March 20, 2007 -- More employers are using improved customer-database systems and other contact-center technologies in response to widespread complaints by customers about longer hold times, incomprehensible agents, and faulty automated response applications, a recent global study found.

In a survey of more than 400 contact centers worldwide, 60 percent said they have adopted IP-based or hybrid IP telephone systems, automatic call distributors, and other technologies to ease waiting times and route calls more effectively, according to Dimension Data, a New York-based IT services and consulting firm.

According to the study, customer satisfaction rates in North American contact centers fell from 84 percent in 2005 to 62.9 percent in the past year alone. In addition to redundant requests, poor voice recognition software, and hard-to-understand agents, the study also found a 73 percent increase in average hold times to 64 seconds this year, up from 37 seconds in 2006.

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