Study from Forte Consultancy Group conducted in coordination with Marmara University finds consumers have significant differences in their preferences when it comes to call center agents, preferences shaped heavily by individual demographic characteristics.
Online PR News – 09-August-2010 – – Forte Consultancy Group, a leading management consultancy in the MENA region, today announced the results of a recent study it conducted around call center agent preferences. The study, conducted in coordination with Marmara University and with over 300 consumers in Turkey, found that individuals differ significantly with each other in terms of who it is they would prefer to converse with when it comes to interacting with company call center agents.
“We basically had a gut feeling that consumers have different preferences around this type of interaction, be it the gender of the call center agent they speak with, his or her tone of voice, accent, or even age” said Forte’s General Manager Ali Pirinccioglu. “Our analysis proved us right, in more ways than we could have imagined.”
The study examined different consumers’ preferences when it comes to their interactions with call center agents, specifically looking at characteristic demographics such as language style, level of flexibility, voice tone and pitch, assertiveness, seriousness, age, and gender, among others.
By asking respondents to indicate their preferences around each of these characteristics (for example, around the characteristic of liveliness, preferring a very energetic, relaxed, or balanced call center agent), the study was unable to uncover that consumers have strongly different preferences based on their own demographic characteristics.
Some of the findings that stand out:
More than twice as many 31 – 35 year old females vs. males of the same age group prefer that the call center conversation be conducted using a formal language style
Nearly half of married 31 – 35 year old respondents prefer interacting with a serious (in manner) call center agent vs. less than two out of ten single respondents of the same age group
Almost twice as many single 31 – 35 year old respondents prefer the agent be very flexible vs. married respondents of the same age group
Female respondents prefer call centers agents they interact with have a charismatic tone of voice on nearly a 2 to 1 ratio vs. male respondents
Single respondents prefer call centers agents they interact with have a charismatic tone on nearly a 2 to 1 ratio vs. married respondents
A significantly higher percentage of single respondents prefer to interact with call center agents in the 25 – 35 year old age group vs. married respondents
As the education level by the respondent increases, so too does the respondent’s preference for the call center agent they interact with being serious and flexible during the conversation
In a similar manner, as the education level of the respondent increases, so too does the respondent’s preference for the call center agent to be of superior intellectual capacity
The study findings suggest that companies should consider the way calls are routed or leads distributed based not just on customer value or contact reason, but customer demographic as well.
“While many companies with inbound or outbound call centers do match up the agent to the prospect or customer based on the needed skill-set to maximize the success of the interaction, none that we know of have done a demographic characteristics matching,” said Mr. Pirinccioglu. He added “What this study means for companies that place importance in utilizing call centers for sales or service purposes is significant – there stands a tremendous opportunity to improve the results around such activities by matching the right customer / potential customer to the right call center agent.”
Companies would need to examine their own agents, though, to understand which customer demographic characteristic groups they excel at serving or selling to, which can be done through analyzing the past performance of any given agent. “By looking at a given agent’s success at selling to different customers through examining his or her past performance, the specific characteristic demographics he or she can best succeed at selling to can be identified,” said Mr. Pirinccioglu.
While the concept may sound difficult to bring to life, Mr. Pirinccioglu added, newer call center technologies have made such rules-based routing easier than ever before, allowing a company to route a given customer’s call in a specific manner and order (such that if one agent is busy, then the call is routed to the next-best alternative agent, and so on). “And, benefits can be realized from just manually distributing leads to the agent who can most effectively sell to a given customer, based on their demographics characteristics match.”
The findings support Forte Consultancy Group’s belief that such matchmaking in call centers will be a trend of the future, proliferating in usage across sectors that place a high level of importance on them for interacting with their client base.
About Forte Consultancy Group
Forte Consultancy Group is a management consultancy in the MENA region that works with leading companies in numerous sectors, including retail, consumer goods, telecommunications, banking, technology, media, and non-profit / NGOs, among others. The company focuses in on using business intelligence to help firms make better decisions around their sales and marketing practices. For more information, please visit www.forteconsultancy.com.