Exploding the call centre myth

Contrary to popular belief, most call centres in Canada are not big, are not open 24 hours a day and are not staffed by females, according to the Contact Professional Association (CPA). In its third annual Canadian Call Centre survey, the association found that:Most call centres are not big. Many banks, credit card and telephone companies have big Customer Service operations, sometimes numbering thousands of staff. However, the median staff size of call centres in Canada is only 44 full-time employees. Furthermore, Human Resources Development Canada reports that the call centre industry employs 1 in every 25 working Canadians and that 89 per cent of call centres in Canada have fewer than 50 employees.
Call centres are not open 24 hours a day. Only 25 per cent of call centres stay open 24-by-seven. The average open time for others was 12 hours a day from Monday to Friday, and three hours per day on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
Everyone is not outsourcing, and everyone is not outsourcing to India. The vast majority (71%) of call centres in Canada do not outsource customer service calls at all. Ten per cent route overflow/weekend calls to another Call Centre within their organization, and the other 19% outsource to third-party providers. Of that 19%, 73% outsource within Canada, and only 26% (that’s less than 5% of the total respondents) outsource outside of Canada, to India, the USA, Ireland, England and the Philippines.
Most call centre workers are not female and most are not first-time jobholders. It’s true: approximately 65% of employees in call centres are female- that is until you hit what appears to be the glass ceiling. Men hold more than half of the top jobs including directors and managers. In Canada, 47 per cent of customer service representatives (CSRs) are between the ages of 25 and 34, and many have college degrees, dispelling the myth that young people who can’t find ‘good’ jobs elsewhere are the main group who seek jobs in call centres.
Some perceptions however are true including the belief union activity is on the rise. 19% of call centres surveyed are union shops, and unionization rates have risen 54% annually over the past three years. In addition, staff turnover, often more than 20% per year, is also still an industry issue.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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