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TMCNet:  Dignity Caring Funeral Services is the UK's Top Call Centre for Customer Service

[November 12, 2012]

Dignity Caring Funeral Services is the UK's Top Call Centre for Customer Service

Nov 12, 2012 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- Dignity Caring Funeral Services achieved the highest overall score in the biggest ever benchmarking exercise for customer service within UK contact centres. The study, part of UBM's 'Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service' programme, shows the continuous raising of the bar by the UK contact centre industry, with the highest level of performances attained in the programmes' 5 year history.


The Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service programme revealed that overall 96% of customers got through to call centres on their first attempt. An impressive 96% of callers felt that their enquiry was completely resolved. And the number of calls put on hold fell by half from 2009 to just 9% this year with only 3% of all calls being transferred. Furthermore, 73% of callers to the programmes' top ten performers said that the call enhanced their perception of the brand.

As part of the initiative to identify the best performers and to improve the perception of contact centres amongst the general public, research company GfK made tens of thousands of mystery shopping enquiries to more than fifty of the UK's leading contact centres, across nine sectors - Retail, E-retail, Travel Services, Insurance/Financial Services, Banking/Credit Cards, Telecoms & Media, Utilities, Service Providers and Public Services. The Top 10 performing centres for 2012 are listed below, along with their scores.

The UK's Top Ten Call Centres for Customer Service 1 Dignity Caring Funeral Services 95.60% 2 Charles Tyrwhitt 95.31% 3 DPD 94.68% 4 The White Company 94.38% 5 heateam 93.69% 6 Royal Mail Door-to-Door 92.93% 7 Charities Aid Foundation 92.87% 8 Nationwide 92.86% 9 General Medical Council 92.45% 10 ASDA 92.42% Overall Top 50 scores This is the first time Dignity Caring Funeral Services has topped the list with an impressive 95.6% including coming first in best combined call and email, nudging ahead of Charles Tyrwhitt, DPD and The White Company.

"To win 1st place in four categories, including the Best Contact Centre for Calls & Emails - particularly when competing against some of the UK's most recognised brands - has been a cause of great pride for us. Being part of the Top 50 has inspired and motivated every member of staff to demonstrate their personal commitment to customer service. We believed that we should be the best contact centre in the Top 50 and we have worked tirelessly to achieve this. We've participated for the last four years, achieving a top five finish each year." Dignity Caring Funeral Services The strongest performing sector in the UK's Top 10 Call Centres for Customer Service was the e-retail sector. The top performing e-retailer was Charles Tyrwhitt once again with a score of 95.31%, outperforming this sector's strong average rating of 93%.

Setting the standard amongst banks was Nationwide with a score of 92.86%, performing more than 5% better than the average score for this sector. The public sector saw the General Medical Council lead the way with 92.45% and Best Western Hotels with 91.72% for the travel industry.

In our 4th year of assessing the email performance of UK contact centres, Royal Mail Door-to-Door performed best with an impressive score of 92.9%.

As customers are already spending more of their time online (57% of all consumers go online as the first step when looking to resolve an enquiry*) looking for answers to queries about products and services, businesses have increasingly understood the need to be available to serve these customers on their chosen channel - the internet. While the online experience has historically been limited to websites, FAQs, web contact forms, and email, more and more organisations are now shifting their focus to live online interactions with their customers in the form of social platforms and webchat. To mirror this growing trend, the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service were proud to announce the launch of a brand new form of customer experience benchmarking in the form of webchat. E-retailer Charles Tyrwhitt performed best with a score of 95.31%.

The criteria used to evaluate the contact centres took into account all aspects of customer service, including time to get through to a customer service representative, queue management, automated IVR systems, politeness, knowledge and friendliness of call centre staff, as well as how quickly enquiries were resolved.

Relaunch of our best practice programme The annual study, now in its fifth year, aims to raise customer service standards across the contact centre industry. Each contact centre was rated using more than 50 criteria across five key areas of service - timeliness, ease of use, reliability, staff knowledge and personalised service - and awarded a customer service rating in percentage terms.

