London, UK, April 6, 2021 -- The amount of time people spend on the phone to call centre staff has tripled in a year as workers lend an ear to the isolated and bored. CallCare, which operates phone sites across the UK, say their customers are lonely due to lockdown and just want to talk to someone.
It means the average call is now nine minutes compared to three minutes at the start of last year. Spokeswoman Gemma Harding said: "Customer support has become a significant lifeline to millions of people. "We have seen a huge drop-off in people wanting online live chats or emails and instead wanting to speak to our staff. "People just want to have a chat - a lot of the time it's because they are just really lonely at the moment.
"One of our clients has predominantly older clientele who ring up to report an issue - but are instead spending the first five minutes or so talking about grandchildren, telling us how much they are missing them.
"For us it's no longer about following a script - which has been call centre practice for decades - but rather making sure we provide that human interaction.
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"A brief chat can make the world of difference to somebody struggling with isolation." Because the centres are acting as support bubbles for lonely and vulnerable people, bosses are training their staff in adult safeguarding, to help spot when people are in distress and know what to do.
Some centres are also being deployed as frontline services to help the public sector deal with Covid issues.
CallCare, for instance, has just begun handling vaccination bookings for GP surgeries.
Due to a rise in unemployment nationally, the company has been hiring new staff from service backgrounds such as airline cabin crew, retail and hospitality to cope with the demand.
This is proving beneficial to customers who are seeking more empathy. It has also led to a 15 percent increase in salaries due to higher-skilled staff being taken on.
Gemma says previous industry "sweatshop management styles" and high levels of staff turnover are defunct.
Hemesh Halai, who joined CallCare 18 months ago, said: "Customer support centres have been a lifeline for many isolated people.
"To have a lovely chat with somebody who is struggling is really very rewarding."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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