Infographic: How Accents Impact Customer Service

January 20, 2011

DISCLAIMER: By publishing this infographic, Zendesk is not implying that call centers that employ people with accents are bad. Please pause and consider what we’’re really trying to say; right or wrong, studies show that customers who are assisted by a support agent with an accent that they find hard to understand report having a less than satisfactory experience. On a scale of 1 to 100, customers gave an overall customer satisfaction score of 58 to call centers located outside the U.S.

These are the facts, not an opinion we or anyone else is asserting. In our opinion, the problem could be that Americans are unable to open up to different cultures. Or maybe it is the fault of those staffing foreign call centers for failing to provide rigorous English articulation classes for its agents. Heck, maybe we just need better telephones that help make every conversation sound crystal clear. One crappy phone line and even the accent of a Texan or a New Yorker can be pretty rough to understand.

Outsourced call centers are a hard truth of modern day life that people are going to have to come to grips with. On one hand, they can sometimes mean the loss of stateside jobs. On the other, our world continues to get smaller and we continue to interact with different types of people on a regular basis. This very notion is what NBC’s “Outsourced” tried to tackle last year (albeit, not very successfully, and only then because the show was woefully unfunny).

If anything, please remember that our founders are Danish and our office here in San Francisco is staffed with a significant international contingency. Accents are plentiful and welcome around here. We’re not sure what the answer is yet, but here’s to hoping the newly ubiquitous phrase, “Can you hear me now?” is applicable all over the world.

Call Center Infographic

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