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Principal Analyst: Steve Morrell
5 Chapter One: Methodology and Background
6 9 Definitions and figures Distribution and use of this report
Chapter Two: The Structure of the North American Contact Center Industry: Market Size
11 12 15 17 18 19 21 23 US contact centers and agent positions by size US contact centers by vertical market US agent positions by vertical market US contact center size by vertical market Canadian contact centers and agent positions by size Canadian contact centers by vertical market Canadian agent positions by vertical market Canadian contact center size by vertical market
Chapter Three: The Structure of the US Contact Center Industry: Geographical Location
24 25 26 29 A note on Canadian contact center distribution The US contact center industry structure by region The US contact center industry structure by division The US contact center industry structure by state
Chapter Four: Market Forecasts to 2010
28 30 32 35 42 43 44 46 US contact centers, 2004-2010 US agent positions, 2004-2010 US vertical market forecasts, 2009 US employment forecasts, 2009 Canadian contact centers, 2004-2010 Canadian agent positions, 2004-2010 Canadian vertical market forecasts, 2009 Canadian employment forecasts, 2009
Chapter Five: Inbound and Outbound Activity
48 50 52 54 55 57 58 US: inbound/outbound activity by size of contact center US: inbound/outbound activity by vertical market US: inbound call volumes Canada: inbound/outbound activity by size of contact center Canada: inbound/outbound activity by vertical market Canada: inbound call volumes The future of outbound calling
Chapter Six: The Use of IVR and Outbound Dialers in North American Contact Centers
61 66 68 IVR (interactive voice response) in North American contact centers The future of self-service Use of outbound dialers in North American contact centers
61 73 79
Chapter Seven: Contact center management gender Commentary: The State of the Industry in 2006 APPENDIX: ABOUT CONTACTBABEL
2009 US agent positions by vertical market. 20062009 Canadian contact centers. 2004-2010 Canadian contact centers by vertical market. 2004-2010 Canadian agent positions. 2009 US contact center employment changes by vertical market. 2006-2009 US: outbound activity by size of contact center US: outbound agent positions (equivalent) by size of contact center US: equivalent outbound agent positions by vertical market US: inbound call minutes by vertical market US: inbound call minutes by size of contact center Canada: outbound activity by size of contact center Canada: outbound agent positions (equivalent) by size of contact center Canada: equivalent outbound agent positions by vertical market Canada: inbound call minutes by vertical market Canada: inbound call minutes by size of contact center Use of IVR by vertical market Use of IVR by size of contact center Use of outbound dialer by vertical market Use of outbound dialer by size of contact center US contact center management gender Canadian contact center management gender -4- . 2009 Canadian agent positions by vertical market. 2004-2010 US agent positions. 2009 Canadian contact center employment changes by vertical market.List of tables Table number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Page number 7 8 12 14 16 17 19 20 22 23 25 28 33 36 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 48 49 51 52 52 54 55 56 57 57 62 63 69 70 71 72 Description Statistical assumptions Vertical market definitions and examples US agent positions and contact centers by size of contact center US contact centers by vertical market US agent positions by vertical market Mean average US contact center size by vertical market Canadian agent positions and contact centers by size of contact center Canadian contact centers by vertical market Canadian agent positions by vertical market Mean average Canadian contact center size by vertical market The US contact center industry by region The US contact center industry by division The US contact center industry by state US contact centers. 2004-2010 US contact centers by vertical market.
contactbabel. “North American Contact Centers in 2006: The State of the Industry” analyses each record of this database. ContactBabel realizes that while the North American Contact Center Directory is a good starting point for analysis.html This report. as well as using vendor shipments and statements to get to a top-line figure with which we are confident. it does not cover every single contact center operation in the US and Canada. vertical market and geographical location in order to provide the reader with unparalleled accuracy in understanding the industry. For example. The North American Contact Center Directory is one of the largest and most comprehensive databases available of North American contact centers and their management. and multiplied upwards to achieve what we believe to be the most accurate measurement of the North American contact center industry available.Chapter One: Methodology and Background “North American Contact Centers in 2006: The State of the Industry” is the 1st in a series of annual reports looking at the structure of the industry from an analytical and statistical viewpoint. it is updated and expanded at least twice per year. it is to be hoped that the reader will acknowledge the superior accuracy of this report. Considering that most other market sizing reports rely upon “consensus forecasting” or vendor-stated shipments. called the North American Contact Center Directory. rather than as an absolute count of operations or agent positions. if there is a large contact -5- . This is because multiplying everything upwards from a base of solid fact will keep the relative proportions the same. but will miss anomalies which the original figures did not show. Please be aware that this methodology works best as a relative measure. we have estimated to the best of our knowledge the proportion of each size of contact center which is included within the database. Further information on the North American Contact Center Directory and how to purchase it can be found at www. rather than ‘bottom-up’ counting of the base blocks.000 US and Canadian contact centers. Therefore. segmenting by size of contact center.com/usccd. However. This piece of market analysis is based upon a foundation of fact: the numerical analysis of a database of over 3. Furthermore.
especially at geographical level have not been massaged in order to seem more authoritative: please bear in mind that most of these figures are products of initial “true” raw data. In some cases. ContactBabel uses a measure of subjectivity and opinion in order to arrive at a conclusion. multiplied upwards and segmented into smaller pieces in order to bring out the patterns or themes which ContactBabel believes are important to show. the phrase “contact center” will be used to refer to multimedia contact centers (deal with email and Internet contacts as well as telephony). so any comparisons between -6- .000 people. especially where segments are very small. using “contact center” as the generic term will help to concentrate thoughts on the future of the industry. this does not imply that figures should be taken to be accurate to the nearest agent position or contact center. multiplying the figures upwards from this region will not take this into account. Although the North American Contact Center Directory has around 200 mini contact centers with fewer than 10 seats.center in a specific small region which has not been included in the North American Contact Center Directory. Each year. rather than to be forced into supporting old data which may now be proven to be less accurate. sales centers etc. so the veracity of the report would be diminished if this size band were included. call centers (traditional. we are the only analyst firm looking at the North American contact center industry from a sample of over 3.000 contact centers and around 750. Other analysts rarely take this size band into account. telephony operations) and customer service centers. Although “North American Contact Centers in 2006: The State of the Industry” is not perfect. Like every other analyst firm. No contact center with fewer than 10 agent positions (seats) was considered within this report. we attempt to map the contact center industry as accurately as we can at the time. we would ask that readers please use these any absolute figures only as approximations. In cases where figures have not been rounded up or down. Therefore. numbers . new information comes to light that was previously unavailable: we choose to report data as accurately as possible at the current time. and we believe that the reader should be aware of the various processes which figures have been subjected to in order to reach a final number. Although not all of these operations will be dealing with non-telephony customer contact. it was felt that we could not accurately estimate the number of operations of this size which we do not have within the database. A major segmentation within this report is size band. Therefore. Definitions and figures Throughout the report.
The following table shows the size bands and the average size that each contact center within the size band was assumed to have. A brief definition of each follows. sometimes known as business sector. Table 1: Statistical assumptions Assumed average size within range (agent positions) 14 29 59 126 160 212 306 602 1.206 Agent positions (range) 10-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1000 1000+ Apart from contact center size band. the other main segmentation is vertical market. -7- .analysts’ estimates would be more difficult for our readers were we to do so.
catalogue. assistance Telemarketing companies and large full-service outsourcers Home shopping. Government. food suppliers Technology sales and service (external. years are reported as year-end (i. other Mobile and fixed line operators. water Analysis for this report was started in June 2006 and completed in August 2006. the 2006 figures are reporting the state of the industry as it will be in December 2006). subscriptions etc. support for physical shopping outlets Newspaper and magazine advertisements. state. no internal company helpdesks included). ISPs Manufacturers (often product support and queries) Pharmaceuticals. ticket booking Banking. -8- . credit checking agencies Brewers. travel agents Gas. parcel carriers. sales and support Public transport information and booking. credit cards.e. All revenues are in US$. rental. agencies. local. logistics. federal. loans. insurance. electricity.Table 2: Vertical market definitions Vertical market Engineering and Construction Entertainment and Leisure Finance Food and Drink IT Manufacturing Medical Motoring Outsourcing and Telemarketing Retail and Distribution Printing and Publishing Public Services Services Telecoms Transport and Travel Utilities Sub-sectors Building suppliers. builders Hotels. emergency services Non-physical service offerings to public and business. To comply with the usual protocol of market analysis. debt collection. healthcare Manufacturers.
software & services Outsourcers Contact center managers and directors Customer service directors and those involved in contact center strategy Consultants Journalists Analysts Real estate companies Training providers New entrants to the contact center industry Government bodies Academic institutes Contact center industry organisations Regional & national development/inward investment agencies Although this report is free of charge. All figures. these may include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Contact center solution providers: hardware. text and graphs are © ContactBabel. Amongst others. swapping. gifting. -9- .Distribution and use of this report This report is written for the community of people interested in the present and future structure and shape of the North American contact center industry. photocopying or other dissemination of this report must occur without prior written permission from ContactBabel. no sharing.
10 - .07m agent positions and the Canadian industry of 290. manufacturing.950 in Canada The US industry is made up of 3.Chapter Two: The Structure of the North American Contact Center Industry: Market Size There are presently 56. telecoms and utilities also important sectors The mean average contact center size is 54 agent positions in the US. and 74 agent positions in Canada . despite only accounting for less than 4% of physical contact center sites The retail and distribution sector has most contact centers (19%) and with finance. outsourcing & telemarketing.500 agent positions Large contact centers (with over 250 agent positions) employ 34% of US staff.900 contact centers in the US and 3.
