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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Scots reveal call centre hang-ups
Call centre worker
Most Scots found call centres a annoying problem
The majority of Scottish people find call centres annoying for one reason or another, according to a new report.

Citizens Advice Scotland said that for too many people they were a barrier to communication.

Its survey found over the past year 75% of Scots had used call centres but 97% found at least one part unsatisfactory.

Being left on hold too long was the most common complaint but complicated automated options also riled more than a third of users.

Worst offenders

Utility companies were the worst offenders followed by financial institutions.

Citizens Advice Scotland said that although call centres could offer significant benefits, companies should make sure their systems are "user-proof".

Call centres can offer significant benefits if consumers can deal with matters on the phone at a time that suits them
Kaliani Lyle
Citizens Advice Scotland

The findings are being released as part of the body's annual service awareness week in a report called Hanging On the Telephone.

It showed call centres did not work well for people trying to resolve complex problems, those who do not have easy telephone access and those who have learning disabilities or who do not speak English.

The key findings for Scotland include:

  • Utility companies were the worst offenders with 41% of Scots claiming they were dissatisfied when ringing telephone, gas, water and power firms.

  • 27% said they were dissatisfied with the call centres of government agencies.

  • 36% said financial institutions like banks and insurance firms were a problem.

  • 52% said being left on hold for too long was the main complaint.

Kaliani Lyle, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: "Call centres can offer significant benefits if consumers can deal with matters on the phone at a time that suits them.

"But this report shows that, for too many people, they are still a barrier to communication and the effective resolution of queries or concerns.

"People on low incomes especially need problems concerning money, debts and benefits dealt with quickly and efficiently."

The report urged all call centre providers to "user-proof" their operations, undertaking regular audits of accessibility, user friendliness and performance from the perspective of the caller.


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