The 'Top 50' has been acutely aware of the ever improving role the contact centre plays within the overall service proposition of businesses, and with operations often handling enquiries for calls, emails, chat and social, the customer service team really are the heartbeat of companies.

The 'Top 50' is currently embarking on fresh research that will provide guidance on what excellence looks like across multiple-channels and as such we are now relaunching our brand as the 'Top 50 Companies for Customer Service', reflecting the well earned position that the contact centre now has in leading UK businesses.

Ashley Williamson, Head of Partnership, Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, commented: "The appetite amongst the top performing UK companies to outperform their service standards year on year is nothing short of inspirational. Over the last 5 years of running this programme I have seen UK companies raise the bar for service so high that Top 50 Call Centres really can demonstrate that they genuinely do put their customers first. As of next year we will now be the Top 50 Companies for Customer Service: this move really does reflect the changing value the contact centre plays at the heart of businesses' customer service operations. I'm looking forward to another 5 years of improvement and continuing to reward and recognise those organisations who really do make a difference to the companies and customers they serve." *(Sitel TNS Survey 2011) About the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service Some of the organisations who took part in the Top 50 Call Centre initiative include: Dignity Caring Funeral Services, Charles Tyrwhitt, DPD, The White Company, heateam, Royal Mail Door-to-Door, Charities Aid Foundation, Nationwide, General Medical Council, ASDA, Best Western Hotels, Family Mosaic, BDR Thermea, DANONE Baby Nutrition, Auto Windscreens, Trafford Housing Trust, ITV, Coca-Cola Enterprises, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Specsavers Optical Group, KC Contact Centres (for Hull City Council), Hillary's Blinds, Photobox, Wokingham Borough Council, British Gas - Energy, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, AVIVA, Scottish Widows Contact Centre, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Kent County Council, RS Components, Phones4u, Virgin Atlantic, Allianz Insurance, Lebara Mobile, Care Quality Commission, Towergate Insurance - Leisure Division, Met Office, Scottish Power - Direct Debit Operations, Warrington, Churchill Home Insurance, Blackhorse Finance, Royal Borough of Kingston, The LateRooms Group, Daisy Wholesale, British Gas Services, Card Protection Plan Ltd, FedEx Express, Transport for London, BSkyB, Barclaycard, Genesis Housing Association, Direct Line Motor Insurance, BT The Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service initiative is a benchmarking programme, in partnership with GfK Mystery Shopping, one of the UK's leading independent market research organisations. Its goal is to help contact centres to measure themselves on what the general public thinks a good calling experience should be.

Now in its fifth successful year, The Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service will be changing its name going forward to The Top 50 Companies for Customer Service, as it's taken on an all-round initiative designed to create one benchmark for customer service excellence and transform the public perception of the contact centre industry. For further information visit www.callcentre.co.uk/top50 Research methodology Tens of thousands of shopping enquiries were made. The mystery shopping exercise is based on a comprehensive analysis of contact centre service in five key areas derived from extensive focus group research with actual customers. The report will be published in November 2012.

Calls, emails and webchat were rated for customer service criteria identified by the customers themselves including timeliness, ease of use, reliability, staff knowledge and personalisation.

All channels (calls, emails and webchat) were split across customer and non-customer assessor profiles and across simple and more complex enquiries. Assessors were profiled as closely as possible to the organisation they were contacting and used their real background, contact details to maximise their credibility. Where appropriate to the scenario in question, they had policy numbers; customer reference numbers etc. to hand in case they were asked for these to resolve their enquiry, truly reflecting the range of enquiries the contact centre receives. They took place at different times of day, during peak and non peak periods, including weekends. Scenarios were constructed so as to be comparable across all organisations and sectors involved.

Trained mystery shoppers were used for all channels and restrictions were placed on the number of contacts made by individual assessors. On the 'customer' scenarios and those where contact details may be requested, shoppers were generally limited to no more than 1 call/email per organisation. All calls, emails and webchat were made between May and August 2012.

Media contacts For more information please contact: Emilie Oliveira, Marketing Manager, Top 50 Companies for Customer Service T : 0207 234 8715 E: emilie.oliveira@ubm.com ((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com.

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