000 500. Here.000 20. until the realm of the large contact center (over 250 agent positions) is reached. US agent positions and contact centers by size range.000 10.000 .1.000 300.000 15.000 5. there are a very large number of contact center operations in the sub-100 agent position size bands. a relatively small number of large operations employ many hundreds of thousands of people in total.000+ 150-200 250-500 1. 2006 30.000 0 10-24 25-50 50-100 100-150 200-250 500.000 25. and is also the place where any impact of offshoring is having its largest effect.000 Agent position size band Contact centers Agent positions Contact centers Agent positions 400. creating a disproportionately large pool of employment in the largest few hundred contact centers: this is how most people think of the contact center industry.11 - . with a significant number of agent positions. Both the numbers of agent positions and contact centers decline as the size band is increased.000 600.000 200.US Contact Centers and Agent Positions by Size As the following graph shows.000 100.
which means that the contact center support required is proportionally larger than that found in other mature contact center industries. Several suppliers of contact center solutions have estimated that the finance sector provides between 40% and 50% of their total revenues. However.1% 0.250 16.0% Number of agent positions 358.000 201.0% US contact centers by vertical market Each business sector (vertical market) has its own distinct character and place within the contact center industry.0% 9.400 950 1.6% 100. which requires telephone support.4% 29. this sector has shown the most inclination to move offshore.Table 3: US agent positions and contact centers by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 10-24 25-50 50-100 100-150 150-200 200-250 250-500 500-1. The first three sub-sectors are amongst the largest users of contact centers. insurance companies.000 3.7% 16. retail support for large physical stores.000 513.7% 2. building societies. This vertical market consists mainly of banks.000 386.000 1.2% 3.4% 12. although they are generally smaller operations.4% 15.5% 1.000+ Total Number of contact centers 25.8% 0.000 289. collection agencies and credit reference agencies. credit card companies.3% 2. This area has been growing rapidly.070. .3% 6.750 8.1% 16.200 480 320 56.000 % of agent positions 11.8% 7.6% 100.900 % contact centers 44. Manufacturing companies account for 11% of North American contact centers.5% 12.000 367. and niche retailers.12 - . The retail and distribution sector has the largest number of contact center operations. supported by the massive increase in online shopping.000 224. package couriers. This vertical market includes catalogue/direct mail retailers (which tend to be the largest in this sector).000 493.7% 7.000 239. such as the UK. to take advantage of labour cost differentials. dealing with customer support and sales to other companies rather than the public.900 1. and many of the largest operations are within this vertical market.650 1. Financial services organisations run the second-most contact centers of any business sector. The US still has a strong manufacturing base.
legal services and home improvements companies. directory services. airlines. through to taking 911 and non-emergency calls. The outsourcing and telemarketing vertical market consists of telemarketing companies and full-service outsourcers. Printing and publishing contact centers include newspaper and magazine subscription and outbound advertisement operations.13 - .3% of operations. both inbound and outbound. from local. but has a much bigger impact on the industry as a whole. as many telecoms contact centers are a considerable size (having a mean average of 79 agent positions). The sector is experiencing significant investment in its contact center operations as it tries to catch up with the private sector and allow citizens to benefit from longer hours and shorter wait times. This vertical market includes both fixed line and mobile operators. 11% of the UK’s contact centers are run by these types of company. The telecoms vertical market accounts for 8. along with book publishers.The transport and travel vertical market includes travel agents (both High Street and web-based). The services sector is a broad category taking in those contact centers which do not fit in easily elsewhere. . It includes home security. Public services contact centers cover a very wide area. This report does not include the large numbers of internal helpdesks which support employees. public transport companies. although such companies increasingly try to market new services (such as internet access and telephony) to their customer base. state and federal service supply. and car hire firms. fuel and electricity. The IT sector is made up of both technology sales and external helpdesk operations. as well as ISPs (internet service providers). The utilities sector comprises those businesses selling water.
500 1.1% Services 11.3% 17.5% Outsourcing and Telemarketing 5.3% 6.3% Printing and Publishing 1.1% 11.6% 2.4% Entertainment and Leisure 2.2% 1.3% Public Services 6.6% 5.3% Engineering and Construction 0.250 750 750 300 200 56.6% 2.3% 0.1% Table 4: US contact centers by vertical market Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Manufacturing Services Telecoms Public Services IT Outsourcing and Telemarketing Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Utilities Food and Drink Medical Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction TOTAL Contact centers 11.6% Finance 17.7% Retail and Distribution 19.US contact centers by vertical market Utilities 2.7% 5.8% 2.750 1.8% Telecoms 8.6% Manufacturing 11.900 Percentage 19.0% Food and Drink 2.0% 8.500 1.2% IT 5.5% 0.0% Medical 1.000 9.3% Motoring 0.0% .4% 100.3% 1.250 4.750 3.14 - .1% 4.250 2.900 2.750 3.750 6.6% Transport and Travel 4.0% 11.250 6.
000 agent positions. and between them. US agent positions by vertical market Engineering and Construction Motoring Printing and Publishing Food and Drink Medical Entertainment and Leisure Transport and Travel Utilities Public Services Services IT Manufacturing Outsourcing and Telemarketing Telecoms Retail and Distribution Finance 0 100.000 400.000 600.000 Agent positions . at almost 500.000. with the retail & distribution sector close behind.000 500.15 - .000 200. and outsourcing & telemarketing sectors both have over 300. Telecoms.US agent positions by vertical market The financial services sector has the most agent positions.000 300. these four leading sectors account for over 55% of agent positions.
270 475.460 224.1% 100.140 245.1% 0.630 21.070 3.1% 15.8% 7.1% 2.610 313.990 159.16 - .9% 0.770 27.Table 5: US agent positions by vertical market Vertical market Finance Retail and Distribution Telecoms Outsourcing and Telemarketing Manufacturing IT Services Public Services Utilities Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total Agent positions 494.0% .2% 8.1% 1.7% 0.490 3.850 377.470 58.000 Percentage 16.3% 10.070.0% 7.330 33.2% 5.3% 5.640 156.110 174.600 239.9% 1.5% 12.570 64.7% 5.
Using a mean average approach. yet 73% of contact centers have fewer than 50 agent positions. although care should be taken when analysing these figures.17 - . the relatively few very large operations skew the results upwards. Table 6: Mean average US contact center size by vertical market Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Utilities Telecoms Medical IT Motoring Transport and Travel Finance Public Services Retail and Distribution Entertainment and Leisure Manufacturing Printing and Publishing Services Food and Drink Engineering and Construction Mean average (all vertical markets) Mean average size (agent positions) 108 106 79 78 74 72 57 51 47 43 43 39 37 36 27 15 54 .US contact center size by vertical market The mean average sizes of contact centers by vertical market are listed below. The mean average may not be the most representative measure of average contact center size: dividing total agent positions by total number of contact centers gives a mean average industry size of 54 agent positions.
600 1.Canadian Contact Centers and Agent Positions by Size As with the US.000 . until the realm of the large contact center (over 250 agent positions) is reached. 2006 2. Canadian agent positions and contact centers by size range.000 1.000 10. with a significant number of agent positions.000 800 600 400 200 0 10-24 25-50 50-100 100-150 150-200 200-250 250-500 500-1. a relatively small number of large operations employ many people.800 1.000 60. the numbers of agent positions and contact centers decline as the size band is increased.18 - Agent positions 40.400 Contact centers 1.000 . Generally.000+ Agent position size band -0 20.200 1.000 30.000 Contact centers Agent positions 50. there are a large number of contact center operations in the sub-100 agent position size bands. Here. creating a disproportionately large pool of employment in the largest contact centers: this is how most people think of the contact center industry.000 1.
0% Number of agent positions 40. .0% 27.5% 15. the outsourcing and telemarketing industry in Canada has a higher proportion of contact center operations than the in US (8.6% 100.8% 13. However.100 550 125 90 70 100 40 20 3.000+ Total Number of contact centers 1.500 34.000 17. as a lower-risk form of offshoring. this is due to the work carried out by lower cost Canadian outsourcers on behalf of US businesses.5% 1.5% 11.5% 100.000 1.500 16.Table 7: Canadian agent positions and contact centers by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 10-24 25-50 50-100 100-150 150-200 200-250 250-500 500-1.3% 1.000 48.3% 6.500 31.500 290. In large part.1%). which impacts upon each contact center industry in a similar way.19 - .8% 2.500 16.855 1.7% 5.2% 5.0% 0.2% 2.7% 14.500 40.9% vs 5.500 45.5% 16.9% 3.950 % contact centers 47.0% 10.0% Canadian contact centers by vertical market There are a lot of similarities between the Canadian and US economies (see the section above).500 % of agent positions 14.
8% 3.0% .6% 6.6% 0.3% Retail and Distribution 16.9% Food and Drink 2.5% 15.6% Printing and Publishing 1.8% Transport and Travel 5.8% 9.3% Table 8: Canadian contact centers by vertical market Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Manufacturing Outsourcing and Telemarketing Services Public Services Telecoms IT Transport and Travel Utilities Entertainment and Leisure Food and Drink Medical Printing and Publishing Engineering and Construction Motoring TOTAL Contact centers 650 625 375 350 350 325 300 250 200 150 125 100 50 50 25 25 3.5% 8.9% Motoring 0.2% Outsourcing and Telemarketing 8.3% 0.950 Percentage 16.Canadian contact centers by vertical market Utilities 3.3% 1.6% Entertainment and Leisure 3.8% Services 8.5% Manufacturing 9.9% 8.5% IT 6.2% Finance 15.5% Medical 1.6% Engineering and Construction 0.20 - .1% 3.2% 2.5% 1.3% 5.9% 8.2% 7.1% Telecoms 7.6% 100.3% Public Services 8.
