Hold the phone! Factors affecting call centre customer and staff experience, and evaluation of an on-hold intervention to increase customer satisfaction and reduce negative affect.
Malpass, Isaac Charles
The current research examined a number of issues relating to New Zealand call centres. We specifically focused on how the aural conditions that occur during a wait on-hold for telephone service could alter the affect and satisfaction of a caller. Four main studies were carried out. The first was a survey of customer service representatives (CSRs) to examine their opinions about the best and worst parts of their roles, and how they would reduce angry or abusive callers. The second was a trial of a number of different listening conditions, in a fictional call centre scenario, to examine their effects on participant mood and satisfaction. The third study further focussed on the most promising on-hold conditions from Study 2, and examined the effect that speakers of different accents might have on appraisals of the call, and the operator. Finally the fourth main study examined music preference on-hold compared to preference in more social situations. From Study 1 we found that some CSRs suggested altering the on-hold environment to reduce the incidence of angry callers. We also found that, although we did not alter mood significantly in any of our studies, the most promising on-hold listening condition was offering participants a choice of listening options for the effect it had on satisfaction. In Study 2 there was no significant difference in satisfaction between a choice listening group and a group that was put straight through to service. It is our hope that future research may use the promising on-hold listening conditions from the current research, put them in place in an applied setting, and monitor whether there is any evidence of a reduction in turnover or absenteeism in call centre staff. A further finding, that non-native English speakers are generally rated less favourably than native English speakers, and the preferences that undergraduates show for on-hold music are also reported and discussed.
Advisor: Leland, Louis
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: call centre; contact centre; staff; customer; employee; satisfaction; work; affect
Research Type: Thesis