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Call Center Directory > Call Center Articles > Does Accent Really Matter In Call Center Outsourcing?

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Does Accent Really Matter In Call Center Outsourcing?

Date Posted: 2011-10-13

If your business outsources its call center arm like so many other businesses do, then you might have
issues regarding accents.

With so many call centers outsourced to countries like the Philippines, India, and China, the issues with
accents have become even more pronounced. For one, some clients have trouble understanding the call
center agent or customer service representative they are speaking with. This could lead to a less than
satisfactory conversation, particularly if the client is trying to work out a sensitive of difficult problem.

Earlier this year, Zendesk published a concise infographic based on combined data from various
experiments and research from sources including, the University of Chicago, the
Journal of Experimental Psychology and the CFI Group.

According to the infographic 81 percent of the consumers surveyed talked to a live person during their
call while a 72 percent spoke with both an interactive voice response (IVR) and a live agent. 59 percent
though, opted to stick it out with a recording.

One thing you have to think about is how many of the 81 percent who spoke with a live agent had a
successful call? Look at it from this point of view: outsourcing a call center may save a company tons
of money; but if their clients think that clearly understand or connect with an agent, their satisfaction
could drop and that could be disastrous for the company in the long run.

In a survey conducted by the CFI Group which measured overall customer satisfaction on an index from
1 to 100, call centers within the United States scored 79 while call centers outside the US tallied only
58. The report also states that clients “have difficulty understanding offshore agents which leads to an
ineffective and inefficient process.”

Another reason why accents have a detrimental effect on customer service is because of the question of
credibility. Clients think “if I can’t understand you, then can’t trust you.”

In a study conducted nu the University of Chicago, the researchers asked non-native speakers to pose
trivia statements. They tried to determine whether the statements sounded less true if non-native
speakers delivered them. The listeners were informed in advance that all of the trivia questions were
provided by the researchers so that listeners who were prejudiced against non-native accents should
not have been affected. The results showed that the heavier the accent, the person became less trust

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