000 40. at over 45.000 25. with retail & distribution close behind.000 45.000 20.21 - .000 Agent positions . although the outsourcing & telemarketing sector is in second place in Canada.000 30. the financial services sector has the most agent positions. Canadian agent positions by vertical market Engineering and Construction Motoring Printing and Publishing Food and Drink Medical Entertainment and Leisure Services Transport and Travel Utilities Manufacturing Public Services IT Telecoms Retail and Distribution Outsourcing and Telemarketing Finance 0 5.000 15.000 50.000 10.000 35.Canadian agent positions by vertical market As in the US.000.
250 17.000 3.2% 100.750 15.2% 7.000 1.000 32.3% 6.4% 2.750 21.000 6.4% 0.8% 11.1% 1.000 7.7% 0.750 2.22 - .0% .1% 6.0% 5.500 15.250 500 290.2% 8.500 23.250 41.2% 13.250 40.500 Percentage 15.2% 2.Table 9: Canadian agent positions by vertical market Vertical market Finance Outsourcing and Telemarketing Retail and Distribution Telecoms IT Public Services Manufacturing Utilities Transport and Travel Services Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total Agent positions 45.4% 5.6% 14.750 17.3% 0.
23 - . Table 10: Mean average Canadian contact center size by vertical market Vertical market Medical Outsourcing and Telemarketing Utilities Telecoms IT Transport and Travel Finance Public Services Retail and Distribution Entertainment and Leisure Motoring Manufacturing Services Printing and Publishing Food and Drink Engineering and Construction Mean average (all vertical markets) Mean average size (agent positions) 120 118 117 108 95 79 72 65 62 56 50 47 43 40 38 20 74 . although care should be taken when analysing these figures. The mean average may not be the most representative measure of average contact center size: dividing total agent positions by total number of contact centers gives a mean average industry size of 74 agent positions. yet 75% of contact centers have fewer than 50 agent positions. the relatively few very large operations skew the results upwards.Canadian contact center size by vertical market The mean average sizes of contact centers by vertical market are listed below. Using a mean average approach.
in the way of the US. there is a significant North-South divide. with Northern divisions relying more heavily on the contact center industry for employment Although we advise caution when viewing state-wide contact center estimations. We must again urge readers to note the extreme uncertainty of these figures. with British Columbia being the only other significant area of contact center activity at around half of these agent positions. which are included only for completeness’s sake.Chapter Three: The Structure of the US Contact Center Industry: Geographical Location 3. does not contain the volume of Canadian contact centers which we need in order to be confident of distribution by state/province level.000 agent positions each.24 - . Quebec and Alberta seem to have around 15. with over 900. yet the contact center industry is least vital to that region in terms of the proportion of the employed population working in the industry The Middle Atlantic and East North Central (aka Great Lakes) divisions have the most contact center staff. with around 75% and 85% respectively. Neither is Canada divided up into meaningful and significant regions or divisions. This is because the North American Contact Center Directory.7% of the US’s employed population work within the contact center industry The South of the US has most agent positions.000 working in each division In terms of the importance of the contact center industry to the division. it seems that Texas. upon which this chapter is based. . New York and California have the most agent positions and contact centers A note on Canadian contact center distribution This chapter does not consider the geographical distribution of contact centers in Canada. For those requiring some idea of the geography of the Canadian contact center industry. which would allow better estimations (as in the rest of this chapter). we tentatively hypothesize from our directory of operations that Ontario contains by far the most contact centers and agent positions.
Contact centers are especially important in the North-East – especially around New York and parts of New England. the importance of the contact center industry to this region is less than elsewhere.000 5.678 1.377. it divides the US into four distinct large regions.000 26.503. Table 11: The US contact center industry by region % employed in contact centers 3.900 141.710.827 Contact centers 12.604 Jobs 991.838 884.219.392.246 13.125 1.159 810.344 14.370 1.000 32.0% Region West North-East Midwest South Agent positions 583.399 791.0% of the employed population.2% 4.070.000 50.235.000 Average size (APs) 48 61 56 52 TOTAL 3.359.The US contact center industry structure by region “Region” is the top-level of US geographical segmentation. Very widelyused.7% 54 Although the South has most agent positions and contact centers. employing only 3.1% 3.000 56.1% 5.25 - .230 17. .000 3.724.080 Working population 32.346.
It has greater granularity than the regional level provides. used widely within the US and is a generally recognised official grouping.26 - . but this means the possibility of inaccuracy further increases. Contact centers by US division WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA Contact centers <2.5-5.5k AZ .5k >7.The US contact center industry structure by division This section of the report analyses the US contact center industry by nine divisions.0k 5.0-7.5k 2. A division is a group of geographically similar states.
Agent positions by US division WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA Agent positions <200k 200-300k 300-400k 400-500k >500k AZ .27 - .
900 141.476 933.405 108.070.292 230.000 26.2% 4.603 Jobs 598.932.6% Division Pacific Mountain Middle Atlantic New England West North Central East North Central South Atlantic East South Central West South Central Agent positions 352.000 7.3% 3.337.28 - .160.000 19.525 Contact centers 8.000 3.613 553.856.1% 2.415 450.746 4.864 3.513.851 443.231 Working population 22.598 4.609 2.631 8.7% 4.689 184.199.000 56.7% 54 .919 910.000 7.241 6.596 325.536.074 256.790.Contact center employment by US division WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA AZ % of working population employed in contact centers <3% 3-4% 4-5% >5% Table 12: The US contact center industry by division % employed in contact centers 2.826 435.9% 2.206 765.896 392.387.710.219.2% 4.9% 6.423 535.324 261.599 9.381 8.000 15.000 Average size (APs) 40 68 63 57 56 56 52 48 52 TOTAL 3.0% 4.000 22.000 5.000 9.868 549.000 10.
An interesting pattern thrown up here is the North-South divide along the importance of contact centers to the division. the raw contact center and agent position distribution seems to follow the general areas of high population – the North-East. Texas. The southern divisions – despite a large number of agent positions and contact centers in the Southern Atlantic division – do not rely on the contact center industry to the same extent as the New England and Middle Atlantic divisions. . Eastern Seaboard. for example. California and Great Lakes.29 - . Unsurprisingly.
operating at such a granular level may decrease the level of accuracy. the presence or absence of a very large contact center may be largely statistically insignificant at the national or regional level.30 - . but may play an important part in determining state-wide data.The US contact center industry structure by state Please note – the following figures are estimations of contact center and agent position numbers at state level. For this reason. For example.000 >2. We are hesitant about analysing specific state-wide data.000 1. Due to the nature of statistical analysis.000-2. due to the nature of the small sample sizes at this level of granularity. so there is no commentary of this section. we recommend that readers exercise extreme caution when using figures from the following section. Contact centers by US state WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA Contact centers <250 250-500 500-1.000 AZ .
31 - .Agent positions by US state WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA Agent positions <10k 10-25k 25-50k 50-100k 100-200k >200k AZ .
32 - .Contact center employment by US state WA OR ID NV UT MT WY NE CO NM KS OK TX AK ND SD IO MO MN WI IL MI IN OH KY TN AR MS AL LA FL GA NY PA WV VA NC SC ME CA AZ % of working population employed in contact centers <2% 2-4% 4-6% >6% .
000 420.000 4.2% 1.279 38.714 3.000 4.862.243 256.7% 3.599 23.463 78.9% 1.1% 4.7% 3.333 29.167.041 90.5% 1.258 1.401.980.106.329.000 8.923.157 21.255 16.295.531 165.7% 5.877 86.000 1.000 2.973 199.101.7% 5.000 2.619 1.205 38.000 1.953 20.069.079 75.962 128.6% 1.018 185.243 924 727 590 590 334 431 767 1.746.000 1.665.066 50.8% 3.476 1.550.829.234 128.Table 13: The US contact center industry by state % employed in contact centers 2.074 37.1% 0.510 59.418 511 806 2.735 218.1% 0.487 62.000 1.667 6.000 4.645 136.905 23.9% 2.000 347.000 706.000 887.8% 8.9% 2.585 11.191 146.000 1.000 541.000 1.000 3.656 2.619 39.243 Jobs 52.2% 1.419.376 216 1.944.000 Average size (APs) 37 38 62 52 36 62 65 104 92 55 56 15 28 57 40 53 23 60 33 65 26 53 31 45 55 72 15 106 68 63 61 92 56 41 22 53 35 60 80 103 .395 138 177 3.721 298.000 6.334 27.7% 4.327 12.779 31.346.926 177 4.6% 5.203.959 18.626 63.237.613 436.000 2.987 133.848 1.219 570 6.551 8.463 72.429 106.219 2.747.204 82.2% 1.495 53.572 4.768 13.1% 4.374 65.722 845 1.814.754.830 35.9% 3.7% 3.353 46.000 5.710.584.297 177 2.000 16.574 28.33 - .000 277.4% 3.652 47.000 4.000 1.8% 1.767 48.120 177 138 2.2% 5.000 8.000 2.519 409.8% 4.477 48.708 17.249 65.187 123.878.018 18.041 52.531 314.769 89.000 949.000 3.811 18.4% 3.000 677.7% 7.333 3.000 474.9% State Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut DC Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island Agent positions 30.236.000 2.035.270 10.201 275 Working population 2.395 20.2% 11.000 617.199 157 432 275 373 1.660 175.2% 1.0% 8.089 5.000 1.2% 2.000 316.497 231.000 78.1% 2.2% 5.513 117.717 241.2% 5.068 5.000 5.014 Contact centers 825 80 1.7% 4.000 1.628 3.312 97.2% 2.728.0% 1.231 31.000 1.972 27.0% 7.520 34.803 30.000 711.
