CFI Group surveyed over 900 call centre customers in six specific industries and discovered that, across all industries measured, almost a fifth of all callers hang up with their issue unresolved.
Call centres representing PC firms scored only 64 out of 100 in CFI Group's Call Centre Satisfaction Index (PDF).
Of those customers who did not have their issue resolved, 68 per cent were at risk of defection. Some 43 per cent indicated that they would 'definitely defect', and 25 per cent were not sure.
The two issues having the most impact on customer satisfaction with the contact centre were call resolution and offshoring.
CFI Group surveyed call centre customers using the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which rates each industry on a 100-point scale. The results were as follows:
- Catalogue Call Centres: 80
- Banking Call Centres: 77
- Cell Phone Service Call Centres: 69
- Cable and Satellite Television Call Centres: 68
- Insurance Call Centres: 68
- Personal Computer Call Centres: 64
"Too many companies treat call centres as cost centres rather than seeing them as an opportunity to solidify the customer relationship," said Sheri Teodoru, programme director at CFI Group and author of the study.
"Based on this research, any company that is not making sure that the call centre is delivering customer satisfaction rather than frustration is taking a huge risk with its customer asset."
The study also found that US customers who believe that the contact centre is located outside the US rate their satisfaction 26 per cent lower, and are almost twice as likely to defect than those who assume the call centre is in the US.
"Offshoring has a negative impact on satisfaction because offshore customer service reps are less adept at solving customer problems," said Teodoru.
"Customer service reps located outside the US are rated lower on communication skills. When communication skills are poor, customer issues remain unsolved in the majority of cases."