Contact Centre Featured Article

October 15, 2012

Foreign Students Find the UK's Rude Customer Service and Call Center Service a Barrier


The UK has a reputation for customer service, and it’s not a good reputation, unfortunately. In fact, aside from causing problems for native Britons, it’s also turning off foreign students, apparently.

While hundreds of thousands of foreign students flock to the UK each year to avail themselves of the nation’s high quality education institutions, a majority of them say they are put off by the UK’s bad customer service and call center service. It turns out that foreign students find it so hard to deal with snooty shop assistants and surly call center staff that more than 60 percent of these students rate it as the most daunting aspect of studying overseas.

This startling information was uncovered by a survey by Only Student Concierge.

The students surveyed said bad customer service made studying in the UK much harder than they had expected. Fully 81 percent of the respondents said they have experienced bad customer service while studying in the UK. About one-third of respondents said they had been treated badly by a call center agent during their stay.

Why do foreign students interact so heavily with customer service personnel? According to Only Student Concierge’s Elspeth Brown, writing for Huffington Post (News - Alert) UK, those working in the service industries are often the first point of contact for these new arrivals to Britain, and therefore often shape their opinion of the UK.

Brown says it shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise that Britain offers lousy customer service. It’s just not in the culture, she says.

“While these statistics are depressing, it's hardly surprising to hear that many of the UK's 500,000 international students are struggling to cope with Britain's poor customer service. If you look at America's 'Have a nice day' culture, or the courtesy and politeness engrained in nations such as Malaysia and Singapore, it's easy to see why international students may find customer service in the UK somewhat lacking.”

It’s also easy to see that UK-based call center agents could use some remedial training in not being miserable to customers.




Edited by Brooke Neuman


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