Skip to main content
News Release

Study by ICMI and Five9 Reveals the Root Cause of Poor Customer Service – Agent Apathy

New research report shows 87% of contact center leaders acknowledged that agents experience a moderate to high level of stress during the workday


COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — April 30, 2015 — The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in partnership with Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN), a leading provider of cloud contact center software, today released the 2015 report, “Agent Apathy: The Root Cause of Poor Customer Service.” The report reveals that contact centers tend to place the agent low on the scale of organizational importance, resulting in detached agents and ultimately, poor customer service. To avoid the consequences of agent apathy, the report provides actionable insights into how to raise the significance of valuable employees.


Findings from this report were taken from, “The Modern Agent: Understanding Performance, Productivity, and Positive Results,” a survey issued to 404 contact center leaders by ICMI and Five9 in early 2015 to discover the state of today’s contact center agent and how to ensure their success. For more information and to download the full report, visit:


“As the importance of the customer experience heightens, so does the role of the contact center.  At the core of it all is the agent, individuals who day in and day out are the true frontline and the voice of our organizations,” says Justin Robbins, senior analyst for ICMI. “While our discovery that most of them are under-equipped and over-stressed is not a surprising one, it is unacceptable nonetheless. This report exposes the dirty little secrets that are holding a majority of organizations back and provides food for thought on how they can drive success moving forward.”


Agents Today Carry More Weight than Ever Before:

Until now, the agent has been viewed as an entry/bottom level necessity; however their role has become increasingly more important as they juggle a higher workload volume. Today, 48 percent of contact center agents support multiple channels, and 75 percent of contact center leaders plan on that number increasing. As a result of these increased responsibilities, contact centers’ current low prioritization of agents will not be sufficient in the coming years.


 "Agents have a critical role in the success of any call center. They must be provided with the best tools and solutions possible so that they can perform at their best,” said Liz Osborn, vice president, product and solution marketing, Five9. “The results of this survey underscore the necessity for successful call centers to correctly prioritize what makes the biggest impact on their business.”

Tweet This: Survey reveals root cause of poor customer service is agent apathy. Via @CallCenterICMI @Five9 #contactcenter


Agents’ Needs Are Not Being Met: 

As of now, agents’ basic needs are not being met. For example, 71 percent of respondents recognized difficulties with their system and inefficiency of their tools as the top contributor to agents’ workday stress. Being equipped with the necessary tools to do their job effectively is thought to have the greatest positive impact on performance.


Agents First: Next Steps for Contact Centers to Improve Agent Satisfaction:

It is time for contact centers to reevaluate their priorities and put their most important asset—the agent—at the forefront. To start this transition, contact center leaders must ask themselves:


  • Do your agents have the authority to do what is necessary to resolve the customer’s issue?
  • Are their tools and technologies as efficient and effective as possible?
  • Are you holding them accountable for things they can actually affect?


ICMI and Five9’s research report helps customer management professionals to determine the answers to these questions and highlights actionable insights to place agents as a top priority for the successful progression of their organizations.


Agent Apathy: The Root Cause of Poor Customer Service highlights the effects of agent apathy and how it is hindering the success of today’s contact centers. To view the full report please visit:


Media can obtain a copy of the report by contacting the ICMI PR team at


To learn more about current industry trends and hear from top professionals in the field, register for the 2015 Contact Center Expo & Conference, taking place May 4-7 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. For more information and to register please visit:


About ICMI 
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals -- from frontline agents to executives -- who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI's experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. ICMI is a part of UBM plc (, a global events-led marketing services and communications company. 

About Five9 Inc.

Five9 is a leading provider of cloud contact center software, bringing the power of the cloud to thousands of customers and facilitating more than three billion customer interactions annually. Since 2001, Five9 has led the cloud revolution in contact centers, helping organizations of every size transition from premise-based solutions to the cloud. Five9 provides businesses secure, reliable, scalable cloud contact center software to create exceptional customer experiences, increase agent productivity and deliver tangible business results. For more information visit




ICMI Contact:

Kimberly Samra



Five9 Contact:

Katie Bromley