As much controversy as the trend toward reducing contact center agent positions caused, the most recent research into the industry shows that this trend is continuing. Premise-based positions are getting harder to come by as the industry is changing. While some of this change can be attributed to the slowdown of the U.S. economy, much of it is also driven by other factors.
According to the T3i Group LLC’s latest “InfoTrack for Converged Applications” (ICA) research on the global contact center market, shipments of premises-based agent positions in the U.S. declined 3.6 percent in 2007.
Interestingly, this is the third consecutive year showing decline in the U.S. Shipments proved to be down 5 percent in 2005 and 1 percent in 2006. This decline is being driven by outsourcing, self-service capabilities and hosted contact center solutions.
The region of Caribbean-Latin America (CALA) led all regions with growth of more than 50 percent. At the same time, Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) followed, growing at double-digit rates.
InfoTech, a division of the T3i Group that conducts market research on unified communications, has forecasted that the U.S. market share of agents will decline steadily through the forecast period (2008-2012), while CALA and APAC will continue to grow significantly during the same time period.
EMEA is expected to maintain positive growth but its global share will decline slightly due to the emerging markets' higher growth rates.
"Based on the recent and projected trends, the lessons for manufacturers of contact center systems are clear," commented Ken Dolsky, program director for InfoTech's ICA, in a company statement.
"Focus in the U.S. on productivity-enhancing capabilities such as unified communications, self service technologies and workforce management tools which will improve the utilization of existing agents.”
“In the emerging markets outside of the U.S., concentrate on in-country relationships with sales partners, government agencies, educational institutions and other entities to create and leverage relationships and capture as much new growth as possible," added Dolsky.
These changes within the industry are demanding that vendors also change their approach to ensure that they are proving the solutions that meet the needs of its customers. Such an approach ensures stronger growth and better sustainability over time.
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