The customer service provided by contact centers is a large contributor to business success, and women play a significant role in the contact center industry, helping companies to resolve customer inquiries and maintain customer satisfaction. According to statistics by Zippia on call center agent demographics and statistics in the United States, 67.2% of all Call Center Agents are women, while 27.9% are men. Below, we discuss the origin and role of women in the contact center industry.
The Origin of Women in the Contact Center Industry
As an article by TNC on the history of call center agents discusses, the concept of call center agents began in the 1950s, as housewives working from home called their friends and neighbors to sell baked goods. In the next decade, call center agents became more sophisticated as they received more training and tools.
Today, women still outnumber men in contact center agent roles, and there are several reasons for this.
Ease of Entry into the Workplace
One reason why customer service agent positions may be appealing to women is because they are considered office type jobs, which have traditionally been done by women, and don’t require any physical labor. Also, since these jobs don’t require a college education, they can be a good option for women to enter the workforce or to re-enter it after a break, such as being a stay-at-home mom.
In addition, the increase in remote agent positions is making contact center agent work even more appealing to women. The ability to work from home gives women a lot of work-life flexibility. Instead of having to commute to and from work each day and spend their day away from home, they are better able to balance work and home priorities.
Adhering to the Rules
To ensue customer satisfaction and compliance, contact center agents must follow firm company rules. These include rules about how they speak to customers to provide them with effective and personalized service. It has been found that female contact center agents are preferred because they tend to adhere to rules more. As an article by The Conversation states:
“Female call centre agents more often than their male colleagues acknowledged the customer’s problem, used their name, encouraged them to call back if necessary and finished with a personal touch, such as “have a good weekend” – just as they had been told to do by their managers.”
EQ and Empathy
Another reason why women may be preferred for contact center roles is that they are seen as the more conversational and empathetic gender. And often, an empathetic response that demonstrate emotional intelligence is needed to de-escalate and deal with difficult customer situations. This helps customers to feel like they are being heard and that the company cares about them. This in turn, helps to retain customers.
Female Executives in the Call Center Industry
Although women dominate contact center agent roles, there are fewer women than men in executive roles. As a an article by Ultimate points out:
“Despite making up two-third of the customer service workforce, only a fraction of those women make it to the ranks of leadership – 48%, to be exact, according to the UK Office of National Statistics.”
Interestingly, the article also notes that:
“Women are often hired and promoted based on past accomplishments, while men may be hired and promoted based on future potential.”
Additionally, an article regarding gender in call centers notes that:
“Women are associated with family more than business, with emotion over competence, with compliance instead of achievement. Women sacrifice getting ahead to be liked.”
However, as perceptions change, more women may acquire executive roles.
The Future Outlook of Women in the Call Center Industry
For the reasons discussed here, women are expected to continue to play a large role in the contact center industry, especially as more contact centers are moving to the cloud, and call center services are predicted to be increasingly online-based with social media and chat features being the focus.
At CH Consulting Group, we salute the many women who have made the contact center industry what it is today and those who continue to dedicate their time and considerable talents to customer experience. Click here to learn more about the women on the CHCG team.