Are Contact Centers Killing Customer Engagement?

January 4, 2018

Ever dreaded reaching out to a contact center (aka call center), even if you really needed their help? We’ve been there too and have often ended up waiting for a support rep to answer our call for several minutes. But the predicament doesn’t end there.

When someone finally answers, you’re neither greeted warmly nor given a solution to the problem. Not to forget, being transferred from one rep to another before you hang up in despair. 

Yes, this week we’re talking about the contact centers that most businesses have set up in the name of offering 24/7 customer support.

The current state of contact centers


‘All agents are busy. Please hold the line while we connect you with our representative.’

80% of the times, we are waiting on line to finally talk to a human. But it always ends up with having heard the above line innumerable times and cursing the business for not being customer-centric. Contact Center (s) say they’re available 24/7 and aren’t even able to make it in the first few hours of the day.

Very disappointing!

The other 20% have either faced shifting of a ticket from one rep to another or being asked the same question time and again. So in the end, you actually still end up spending hours on this call without an outcome that is in your favor.

For example, I placed an order with an online store 2 weeks back. Now when I was placing the order, I was told I would be receiving it within 3 working days. But 2 weeks down the line, I still haven’t figured where my order is!

So with the obvious concern over a prepaid order, I contacted them on the number given. I was first put on an endless hold of 5 minutes where ‘every agent was busy’. From then on, the call kept getting transferred from one agent to another, as ‘the concerned team will help you find your order’.

While I understand there are different departments to handle different concerns, I was asked for my name, my number, my order ID and what my concern was, at least 5 times in a span of 35 minutes.

At the end of the call from the contact center, I was just told that the order will take time and there was no way to even cancel it. Simply put, I’m not purchasing from this store again for ruining my shopping experience.

This is against everything that customer “support” exemplifies. A contact center is meant to solve our problems in minutes of the call and not make us hate the brand altogether.

So what went wrong here?

  • The age-old use of IVR (Interactive Voice Response System). The technology is used by businesses to route, sort, respond and manage customer queries. The reps in the contact center simply follow through a set of laid down steps, asking questions in a monotonous tone. While the system was initially created to solve the customer’s problem instantly and even predict their concerns in a timely manner, it ends up not serving any of this purpose.
  • The lack of customer conversation records and personalization. You’re greeted with a plain and mechanized “hello” before being bombarded by the series of questions you’ve answered a number of times before. There is no warmth whatsoever and ruins the experience for the customer on the whole (one of the biggest backdrop of a contact center).

Outcomes of a poorly thought through contact center

contact center


  1. Low customer engagement

Lack of conversation records with the customer, and asking the same questions again and again only adds insult to injury. It leads to the customer thinking that you do not care about them and makes the whole process of reaching out to the contact center dreadful.  This leads to lesser direct engagement with your brand and them looking for better options online.

  1. Customer dissatisfaction

When a customer is dissatisfied, it takes a different level of undertaking to please them back. There is much lesser engagement from their side, which leaves little room for understanding their needs.

This leads to a higher customer dissatisfaction, as your product becomes less and less of what they need.

  1. High customer churn

82% of customers leave a business because of a bad customer service experience. That’s much more than half of your sales walking out on you; resulting in a loss of the resources you spent to acquire these customers.

  1. Loss of brand image

95% of dissatisfied customers tell others about their bad experience. This includes sharing posts about it on social media to let their circle know, complaining about social platforms and in general, discouraging people to interact with your business.


Is cloud communication the future of contact center?

Cloud technology has been changing the way we interact with day to day processes. Let’s take a look at how it impacts the business-customer relationship.



For customers

  • No more endless waits -The customer is connected to the appropriate customer service rep based on their concern, through multiple IVRs. In case all the reps are busy, the customer can record and submit their query for a rep to reach out to them later.
  • No more silly questions – With cloud telephony, you can record all the interaction between a rep and a customer. This way the customer doesn’t need to start from scratch every time he reaches out to the brand with a query, resulting in lesser silly questions.
  • Instant gratification – The agents have a record of your last interaction and are able to predict possible future concerns. This leads them to find the right solutions for you, in a timely manner.
  • Privacy maintained – One of the key offerings of cloud telephony – number anonymization, keeps the contact information of the customer private.

For companies

  • No capex, only opex – Businesses will not need to invest in taking up space and the technology for an in-house team to offer support to their customers. The only costs they will need to incur are operational, optimizing their business expenses.
  • No on-premise solution – A valuable advantage of cloud telephony is the sparing use of office space, since the software is deployed on the cloud, and not on servers. This further brings down the costs a business needs to invest in real estate.
  • Better reporting and agent tracking – Since all the interaction with customers is recorded, cloud telephony makes for an invaluable quality monitoring and training tool. From the number of calls missed, attended, session length and more, it enables you to identify the roadblocks to offering a great customer experience.
  • Ready optimization – Based on the reports, you can quickly change the calls flows and setups to improve the customer experience (something which is barely possible with a contact center).
  • Track marketing ROIs – You can use the reports to understand how effective your marketing and sales campaigns are in converting your target market into customers.



Just like your marketing strategy, it is time to overhaul your contact center too. If you’re still using the age-old technology to offer support, you’re already losing out on half the customer conversations you can have.

Lesser conversations and lesser engagement only lead to a bad brand name and a churn of customers that you can’t recover.

Do you still have a contact center that is killing customer engagement?

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