By Audrey B.
Contact center outsourcing is expected to make a comeback. With the global financial crisis concluded and countries continuing their recovery, outsourcing destinations such as the Philippines, Australia and Chile, are expecting a better outlook for offshore contact center services this year and the next.
According to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines, or CCAP, on the 28th of September, they are expecting the contact center industry to generate revenues of up to $6.15 billion this year with growth rates to remain within the 20% range in the next 10 years. CCAP president Benedict Hernandez estimated that growth this year should be around 23% due to increasing demand. “Voice is still growing and it will continue to grow over the next 10 years,” he said. Last year, contact center seats numbered at 280,000, with call center outsourcing services accounting for two-thirds of the outsourcing business in the country. The Philippines comes second only to India in providing call center outsourcing services, generating almost $5 billion in revenues for 2009. Companies such as call center outsourcing company Aegis PeopleSupport, inContact (NASDAQ:SAAS), and Accenture (NYSE:ACN) have already announced plans to expand in the country.
Meanwhile, the results of an annual survey conducted by Callcentres.net and RightNow which were released last September stated that the Australian contact center industry has increased by 13 percent compared to 2009, with total revenues amounting to $55 billion. The number of contact center seats also increased by 3%. Dr. Catriona Wallace, Managing Director of Callcentres.net, commented,
The industry has well and truly shaken off the effects of the GFC and is back in growth-mode. Revenues, seats and employment are all up and we anticipate that this will continue through to 2011, when the total size of the industry as measured by seats is expected to grow by another 5 percent. Demand is not going to go away, particularly given the move towards multi-channel integration.
Chile, on the other hand, is also expected to see a growth of 5-6% in the contact center industry, according to IDC Latin America on the 24th of September. Revenues are expected to come in at $17 million, up from $16 million in 2009.
The numbers exhibited and projected by these countries are substantial and positive, indicating that call center outsourcing will only grow even more. But while growth in offshore contact center outsourcing services is increasing, the trend towards hiring home-based contact center agents is also gaining popularity.
Provider of contact center services, Alpine Access announced on the 22nd of September that they are currently undergoing expansions in North Dakota in the US, and hiring home-based customer care professionals in the state. The company stated that they are seeking to fill more than 3,000 at-home agent positions until early next year. Fellow call center outsourcing company, Convergys (NYSE:CVG), also announced that they are looking to fill home-based call center positions most recently in the state of Utah, where they are looking for 60 agents. This trend is only expected to continue especially due to the approaching holiday season. According to the CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, John Challenger,
Large companies today are putting in customer service agents in their home, to help customers with their orders, returns, so this is a new type of job, a new way to work.
While at this point it is unlikely that companies will move a sizeable amount of their call center operations nearshore instead of offshore, the search for quality and inexpensive voice services may push the trend towards nearshore in the future. In the meantime, outsourcing destinations can look forward to increased demand for voice services.
Disclosure: No positions