376 1.120 393 1.147 49.939.653 247.110.293 149.748.897.0% Average size (APs) 50 51 51 55 120 21 64 51 34 82 95 TOTAL 3.000 2.000 2.120 Contact centers 590 98 609 4.150 84.State South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Agent positions 29.3% 6.651 57.1% 3.710.000 % employed in contact centers 2.476 8.000 415.340 19.6% 7.9% 4.34 - .000 56.219.6% 3.214.000 3.423 13.349 87.789 118 Working population 1.000 5.820 267.571 52.0% 8.619 22.815 413 550 1.612 11.973 19.9% 3.395 454.000 761.630.000 10.000 344.000 3.070.692 5.325 145.007 97.000 1.7% 54 .000 3.9% 5.1% 1.000 274.900 141.042 30.247 Jobs 50.798.6% 2.867 11.
a growth rate of over 22% in that timescale .35 - . public sector and retail/distribution sectors will add almost 26. from $314 in 2006 to $385 in 2010.8% in terms of contact centers. moving from $3. the finance.6% respectively The North American contact center industry will experience a net loss of over 55.000 jobs between 2006 and 2009 In Canada.Chapter Four: Market Forecasts to 2010 Between 2006 and 2010. and by 2. the US contact center industry will shrink by 2.000 jobs between 2006 and 2010 Within the US. The Canadian industry will grow by 5.000 jobs between 2006 and 2009 Investment in technology in US contact centers will increase by 11% over the 2006-2010 period. outsourcing and telecoms vertical markets will shed over 110.0% in agent positions.73bn Canadian contact center investment will grow more sharply. the outsourcing.36bn to $3.0% and 8.
000 15. Although there are now many fewer announcements of new US operations opening. 2004-2010 60.300 % growth -1. numerous studies of existing contact centers show that many are still adding considerable numbers of staff.000 10.000 Contact centers 40.2% -1.300 55.7% -0.0 54.4% Growth rate (%) -0.5% -0.0% -1.2% 0.000 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 -1.in the main . the US is the most mature contact center industry in the world.6% -1.2% -1.900 55.4 54.2% Table 14: US contact centers.600 55.5 54.000 45.000 50. and are . and there is also a great deal .000 55.1% -0.000 20.6 54.36 - .000 35.5% Average size (agent positions) 53.900 56.0% Contact centers Growth rate (%) -0. Today.000 25.8% -0.4 53.600 56. 2004-2010 Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Contact centers 58.either adding new agents to existing premises or are looking more or less seriously at offshore as a place to expand and/or move contact center operations.4% -1. However.2 54.0% -0.300 57. most companies who can benefit from a contact center have already done so.US contact centers.4 The years between 1990 and 2000 saw the greatest increase in the number of contact centers opening.000 5.000 30. 2004-2010 US contact centers.
37 - . Many operations are likely to be of a significant size. Some operations will close over the next four years – more likely through consolidation than movement offshore. although also to Mexico). and will impact on agent numbers. existing operations will continue to grow very gradually or remain stable. In the main.of consolidation. This seems to have created a small net decline within the US contact center industry. which we expect to continue. and offshoring (the Philippines and India are the main destinations). especially of multi-site operations. . although the increased use of self-service will cause some closures. nearshoring (mainly to Canada.
000 1.50% Table 15: US agent positions.00% 3.7% -0.7% Consolidation and offshoring will impact agent numbers negatively.050.000 3.000 3. 2004-2010 0.000 3. .00% -1.000 -0.000 3. although we believe that the growing movement to self-service – whether web.50% 1.000 3.500 Agent positions Growth rate (%) -1.3% -0.040.010.7% -0.500 Agent positions (000s) 2.000 % growth -0. large parts of the US population are now extremely web-literate and happy to manage bills and technical help online as their first choice.00% 500 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 -2.000 3.000 -2.115.US agent positions.3% -0. In particular. 2004-2010 Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Agent positions 3.070.8% -0.3% -0.38 - .or phone-based – will have a longer term effect.030.50% Growth rate (%) 2. 2004-2010 US agent positions.090.
2009 11. 2009 Table 16: US contact centers by vertical market.350 3. The retail & distribution sector will continue to grow.5% 0.1% 5. The main area of growth in contact center numbers will be in the public sector. driven in part by the need to support online interactions.100 6.3% -6.520 1.8% 4. 2009 Contact centers.0% -2.600 Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Services Manufacturing Telecoms Public Services IT Outsourcing and Telemarketing Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Utilities Food and Drink Medical Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total % of overall contact centers. The increasing use of account self-management options (voice and web self-service) in the finance industry adds to this effect. as more work moves offshore and nearshore.7% +0. Telecoms and utility contact centers are also likely to be under the same competitive pressures.8% 7. and coupled with the continuing consolidation of the industry and its contact centers.4% 1.6% +1.39 - .0% -5.8% -6. the gap will have grown between the retail and distribution vertical market and the finance sector. we expect to see a stagnation in the number of finance contact centers.200 9.6% 4.3% 100.7% 2.400 1.1% 7. .6% -8.950 3. especially due to the round of consolidation caused by “triple-play” companies (TV. Financial services businesses have been the main ones to move offshore.4% +2.8% -1.5% 2.US vertical market forecasts.1% 16.3% 11. with somewhat more dramatic results.0% % change 06-09 +1.650 1.300 6.3% 0.150 4.3% -4.7% -2.220 770 750 300 190 55.4% +5.6% -3. and the formalization of departmental customer handling leads to the growth in contact centers.2% 1.7% +0.3% By 2008.0% +0.4% 11.650 2.100 2. where eGovernment initiatives continue to grow.8% 2. Internet and voice traffic) emerging from the telecoms sector. The outsourcing & telemarketing sector looks to be in for a decline. 2009 20.6% -8.
2% 2.6% -0. . The Entertainment & Leisure.0% 1.0% -6. Medical and the Transport & Travel sectors will experience some agent position growth as well.3% -1.000 67.8% +1. Due to offshoring and triple-play-driven consolidation.3% Major growth will come from the public services sector.0% % change 06-09 +0.8% 15.7% 0.7% 9. All told.000 292.000 232.000 162.9% -4.Table 17: US agent positions by vertical market.7% 7.000 155.1% 0.500 355.500 28.500 244.3%.9% +2.500 230.030.000 33.000 21. 2009 480.3% -0.1% +3.7% 8.0% -2. which is a long way behind the contact center curve that the private sector has been on for many years.3% 5.9% +4. 2009 Agent positions.6% 11.3% 5.or SMS-based contact – the US’s telecoms and utilities contact center sectors will be somewhat smaller in 2009 than today.500 3.4% -6.000 agent positions smaller in 2009 than in 2006.500 62.9% 0. or 40. 2009 15.000 3.40 - .000 472.7% +6.6% +9.5% -2.1% 7.3% +0. and a move towards web.7% -2.1% 100.000 Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Telecoms Outsourcing and Telemarketing Manufacturing IT Services Public Services Transport and Travel Utilities Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total % of overall agent positions. the US contact center industry will be 1.000 191.1% 2.6% 6.
151 +629 +17 -119 -459 -2. Table 18: US contact center employment changes by vertical market.217 +10.437 -68.055 +6.832 -35. 2009 The public sector will add considerably to its contact center employment figures. The finance.088 -37.US employment forecasts.013 +9.009 -38.888 -11.239 +5.000 Vertical market Public Services Services Transport and Travel Retail and Distribution Medical Entertainment and Leisure Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Food and Drink Manufacturing Utilities IT Outsourcing and Telemarketing Finance Telecoms Total .41 - . telecoms and outsourcing & telemarketing sectors are responsible for most of this. with these three sectors alone accounting for losses of over 110. but there is little to cheer in the rest of the industry. 2006-2009 Difference in contact center employment.000 jobs.720 -7. 2006-2009 +27.000 jobs predicted over the next three years. with a net loss of 68.231 +7.
9 76.500 4. especially at the lower end of the industry. .0% Contact centers 3.5 73.6% 2.150 % growth 1.4 74. The Canadian industry is still opening some contact centers as it picks up work from the US.000 1.100 4.500 2.000 2. and there will continue to be a steady opening of new or returning contact centers or continuing formalization of existing operations.150 4.5% 1.0 The Canadian contact center industry is at a similar point to the UK’s – still growing. 2004-2010 Canadian contact centers.0% Contact centers Growth rate (%) 1.2% 0.050 4. Although some operations will close over the next three years – more likely through consolidation than movement offshore – these will be relatively few in number. existing operations will continue to grow gradually.0% Table 19: Canadian contact centers. but the rate and amount of growth declining each year. In the main.5% 3.5% 500 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 0.000 2.Canadian contact centers. although the operations are likely to be of a significant size.2 73.0% Average size (agent positions) 73.42 - Growth rate (%) .500 1.2% 1.7% 2.5% 1.0 73.7 74.0% 0.750 3. 2004-2010 4.500 3.4% 2. 2004-2010 Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Contact centers 3.000 2.850 3.950 4.
