First Broad-Based Survey of Attitudes Toward Call Center Issues Spotlights Dissatisfaction and Privacy Concerns

CMP Media's Managing Offshore and Call Center Magazine Publish Groundbreaking Study on Corporate and Consumer Use of Onshore and Offshore Call Centers

Sep 7, 2004

CMP Media's Managing Offshore and Call Center Magazine today announced groundbreaking results from a study on the corporate and consumer use of call centers. The study spotlights the dissatisfaction and privacy concerns shared by both business and consumers who telephone call centers in onshore and offshore locations. Managing Offshore editor, Rusty Weston, and Call Center Magazine editorial director, Keith Dawson, collaborated on the project, which yielded in-depth reports for each publication.

"Call centers are at a low point in terms of public and media perception," said Rusty Weston, founding editor of Managing Offshore. "Between Do Not Call registration and the controversy generated by offshoring, call centers have attracted a tremendous amount of negative attention. This study highlights that both business and consumer customers are dissatisfied with and wary of offshore call centers."

"Teaming up with Managing Offshore to produce this report was a natural fit," added Keith Dawson, editorial director, Call Center Magazine. "We were each able to bring our expertise to the project and deliver our readers with the 'real' details about offshoring and onshoring directly from businesses and consumers."

Study Respondents

The Web-based study included more than 500 interviews in June and July 2004 on the use of call centers for personal and business purposes. Corporate and business call and contact center users, corporate call and contact center managers and workers, and outsourcers who run call centers in the U.S. and overseas were queried.

Respondents of the study represent a well-balanced selection of IT, corporate, and call-center workers and consultants were classified as corporate workers. IT staff and management make up 35% of the respondents, corporate staff and management combined with consultants equal 37% and call and contact center staff and management equaled 28%. Overall, 40% of respondents were consumers who primarily use call centers for personal reasons. One in four respondents use call centers primarily for business purposes, another one in four works for a corporate call or contact center, including help desks, either in a staff or management position, and 10% work for a service provider that runs call centers or help desk. There were no restrictions placed on the location of the call and contact centers.

  Onshore and Offshore Call Center Study Results
  Call Center Interactions
    * A high number of respondents report at least some degree of
      satisfaction with their interactions.
    * Strong opinions exist about preferring to deal with an onshore or
      offshore call center. Consumers were evenly split in their depth of
      interest in the location of a call center. Thirty six percent say
      it's highly important to them where the center they call is located,
      while 32% say it's not very important. Another 32% say that location
      is 'somewhat important'.  Sixty percent of consumers sometimes or
      always ask the agent where the center is located.
    * Callers and call center operators are far apart in their view of
      customer satisfaction. Both call center workers and their colleagues
      at outsourcing firms have a high opinion of how well they are doing
      in the eyes of their customers- outsourcers say that 65% of customers
      are highly satisfied. The customers themselves say they are highly
      satisfied only 22% of the time.
    * Nearly two-thirds of both groups of respondents reported that it is
      difficult to understand an agent's accent.
    * Staff is 'poorly trained,' agents 'misunderstood my accent or
      English', and agents 'were unable to resolve my problem': all of
      those options scored at least 40% from both groups.

  Data At Risk
    * Three-quarters of business customers say it is somewhat or very risky
     to exchange data with a call center, regardless of where that center
     is located, while a majority reported there is a higher risk of their
     business data being compromised when it is handled by an offshore
    * Most call centers have taken some concrete steps to assure data
     security and customer privacy, even if that is not completely
     communicated to their customer bases.
    * Customers are less likely to come away from an email, Web, or other
     'alternate' interaction with better feelings than from a telephone
     call, however, customers prefer the phone to any other mode of
    * Three out of four business customers contend that it is risky to
     exchange business data with a call center. But three out of five of
     these business customers also believe that their business data is at a
     higher risk of being compromised when it is handled by an offshore
     center. Another two in five say the risk is the same onshore or
    * One in five business customers say that they have experienced a
     security or privacy concern on the phone with an offshore center.
    * Only 4% of corporate call center employees responded say that their
     organization is ISO 17799 certified.  Nearly nine in 10 of these firms
     have firewalls in place.
    * Fewer than 40% of the corporate call center sites-onshore and
     offshore-engage in practices such as auditing changes to customer
     records, establishing a compliance/privacy officer or conducting
     customer-privacy audits/assessments.

For additional information on Managing Offshore, visit and Call Center Magazine, visit

About CMP's TechWeb Network

CMP Media's TechWeb ( is the network for Business Technology professionals with purchasing power. With up-to-the-minute IT- related news and information, TechWeb continues assisting business technology professionals make timely, well-informed buying decisions. CMP's news and information is created and managed by a team of experienced and talented journalists that know the IT industry inside and out. TechWeb debuted in 1994 as the first online news source for IT news and information on the Web.

About CMP's Managing Offshore

CMP Media's Managing Offshore ( is a monthly newsletter for global-sourcing managers. Subscriptions to Managing Offshore include 12 monthly issues plus unlimited access to a library of previous issues, articles in HTML format, and bonus downloads such as exclusive research reports. Managing Offshore also produces the exclusive Managing Offshore Index, an interactive stock listing of 20 of the most influential providers of offshore services

About Call Center Magazine

Call Center Magazine ( is the only magazine dedicated to providing in-depth and unbiased product and strategic information that the powerful executives responsible for improving customer relations and retention through contact centers rely upon to make purchasing decisions on the hardware, software and services critical to their success. This respected editorial attracts the largest number of readers in the call center, customer care and customer interaction market.

About CMP Media LLC

CMP Media LLC ( is a leading integrated media company providing essential information and marketing services to the entire technology spectrum-the builders, sellers and users of technology worldwide. Capitalizing on its editorial strength, CMP is uniquely positioned to offer marketers comprehensive, integrated media solutions tailored to meet their individual needs. Its diverse products and services include newspapers, magazines, Internet products, research, direct marketing services, education and training, trade shows and conferences, and custom publishing.

   Michael Grover                    Marci Silverman
   CMP Media's TechWeb Network       Call Center Magazine
   781.839.1213                      212.600.3326         


CONTACT: Michael Grover of CMP Media's TechWeb Network, +1-781-839-1213,; or Marci Silverman of Call Center Magazine, +1-212-600-3326,

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