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Call Centers Called Into Question

1:40 PM -- If you grouse about hitting customer contact centers outside your region of residence, here's an eye-opener. A recent study shows that centers worldwide lack security and disaster recovery -- but those in North America are the least secure and the slowest in the world.

For its 2006 Merchants Global Contact Center Report, IT integrator and consultancy Dimension Data Holdings plc (London: DDT) says it studied 369 contact centers worldwide and found the following:

  • Just 29 percent of North American contact centers have tested disaster recovery plans. This compares with 49 percent of call centers in Africa/Middle East that have such plans, 45 percent in Asia/Pacific, and 31 percent in Europe.
  • Approximately 50 percent of contact centers in Africa/Middle East and Asia/Pacific authenticate customers on some or all calls, compared to only 37 percent in North America and 39 percent in Europe.
  • Incoming calls are answered within an average of 19 seconds in Africa/Middle East, in Europe/UK at about 22 seconds, Asia/Pacific 28 seconds, and North America 32 seconds.

Dimension Data says these results are preliminary. But they're thought-provoking. First, it doesn't look as if half of any information given to call centers is either secure or disaster-proof. Second, just because a center's physically located "close to home" doesn't make it more secure. Indeed, it could be a case of the farther the better.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch