Call Center Outsourcing

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June 09, 2009

Call Center Outsourcing Continuing to Prosper

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


For those operating in the outsourcing industry handling call volumes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) continue to prosper, despite the struggling global economy. In fact, these firms continue to remain competitive and profitable and have implemented successful initiatives to maintain costs.

The future, short-term business growth for these firms may be affected by competitive pressures and regulatory factors. The overall picture is still promising as the economic downturn actually helped to create a promising pipeline from existing customers and prospects.
 
At the same time, perceptions of loss of control over customer interactions are diminishing as the outsourcing practice becomes more and more common. At the same time, providers in this market are deploying successful implementations, offering advanced services and publishing customer success stories. 
 
According to Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) and analysis in the firm’s EMEA Contact Outsourcing Markets, the market earned revenues of $15.2 billion and anticipates that this will reach $19.9 billion in 2014.

“Despite the economic downturn, market participants in EMEA have high expectations for continued expansion plans with new and existing clients into 2009 and beyond,” noted Frost & Sullivan Strategic Analyst Michael DeSalles, in a company statement.
 
“Outsourcers offer a multitude of benefits to their client base, including eliminating capital expenses, flexibility and access to qualified labor, multiple languages, reduced costs, advanced management techniques, and the opportunity to gain access to state of the art technology without massive financial outlays.”

At present, the most obvious challenge within the call center is that of complexity, including increased diversity and complexity of products and services. There is also a need for agents’ multi-lingual skills, consumer demand for speed and multichannel media touches, and an increased emphasis on cross-selling and up-selling. EMEA providers continue to report that dealing with complex industry legislation and regulatory compliance issues is a continuing challenge.

“In today’s environment, it is increasingly common for clients in EMEA to require ‘blended’ delivery models, using a combination of onshore, near shore, and offshore customer contact centers,” explained DeSalles.

“The offshore option provides clients with lower labor costs and ’follow-the-sun’ service provisioning, especially for English-language call volumes, yet, hiring sufficient support for other European languages is a challenge for all providers.”

The market is especially promising for those vendors who offer multiple solutions and agent models, including client-in house agents, vendor brick-and-mortar agents, self-service options and work-at-home or remote agents.

Outsourcing firms with CEO support to execute a solid security and an established internal security practice are better equipped to meet these important client demands for data privacy, security certifications and regulatory compliance.

While the challenges within the global call center outsourcing market are likely to remain in place, the promise of the market can provide vendors with the resources they need to tackle these challenges and still remain profitable. It will be interesting to watch the dynamics of this industry as the economy enters a stage of recovery.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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