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December 19, 2007

Outsourcing Changing the Call Center Jobs Market

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Associate Editor

The call center jobs market is changing as outsourced contact center services become more popular. The growth of this sector, Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) said in a recent report, is driven by financial, strategic and technological factors.
Strategically, many organizations looking for ways to focus on core competencies are finding that it makes sense to outsource some or all of their call center operations to firms that specialize in customer interactions.
Financially, outsourcing call center operations also makes sense, because often consistent results can be achieved more effectively by outsourcing than staying in-house, Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael DeSalles said in the report.
“Work-at-home agent (WAHA) providers play an important role in engagements that span the full spectrum of industry verticals including financial services, retail, travel and hospitality,” DeSalles added.
His mention of home-based agents is an important trend to note when looking at the call center jobs market. Employees seeking work and firms that provide call center services may need to embrace this option in order to stay competitive.
Frost & Sullivan said in its report that the current U.S. economic climate, coupled with growing acceptance of call center outsourcing across a variety of vertical industries, will ensure this market continues to grow in the foreseeable future. Containing costs, improving efficiency, and delivering high quality customer service are all good reasons for companies to consider call center outsourcing.
Technological developments are also helping to fuel growth of the outsourcing market. It is now possible for companies to utilize a mixture of on-shore, near-shore and off-shore facilities to provide around-the-clock support for clients in all parts of the globe. This mixture, though, does create a certain level of complexity.
“In this highly competitive market, organizations are looking to drive process improvements by moving the needle on service quality to enhance brand equity,”  DeSalles said in the report. “Meeting end-user demand for quality and speed in a multi-channel environment is a challenge for even the most experienced outsourcers.”
Frost & Sullivan thinks the most significant market opportunity for outsourcing firms lies in gaining wallet share from existing clients and from prospects that operate in-house contact centers. Successful providers will consider everything from improving risk mitigation to re-designing their sales and service delivery channels.
“New clients are looking for industry-centric solutions from providers that have a history of measurable results,” Frost & Sullivan concluded in its report.
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Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.

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