Tuesday 10 December 2019

Flummoxed online customers increase need for customer service

Photo: Depositphotos.com

More online sales and services have increased the number of people working in customer service and on helpdesks, the AD reported on Tuesday.

Last year the sector employed some 154,000 people compared to 140,000 three years earlier and demand for helpdesk workers is growing.

‘It shows online self-service is not always straightforward and people still want personal contact for difficult questions,’ Lisan van den Beukel, labour market adviser at the government job seeker’s agency UWV told the paper.

However, employers are having difficulty finding staff, with the number of unfilled places rising to 8,000 in the first quarter of this year. The biggest problem is finding people with the right skills and level of education, Van den Beukel said, because it is the more complex matter that flummox customers.

The job also has an image problem. ‘People think that this job is mainly something that you do in the evenings because that is when people call in. But that happens less and less. Because of the lack of staff it takes longer to help people. The resulting pressure is often a reason for people to leave the job. It’s a vicious circle we would like to break,’  Van den Beukel said.

Although salaries are up and workers can more often choose their own schedules the sector is about to be hit with a new labour law which comes into effect next year and which will make it less attractive for employers to hire call centre workers on flexible contracts. Almost three in 10 customer service workers have a flexible contract.

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