000 300. 2004-2010 Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Agent positions 274.50% 0.200 290.4% Growth in the Canadian contact center industry is still definite.000 150.Canadian agent positions.00% Agent positions Agent positions Growth rate (%) 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Table 20: Canadian agent positions.00% 0.00% 1.000 100.00% 2.500 305.8% 2. 2004-2010 350. .600 281.4% 3.000 200.000 315.50% 2.000 agent positions (over 40.000 311.000 actual jobs) will be added between 2006 and 2010.50% 3.500 % growth n/a 2.0% 1.000 0 3.500 298.000 250.3% 2. although it is at a gentler pace than has been seen before.50% 1. 2004-2010 Canadian agent positions.2% 2.000 50. 25.43 - Growth rate (%) .
1% +10.0% +8. 2009 17. The outsourcing & telemarketing sector (driven partially by US work) will increase.44 - .6% 0.7% 6. as will the formalization of the public sector’s contact operations.7% +12.3% 2.3% 1.3% 0.0% +0. as the increasing use of web-based retailers and the ineffectiveness of email support opens up avenues for contact center work. 2009 705 610 400 395 375 360 285 270 210 145 135 105 53 52 25 25 4.9% +7.9% 6.5% 3. 2009 Contact centers.0% % change 06-09 +8.5% 5.0% 14.0% -3.150 Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Manufacturing Outsourcing and Telemarketing Services Public Services Telecoms IT Transport and Travel Utilities Entertainment and Leisure Food and Drink Medical Printing and Publishing Engineering and Construction Motoring Total % of overall contact centers.4% +6.0% +0.0% +5.1% The retail & distribution sector will add some new contact centers over the next 3 years.6% 100.7% 9.0% +4. Consolidation in the telecoms and utilities industries will create a small decline in the number of contact centers in these sectors.0% 8. .0% +5. 2009 Table 21: Canadian contact centers by vertical market.1% 3.0% +6.0% +5.6% 9.5% 9.8% -5.5% 1.3% +8.Canadian vertical market forecasts.5% -2.
3% -3.1% Major growth will come from the retail & distribution sector.250 17.000 24. utilities and telecoms may see some small decline.3% +8.7% 14.5% -1.3% 14.000 16. 2009 48.3% +8. 2009 Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Finance Retail and Distribution Telecoms IT Public Services Manufacturing Utilities Transport and Travel Services Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total Agent positions.Table 22: Canadian agent positions by vertical market.500 25.500 44.3% +9.4% +7.5% 5.45 - .7% +8.4% 0.750 44.9% 6.2% 5.500 31.3% 2.0% % change 06-09 +18.8% +8.250 17.100 2.7% +11.350 7.3% +15.3% 10.500 4.3% 0.0% 7. which is a long way behind the contact center curve that the private sector has been on for many years. 2009 15.0% +5.2% 100.175 1.0% +7.1% +5. . although finance.1% 1. outsourcing & telemarketing and also public services.5% 5.5% 2.350 525 311.750 6.9% +9.0% +10.7% 0.2% -1.500 19.1% 8.000 % of overall agent positions. Most sectors will see gentle growth.
Table 23: Canadian contact center employment changes by vertical market. All told.700 +34. an increase in employment of over 35.46 - . 2009 The outsourcing & telemarketing sector will add over 12.Canadian employment forecasts.550 +2.125 +2.000 contact center staff is expected.650 +5.275 +850 +595 +298 +170 +43 -425 -1.525 +2.275 -1.125 +1.295 +2. with most coming from growth within existing contact centers.850 Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Retail and Distribution Public Services Manufacturing Services IT Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Utilities Finance Telecoms Total . with the retail & distribution and public service sectors also adding significant employment figures. 2006-2009 +12. 2006-2009 Difference in contact center employment.000 jobs to the Canadian contact center industry over the next three years.750 +7.
47 - . with the finance and retail & distribution sectors also playing a large part in outbound calling There will be around 266 billion minutes of inbound calling into North American contact centers in 2006 .8% There are over 1 million outbound agent positions within North America Outbound activity is highest in the outsourcing & telemarketing sector.Chapter Five: Inbound and Outbound Activity US outbound activity is currently at just over 30%. with Canada’s being slightly lower at 28.
1% 34.2% 31.000 1.6% 30.8% 37.9% 28.000 Agent positions 251-500 201-250 151-200 101-150 51-100 25-50 10-24 Inbound Outbound 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Table 24: US: outbound activity by size of contact center Agent positions 10-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.US: inbound/outbound activity by size of contact center US inbound and outbound activity by size of contact center AVERAGE 1. mid-sized contact centers seem to do somewhat more outbound calling than either small or very large operations.5% 29.2% 30.3% There is little linear correlation between contact center size and amount of outbound calling.7% 31.48 - . (The term “outbound agent equivalent” describes the number of exclusively-outbound.6% 32.001+ 501-1. In practice. not all . full-time agents required. which may use outsourcers and telemarketing firms more. However.001+ MEAN AVERAGE % of outbound activity 27.
148 109.754 77.outbound work is done by outbound-only agents. .001+ Total Outbound agent positions (equivalent) 97. rather than any focus of small contact centers upon outbound calling.686 76.593 112.49 - .694 92. but more as a factor of the overall size of the segment.961 75. hence the need for “outbound agent equivalents”).250 151.006 931.512 155.485 Small (sub-100 seat) contact centers have very significant numbers of outbound agent positions.000 1. Table 25: US: outbound agent positions (equivalent) by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 10-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.
50 - .US: inbound/outbound activity by vertical market US inbound and outbound activity by vertical market Inbound Outbound TOTAL Motoring Medical Engineering and Construction Public Services Entertainment and Leisure Vertical market Transport and Travel Utilities Telecoms Retail and Distribution Finance Services Manufacturing Food and Drink IT Printing and Publishing Outsourcing and Telemarketing 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% .
3% 13.g. persuading customers to change financial products (e.51 - . The finance vertical market has the largest number of outbound agents. it is testament to the size of this industry segment that it still has more outbound FTEs (full-time equivalents) than any other sector.0% 23.054 95.0% 33.794 1. Businesses are aware that one of the key moves towards increased profitability is to get customers purchasing multiple products. cross-selling and up-selling to existing customers.727 5.427 146.341 85.485 The outsourcing and telemarketing sector has the biggest focus on outbound calling.g. a personal loan. a current account.4% 36. When considering the amount of offshoring that this sector has weathered in recent years.4% 38. credit cards) and increasingly.917 38.044 36.3% Outbound FTEs 154.8% 26.902 74. a credit card and insurance from the same provider.559 481 931.594 126.069 11.193 67.043 14.164 66.3% 15.0% 24.1% 7.Table 26: US: equivalent outbound agent positions by vertical market Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Finance Retail and Distribution Telecoms IT Manufacturing Printing and Publishing Services Utilities Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Food and Drink Medical Public Services Motoring Engineering and Construction Mean average Outbound activity 49. .6% 30. so we expect to see the number of outbound FTEs in this sector in the US decreasing significantly over the next two to three years.1% 30. involved in debt collection. with half of activity being aimed outwards.2% 22. rather than being connected with inbound customer service. A significant proportion of outbound calling is now being done offshore (especially for lower value products).6% 29.3% 21. e.177 7.7% 25.8% 30.
8 39. They are based upon proportions of inbound and outbound activity and agent position numbers from this report.0% 0.0 17.US: inbound call volumes Table 27: US: inbound call minutes by vertical market Vertical market Retail and Distribution Finance Telecoms Outsourcing and Telemarketing Manufacturing Services IT Public Services Utilities Transport and Travel Medical Entertainment and Leisure Food and Drink Motoring Printing and Publishing Engineering and Construction Total Minutes inbound per year (billions) 38.6 19.5% 13.3% 2.2 % of all inbound activity 11.0% 7.8% 7.3% 1.0 13.6 2.2 0.9 2.4% 100.0% Table 28: US: inbound call minutes by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 11-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.6 5.0 13.2% 5.1 32.6 40.1% 6.4% 2.2 % of all inbound activity 16.001+ Total Minutes inbound per year (millions) 27.6 35.5 1.6 19.5% 9.6% 5.6% 5.5% 12.2% 15.1% 100.5 243. with averages of call time and duration applied to them.2 17.4 13.9 15.4 5. .8% 0.0% 16.4% 6.3 243.6 19.0% 14.9% 0.3 23.8% 7.6% 8.3% 16.7 15.8 30.0% The preceding tables are estimates of the amount of inbound call minutes per year into US contact centers.3 36.000 1.7% 7.52 - .
the smallest contact centers are most important. as it is more difficult to estimate the number of outbound minutes. . the very large contact centers (over 250 seats) are the most visible and make an attractive target for suppliers. making average outbound call lengths misleading. The retail & distribution and finance vertical markets have around 16% of all inbound traffic each. and the length of outbound calls also varies enormously. with around 43% of inbound traffic terminating in contact centers with fewer than 100 agent positions.53 - . By size band. handling over 35% of all inbound calls. However.ContactBabel believes there are around 243 billion inbound call minutes per year into US contact centers. Opinion is divided on whether to count unconnected calls and calls to answerphones. Outbound call statistics have not been included. with the telecoms sector also playing a significant role.
