: DMA CC Council – Compliance Regulation Hub Update March 2019_compressed


Lots of commentators are speculating as to when the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office will issue its first ‘post-GDPR’ monetary penalties, but pity the ICO’s Irish equivalent the Data Protection Commission (DPC).
Under the GDPR ‘one stop shop’ rules the Irish DPC is the lead regulator responsible for handling data privacy concerns and complaints raised by citizens in other EU countries about multinationals whose European base is in Ireland. The list of high-profile US technology firms based in Ireland with massive user reach and data influence includes Facebook & WhatsApp, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Oath and Match Group (owner of Tinder and other dating sites). The DPC received 136 complaints about organisations like them in the period from ‘GDPR Day’ in May 2018 until the end of the year.
It now has the unenviable task of investigating these complaints and adjudicating on the behaviour of some massive corporations, making decisions which will have significant impacts on the big platforms, their customers and digital marketing – all in the knowledge that the Irish state isn’t even collecting much tax revenues for its labours…

85% vs 34%

Back in the real world… I came across some Kura Inisoft research the other day which serves of a reminder that despite all the great work many people have done to improve contact centre employee engagement, there can still be a massive gap between the perceptions of managers and their front-line teams:
85% of contact centre ‘leaders’ believed agent morale to be good or very good, while 34% of agents deemed it poor and 52% stated it was simply okay

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