001+ 501-1.2% 29.54 - .8% As with the US.8% 28.8% 30.1% 28. hence the need for “outbound agent equivalents”).001+ MEAN AVERAGE % of outbound activity 27.000 1. not all outbound work is done by outbound-only agents. In practice. (The term “outbound agent equivalent” describes the number of exclusively-outbound.Canada: inbound/outbound activity by size of contact center Canadian inbound and outbound activity by size of contact center TOTAL 1. there is a slight increase in the proportion of work which is outbound in the mid-sized contact center range.3% 27.0% 33.000 Inbound Outbound Agent positions 251-500 201-250 151-200 101-150 51-100 25-50 10-24 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Table 29: Canada: outbound activity by size of contact center Agent positions 10-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.7% 29.6% 26. .6% 31. full-time agents required.
950 5.016 13.495 11.Table 30: Canada: outbound agent positions (equivalent) by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 10-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.696 The sub-100 seat sector accounts for almost half of all outbound calling in Canada.365 14. Canada: inbound/outbound activity by vertical market Canadian inbound and outbound activity by vertical market TOTAL Engineering and Construction Public Services Motoring Medical Transport and Travel Inbound Outbound Vertical market Entertainment and Leisure Telecoms Retail and Distribution Utilities Services Finance Manufacturing IT Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Outsourcing and Telemarketing 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% .379 10.730 83.304 5.001+ Total Outbound agent positions (equivalent) 11.000 1.55 - .040 4.178 8.
179 11.7% 24.552 1.1% 34.8% 21. The finance and retail & distribution sectors also play a part in outbound activity.0% 37.9% 23.696 The outsourcing & telemarketing sector in Canada is even more important to the overall outbound activity than in the US. (from which it is receiving this type of work).465 7.0% 29.219 306 214 70 83.7% 25.223 3.4% 25.268 4. with a strong presence too from the printing and publishing sector (outbound advert sales in the main).4% 18.8% Outbound FTEs 19.Table 31: Canada: equivalent outbound agent positions by vertical market Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Finance Retail and Distribution IT Printing and Publishing Telecoms Manufacturing Utilities Services Transport and Travel Entertainment and Leisure Food and Drink Medical Public Services Motoring Engineering and Construction Mean average Outbound activity 49.8% 36.9% 28.355 7.912 4.524 7.56 - .4% 15.286 1.788 3.361 1.9% 27.974 9.8% 16. .1% 22.0% 28.
726 23.429 1.8% 100.7% 6.8% 5.414 2.3% 1.348 3.398 3.000 1.5% 11.1% 0.2% 6.8% 13.625 3.0% Table 33: Canada: inbound call minutes by size of contact center Size band (agent positions) 11-24 25-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-500 501-1.5% 16.336 1.57 - .1% 6.001+ Total Minutes inbound per year (millions) 3.1% 14.703 1.6% 0.765 1.0% 5. .5% 11.7% 6.386 1.017 3.Canada: inbound call volumes Table 32: Canada: inbound call minutes by vertical market Vertical market Finance Retail and Distribution Telecoms Outsourcing and Telemarketing Public Services IT Utilities Manufacturing Transport and Travel Services Entertainment and Leisure Medical Food and Drink Printing and Publishing Motoring Engineering and Construction Total Minutes inbound per year (millions) 3.0% The preceding tables are estimates of the amount of inbound call minutes per year into Canadian contact centers.120 2.0% 7.449 1. There will be around 23bn minutes of inbound activity into Canadian contact centers in 2006.0% 5.2% 100.533 1.7% 14.212 591 520 263 138 113 47 23.651 2.539 1.383 1.032 % of all inbound activity 13.3% 6.6% 2.8% 11.5% 0.032 % of all inbound activity 15.359 3.9% 14.3% 2.
Based upon customer loyalty theory. average call duration). such as SMS or email having become available.generated by the overuse of predictive dialling technology – are alienating customers and prospects. Add to this some companies’ enthusiasm for using offshore agents who may not be fully trained or suited to selling to the North American public. poor perception of this activity by customers and agent alike. warm calling has increased greatly. in ContactBabel’s opinion. With new means of contacting prospects. The measurement of a contact center’s success is starting to move away from pure performance-based metrics (time to answer. a key driver for CRM activities. There is no real difference between cold calling someone a company has not yet sold to. the Do-Not-Call register. as metrics such as products per customer and wallet-share have started to be captured in the leading businesses. warm calling is often seen as an easy way to generate revenues without having to do too much extra thinking. However.58 - . silent calls . Many react to what they see as a worrying and hostile experience by registering on the DoNot-Call register. Too many companies are trawling all the way through their customer lists. ContactBabel would expect to see the following trends emerging within the next five years: . in order to cross-sell or up-sell. and calling an existing customer without understanding who that customer is and what they are likely to be interested in: both are unlikely to reap rewards.The future of outbound calling Outbound activity falls into two categories: cold and warm. The past rise in outbound calling can be attributed to warm calls to existing customers. or increasingly. Added to this. into more balanced effectiveness/efficiency measures. regardless of whether the customers will need them: there is not enough analysis of customer preferences and desires first. to check customer satisfaction and experience. the telephone cold call should be losing importance in the marketing mix of most companies. although many are now using offshore to telemarket cost-effectively. and it is easy to see how a negative view of outbound has emerged. The latter option is actually likely to alienate existing customers. and the enthusiastic introduction of state legislation on dialler rates means that cold calling looks likely to drop significantly and very quickly. effectively taking themselves out of the market altogether. While there has been a rise in unsolicited cold calls over the past 5 years. and trying to sell new products and services to customers. Businesses should be very wary of running indiscriminate cross-selling and upselling campaigns to existing customers – it could backfire on them.
there will still be many companies for whom warm calling means untargeted activity aimed at large chunks of the customer and prospect databases Direct mail marketing to increase in popularity with businesses Cold calling decreases slowly and above-the-line and direct mail marketing becomes more popular Broadband and “always-on” devices make multimedia communication a less-painful experience than many customers have suffered caused by poor web and database design. maintaining the proportion of inbound-outbound proportion of around 75/25 • • • .59 - . This will slow the rate of increase in inbound voice communication somewhat by shifting some service requests onto self-service.• • Outbound calling to decrease and stabilize at around 25% on average Warm calling will become more targeted after failures of overproactive campaigns to existing customers. narrowband connections and poor eService service levels. However.
62% of those in the outsourcing & telemarketing sectors do so . medical and transport & travel contact centres are the most likely to use IVR Although only 12% of contact centers report using outbound dialers.Chapter Six: The use of IVR and outbound dialers in North American contact centers IVR (interactive voice response) is currently found in 43% of contact centers Printing & publishing.60 - .
61 - .IVR (interactive voice response) in North American contact centers North American IVR usage by vertical market AVERAGE Printing and Publishing Medical Transport and Travel Utilities Manufacturing Vertical market Outsourcing and Telemarketing Services Entertainment and Leisure Retail and Distribution Telecoms IT Food and Drink Finance Public Services Motoring Engineering and Construction Use IVR Do not use IVR 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% .
the most avid users of IVR are not to be found in the major vertical markets of finance. for example – and do not require routing or automation assistance. and for automated meter readings and billing enquiries for the latter. Many of North America’s finance contact centers are actually small operations – local banks. in most countries. . but rather in the minor niches of printing & publishing and medical.62 - .Table 34: Use of IVR by vertical market Do you use IVR in your contact center? Engineering and Construction Motoring Public Services Finance Food and Drink IT Telecoms Retail and Distribution Entertainment and Leisure Services Outsourcing and Telemarketing Manufacturing Utilities Transport and Travel Medical Printing and Publishing AVERAGE Yes 0% 6% 33% 35% 39% 40% 41% 42% 42% 43% 44% 46% 48% 53% 63% 73% 43% No 100% 94% 67% 65% 61% 60% 59% 58% 58% 57% 56% 54% 52% 47% 38% 27% 57% Perhaps surprisingly. IVR usage is directly positively correlated to the size of the contact center operation. The transport & travel and utilities sectors are strong users of IVR. However. retail and telecoms. for timetable and ticket booking in the case of the former. and this is also the case in North America.
63 - .000 agent positions 1.001+ agent positions Average Yes 32% 46% 38% 42% 61% 50% 57% 66% 57% 43% No 68% 54% 62% 58% 39% 50% 43% 34% 43% 57% As we would expect to find.000 Agent positions 251-500 201-250 151-200 101-150 51-100 25-50 10-24 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Use IVR Do not use IVR Table 35: Use of IVR by size of contact center Do you use IVR in your contact center? 11-24 agent positions 25-50 agent positions 51-100 agent positions 101-150 agent positions 151-200 agent positions 201-250 agent positions 251-500 agent positions 501-1. there is generally a positive correlation between the size of the contact center and the use of IVR.001+ 501-1. .North American IVR usage by contact center size AVERAGE 1.
there may be not be the savings to be made. What should be of more interest to suppliers is the usage ceiling which seems to have been reached long before a 100% penetration rate has been hit. In larger contact centers with at least 150 agent positions. Indeed. and a gradual tailing-off of penetration rates as operations got smaller. Also. possibly caused by the difficulty of creating a profitable business model for suppliers to small contact centers. IVR usage is not much more than 60% in most size bands. the main driver of IVR uptake (which it should be. While this is certainly the case.64 - . we would expect to find more of the larger contact centers using it. where penetration tails off quite noticeably. so interest is less in these types of solution. or main factor in using IVR. This may be due to less supplier effort in this area.As IVR is a solution which provides major cost savings in volume-based environments. we would expect to see all 1. 60% max. if size were the only. being of most use to highvolume environments). it does not seem that IVR suppliers have reached saturation point in any sector of the market. IVR suppliers still have virgin territory in the smaller contact center sector (fewer than 100 seats). The following graph shows the penetration rate by size of contact center. This does suggest that commercial decisions not to use IVR have been made. compared to what ContactBabel would expect it to be if contact center size were. as IVR works best in a volumebased environment.000+ contact centers using IVR. The positive correlation between large contact centers and the use of IVR will be of surprise to no-one. IVR usage: expected vs actual High IVR penetration rate Expected penetration rate Actual penetration rate c. Low Low High Call centre size Source: ContactBabel .e. without doubt. i.
The diagram shows there are two main ways for IVR suppliers to increase their revenues: sell into the small contact center sector, and change the commercial decision not to use IVR which around half of larger contact centers seem to have made. The small contact center (sub-100 seat) sector, while accounting for the majority of North America’s contact center operations, has proven to be an extremely tough nut for suppliers to crack. The absence in many cases of a suitable sales model, the expense of selling directly and the previously unproven status of hosted applications means that small contact centers are beneath the radar screens of many of the larger IVR vendors. Add to this that only a proportion of this sector will be interested in IVR (as it provides best returns by automating large volumes of calls), and the divide between IVR applications and small contact centers is plain to see. Having said that, ContactBabel believes there are opportunities for IVR vendors in this area, although they may take some hunting down. Public services contact centers have a very low rate of IVR penetration, which is likely to rise due to the general increase in contact center investment which is being made now. Local government especially, which tends to have many departments, may benefit from an IVR routing solution rather than the usual system of having a receptionist answer the phone. However, government operations are not always focused upon efficiency, and solution providers which emphasize the reduction in staff which IVR can offer may not be welcomed. Looking again at the medium-to-large contact center sector – the traditional IVR arena – vendors will have to repackage and remarket their IVR solutions if they are to break through the penetration barrier which seems to be in place. IVR has been sold as a cost-saving measure, which is undoubtedly true, but it is also the pet hate of consumers. This may be why so many businesses have refused to implement IVR, which would otherwise save them considerable amounts of money. Vendors need to look at why businesses are wary of using IVR. Poorlyimplemented IVR is the main problem, where the system is expected to do everything for the business. Vendors could look at supplying best practice guidelines based upon experience to avoid these problems. Many businesses wish to be seen as strongly focused upon customers’ needs. The concept of IVR used as a customer assistance tool (and marketed as such) is much more likely to succeed when harnessed with the traditional message of cost savings. Small contact centers can now consider IVR as a network-based pay-peruse model, which should open up new markets for suppliers.
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Touchtone IVR’s days are numbered, and has been for some years been evolving into a more flexible and open solution. Speech recognition enablement will make it a more powerful tool, and sharing web selfservice functionality via voice through a voice portal should also improve the image and utility of voice self-service. The future of self-service Increasing self-service is consistently stated by leading contact centers as one of their major strategic aims for the medium-to-long term (2 years onwards). But what of the immediate future – where does the interest and activity really lie today? Despite touchtone IVR being long in the tooth, companies still predict that the number of interactions handled by this channel will increase. One of the clearest messages to come out of a major study of UK contact centers (the UK Contact Centre Operational Review – it is intended that a similar survey will be carried out in North America in late 2006) is that most businesses are woefully under-informed about the functionality and commercial benefits of speech recognition, perceiving it to be a complex and technical area that is patchy and unreliable. The reality is very different from this: the technology has improved dramatically in the last five years, and speech recognition is now an enterprise-class application, scalable, robust and capable of delivering much to both customers and businesses than touchtone IVR. Businesses’ predictions of when they will start to use technology solutions always need to be treated with a pinch of salt. For example, current uptake of speech recognition is running at around 5% in the UK, yet 7% of respondents say they will be implementing automated speech recognition (ASR) within the next 6 months, and a further 7% say they will be doing so at some point within the next year. Taken at face value, this would seem to indicate that the installed base of ASR will almost quadruple within the next 12 months. Unfortunately for speech recognition vendors, this enthusiastic response is unlikely to materialize along these lines, as projects always take longer than expected, other interested parties get involved and start questioning costs, and priorities change within businesses. However, growth will increase and speech recognition is now coming into the mainstream. However, these figures definitely show that speech recognition is high on the agenda of many companies, and that businesses with a large number of inbound calls should make themselves aware of what the industry currently offers, and more importantly, where ASR is going in the future. Recent unpublished ContactBabel research has shown that self-service is the no.1 technology priority for large contact center businesses in the UK (with at least 250 seats). We would say that speech recognition is one of the killer applications of the next five years, and will have more of an
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impact than offshoring on the global contact center industry. The industries most interested in benefiting from early adoption of speech recognition – for routing, identification and self-service – are banks, telecoms and utilities companies, with some large retailers also showing interest. In many cases, there is already a compelling financial reason for businesses to use self-service today. In the future, financial and commercial trends mean that these drivers will become even more undeniable. Labor costs will continue to increase, and businesses will decide to use agents only for high value-add work of which automation is currently incapable Staff attrition rates are running at over 20% per year in most mature contact center industries, and seem to be increasing. The full cost of recruitment, training and lost revenues through inexperience have only recently been fully understood. Keeping experienced staff drastically reduces costs, and using self-service to deal with the thankless and repetitive work will improve staff retention rates Speech recognition can act as the front-end security system for the contact center, taking customers through their security identification questions more quickly than an agent could do so, and freeing up that agent’s time. Adding biometrics (through voice print identification) could shorten the process even further, which would be positive for all stakeholders Touchtone IVR systems will be coming to the end of their life within the next few years. Businesses will use this opportunity to upgrade the levels of functionality that they use. This will reduce the cost of speech recognition and integrated web/voice self-service systems, making them affordable to much of the market.
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Use of outbound dialers in North American contact centers North American dialer usage by vertical market AVERAGE Outsourcing and Telemarketing Printing and Publishing Medical Utilities IT Vertical market Entertainment and Leisure Services Public Services Telecoms Transport and Travel Manufacturing Retail and Distribution Finance Food and Drink Motoring Engineering and Construction Use dialer Do not use dialer 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% % of contact centers reporting dialer usage .68 - .
we would expect dialer usage to be more a factor of contact center size than vertical market. Industries with large amounts of outbound – such as printing & publishing – also use dialers significantly. . and the pressing need to maximise resources and profits within the contact center.69 - . As with IVR though.Table 36: Use of outbound dialers by vertical market Do you use an outbound dialer? Engineering and Construction Motoring Food and Drink Finance Retail and Distribution Manufacturing Transport and Travel Telecoms Public Services Services Entertainment and Leisure IT Utilities Medical Printing and Publishing Outsourcing and Telemarketing Average Yes 0% 0% 2% 4% 5% 6% 7% 10% 12% 15% 17% 17% 18% 25% 28% 62% 12% No 100% 100% 98% 96% 95% 94% 93% 90% 88% 85% 83% 83% 82% 75% 72% 38% 88% The outsourcing & telemarketing sector is by far the most likely to use outbound dialers. due to the nature of much of the work they do.
000 agent positions 1. as we would expect – economies of scale suggest that increasing call throughput would impact costs in large contact centers more than in smaller operations.000 Agent positions 251-500 201-250 151-200 101-150 51-100 25-50 10-24 Use dialer Do not use dialer 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% % of contact centers reporting dialer usage Table 37: Use of outbound dialers by contact center size Do you use an outbound dialer? 10-24 agent positions 25-50 agent positions 51-100 agent positions 101-150 agent positions 151-200 agent positions 201-250 agent positions 251-500 agent positions 501-1. However.001+ 501-1. . which is still a low penetration rate.North American dialer usage by contact center size AVERAGE 1. only 18% of large contact centers (250+ seats) indicated that they were using a dialer.001+ agent positions Average Yes 6% 11% 13% 21% 25% 22% 17% 21% 15% 12% No 94% 89% 87% 79% 75% 78% 83% 79% 85% 88% There is certainly a positive correlation between contact center size and the usage of dialers.70 - .
.71 - . there is almost a 6:4 ratio in favor of the incumbent being male. IT management is still a predominantly male area.Chapter Seven: Contact center management gender US contact center management gender 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Contact centre manager / director IT manager HR manager Female Male Table 38: US contact center management gender Job title / gender Contact center manager / director IT manager HR manager Male 58% 80% 32% Female 42% 20% 68% For the role of contact center manager. while HR and training functions are more likely to be run by women.
72 - . with the only exception being that women are even more likely to be running the HR function.Canadian contact center management gender 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Contact centre manager / director IT manager HR manager Female Male Table 39: Canadian contact center management gender Job title / gender Contact center manager / director IT manager HR manager Male 59% 79% 24% Female 41% 21% 76% Canadian contact centers are split along almost the same gender lines as in the US. .
The reason for self-service’s guaranteed success is two-fold. there has only been a small decline in the number of contact centers and agent positions. In some cases. Eastern Europe. However. as many of those businesses who would seriously consider it (often large finance. . it holds true. a customer will need to talk with a person as the issue they have may be complex. To some extent.73 - . as Western managers get their messages across. the West Indies. rather than writing or physically visiting a business’s branch. We would not say that the offshoring of customer contact has been the unqualified success that many expected – substantial cost savings have failed to materialize in many cases. etc. as time moves on. offshoring dropped down the industry agenda in 2005. and the offshore industry matures further. and the customer perception of offshoring has been broadly negative. neither do we expect to see a major movement back to the US – there have been one or two announcements (and rather more quiet informal admissions of a reduction in offshore ambitions) – but generally.: the issues around offshore are just as valid there as elsewhere. but the main reason for having that type of conversation as far as the customer is concerned is to get the task done in the shortest amount of time. This is a simple way of looking at the issue. neither do we expect to see any short-term inroads into the Philippines or Indian contact center industries being made by South Africa. but in most cases. working practices offshore will become more closely aligned with those in North American contact centers. We do not expect any particular dramatic movements either offshore. in that it generally aligns both with what customers want (rapid and accurate interactions) and with what businesses want (a low cost of doing business). then that is what most customers will do.Commentary: The State of the Industry in 2006 Offshoring Despite the talk of a collapse of the contact center industry. The impact of self-service Self-service is of much greater importance to the contact center industry over the longer term than is offshoring. If using self-service is quicker than talking to an agent. those executives whose decision it was to move offshore will not want to be seen to have been wrong. and the latest generation of customers (18-35 year-olds) have always been used to calling a business. telco and retail operations) have already made decisions one way or the other. The average technological sophistication level of a customer is steadily increasing. or back onshore. Additionally.
From a business’s viewpoint. decreasing the cost per interaction through self-service is a positive result.74 - . as many want to learn more about their customers and (more importantly) try to cross-sell and up-sell to them. the UK figure is closer to 5% . it is this channel that takes the blame when perhaps the agents are not the cause of the problem. the measurable standard of service has improved almost every year. There is some element of personalization through web self-service now. or the underlying systems or business processes which will not allow the agent to do what the customer requires. which is easier in a live agent conversation. This constant demand for improvements will continue to drive increasingly sophisticated ways to fulfill customers’ requirements for swift and accurate service. ContactBabel believes that one of the key opportunities for vendors in the next few years is to develop the ability to cross-sell and up-sell to customers through the self-service channel.a figure from which there has not been much deviation for some years. yet almost unnoticeably. . many customers now consider that to be unacceptable. Whereas ten years ago. Customer expectations of the contact center have in fact increased significantly year-on-year. although many large businesses had very high hopes for it. but almost nothing through the voice channel. but preliminary investigations indicate a figure of less than 10%). which is a major opportunity. (A study of North American contact centers later in the year will provide the equivalent US and Canadian figures. Because the contact center is now the main portal into the business. although there will be some discussion of the optimum level of self-service. Despite predictions (by contact centers themselves) that email volumes would account for over 25% of interactions by now. although not as much as has been predicted. Most complaints supposedly about contact centers are actually about the business itself. a queue time of two minutes might just have been part of the customer experience. with improvements in queuing time and call resolution rates occurring most years. Multimedia Multimedia – usually meaning email – is generally only a small part of most businesses’ customer contact realities. Changes in customer expectations Although customers still complain about bad service through contact centers. in order to get closer to the customers’ ultimate goal of zero-queue time and 100% first-call resolution.
takes forever to get a response (if at all). have been appalling. due to the pressure that customers put on them.Businesses cannot dictate the methods by which their customers wish to contact them – almost all of the “Internet-only” banks eventually decided to offer a phone channel as well. with no opportunity to enter into a conversation – why take a week to have a six-sentence email conversation when you could speak it in a minute? This is why email hasn’t taken off – there is little need for it from the customers’ perspective. making virtual contact centers and part-time staff a more important part of the contact center mix Independent homeworking will continue to be niche. we believe email will never achieve the target rates of 25-50% that many large companies have stated as their aim for this channel. as the job becomes more demanding this will create the need for contact centers to offer more flexible hours and locations. as at least it can offer some real-time conclusions. and go some way to explaining occasional poor performance: 24/7 culture will become ever more prevalent the need for more skilled and highly-trained contact center staff will increase. Changes in working practices The next five years will see the continuing development of working practices and customer expectations which have put so much pressure on the contact center industry. away from the traditional central contact center model there will be a greater need for IT-aware business staff to keep knowledge bases. we believe there is a case for seeing team leaders being based at satellite locations with small teams. PCs may have to be booted-up and it offers no realistic opportunity of having a real-time conversation. but companies are slow to offer it. generally. and customers have been put off from using this channel very quickly. We would question the whole concept behind email as a customer-tobusiness interaction tool. Email response times.75 - . We would expect text chat to have a greater share of overall interactions. However. Email is slow to use. and there is no advantage to the customer to be waiting longer than it would take to pick up a phone. and the ability to change providers who fail them is becoming ever more easy. agent decision support systems and website/databases up-to-date IP architectures will become mainstream. as management issues and concerns will not go away. and many customers are tentative about trying it. Typing also takes longer than talking. Customers have become more demanding in the performance that they expect from the companies they choose to do business with. As such. Customers do not contact businesses for a chat – most interactions are something that needs to be done and/or confirmed. .
As such. Currently. The use of a PDA with limited intelligence which interrogates company systems on behalf of a customer seems likely. customers will choose the means and time to communicate with businesses which offers them the greatest chance of a swift and successful resolution. this is through talking to other people. will be prevalent. Based on this. and we see no reason for this to change Customers do not particularly want to do business with other people – most lead increasingly busy lives. Although there has been lots of talk of getting the contact center to increase revenues. and organisations want to do business profitably. especially via speech.76 - . and in particular. Actual live calls to a company will be more likely to come from existing customers Customer expectations will be so high that there will be no contact center queue. and purchases will be carried out after reviewing options. The contact center still gives both parties a reasonable result. we have assumed that: Businesses will continue to place profitability above all things. and will have taken over from live voice contact as the no. When looking into the far future.The contact center in 2025 Although technology moves quickly. will be ruthless in their pursuit of lower costs. in most cases. and see interacting with businesses just as a task to get through. the reason that contact centers were set up still remains – customers want to do business quickly. Most large businesses will operate a virtual contact center. funding has been granted more easily to projects and initiatives which can prove short-term cost reduction. although this may change. Potential purchasers will use a real or virtual broker to determine the best deal based on their requirements. we believe that the following have a good chance of occurring: The customer experience Self-service. Customers may still allow the use of call-back technology – it is unclear to what extent customer impatience will further develop . using outsourcers or in-house staff not based at the contact center site itself.1 customer-to-business communication method A greater number of initial purchases of goods will be done without actually contacting a company.
The average agent will be highly-skilled. It is possible that they will be based in multiple separate locations in very small teams Businesses will need to be careful not to overload agents with data. and systems will empower them to make decisions Voice will continue to be the no. Technology will be used which identifies words in a conversation. although this will not necessarily through a live voice option Inbound security checks will carried out automatically though voiceprints. and authorized to make decisions immediately. while providing the agent with more relevant information dynamically.77 - . A speech interface could take over from the use of a keyboard. technically-competent. although there will be many more at the top-end. . as well as service. even in relative terms.Outbound cold calls will have been legislated out of existence.1 customer-agent communication form. reducing call lengths The agent experience There will be fewer agents than today.).g. letting customers know about approaching credit limits. with structured data being filled in automatically as the conversation occurs naturally Training times and salaries for agents will be much higher than today. as it is so flexible and quick compared to any text-based interaction type. etc. late flights. Agents will be skilled in sales and marketing. picking up key words and pushing possible solutions to an agent’s screen Much more emphasis will be placed on clearing the agent desktop of unnecessary clutter. however outbound value-added service will be a strong brand differentiator (e. but will need to present it in a user friendly format.
the profit focus will remain as strong as ever A point will be reached when businesses are avoiding so many calls that they realize that they are no longer communicating with their customers. this focus will probably wane as new commercial theories emerge. rather than vice versa as is the case today. although of course. We believe that the current fad for improving customer satisfaction is driven by CRM theories (rather than altruism).The business experience Interaction recording solutions and the analytical tools behind it will increase in sophistication so that timely information is provided on a daily and digestible basis to operational and senior people for tactical decisions and feedback on marketing How will contact center performance be measured? We do not believe that businesses’ aims will change substantially. which link satisfaction with loyalty. and businesses actually try to engineer chances to talk to their customers. and loyalty with profits. so first-call resolution and the measurement of revenue against total cost of customer service – customer profitability – will grow in importance even more. This means that automation will reach a point when enough is enough. and are losing sales opportunities (even if the customers themselves are quite happy). .78 - . As such.
APPENDIX: ABOUT CONTACTBABEL ContactBabel is the contact center industry expert. If you have a question about how the industry works. or where it’s heading. people and process best fit together.com Telephone: 0870 770 3337 (+44 1740 629835 outside the UK) . If you have a question about your company’s place in the contact center industry. We provide databases of contact centers so that solution providers can target the right people effectively. the chances are we have the answer. and how they will work collectively in the future. The coverage provided by our massive and ongoing primary research projects is matched by our experience analysing the contact center industry. we’ve helped the biggest and most successful solution providers develop their contact center strategies and talk to the right prospects. We help contact centers compare themselves to their closest competitors so they can understand what they are doing well and what needs to improve. Since 2000.com Website: www.79 - . We have shown the Department of Trade and Industry how the UK contact center industry will develop and change. We understand how technology.contactbabel. We can help create marketing messages and analyze how to approach sectors and industries. We also provide benchmarking reports so that contact centers can compare themselves with their competitors. perhaps we can help you. Email: info@contactbabel.
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