Industry Research : Call Centres Grow Up to 15% a Year
The South African call centre market is growing at between 10% and 15% a year and this growth is being driven by a number of factors including the increase in remote contact.
Paul Fick, managing director at Jasco Enterprise, says, for example, a few years ago most bank customers had to go to a branch to resolve queries or complete a transaction.
"Today, we are geared towards electronic banking or online banking and contact centres to transact or resolve queries without having to make a trip to the local branch. More people now call, e-mail or have remote contact with the bank instead of walking in through the front door."
Another major driver is the high cost associated with staff as resources and contact centres provide cost efficient alternatives through "self help" options that are offered through a contact centre, reducing the staff headcount and corresponding payroll costs. "Contact centres provide an attractive value proposition to organisations through proactive outreach functionality, which in turn further reduces the requirement for an increased headcount," says Fick. He says companies are increasingly using expert back-end systems to handle queries more efficiently.
Roz Broome, managing executive: In-Touch Contact Centre at Innovation Group SA, says there has been some down-scaling in the outbound telemarketing area of the financial services sector. However, this may have been countered in the collections sector which appears to have seen rapid growth.
"No doubt the National Credit Act and the global downturn have played major roles in this shift," she says.
Broome says barriers to entry into the contact centre arena have been lowered due the availability of "cloud" solutions versus the need to make substantial in-house capital investments.
Instead of acting as a barrier between companies and their customers, call centres have given organisations another tool which, when used properly, can help improve customer relations and understanding of clients' needs.
"Call volumes help call centre management pick up trends and issues far faster than, for example, a sales team out in the field. The key is whether or not this market intelligence is being used within the organisation," she says.
She notes that given the volume of interaction with customers, call centres are far more cost effective than face-to-face communication. In addition, accessibility is much easier. However, each company needs to incorporate the contact centre into the company strategy to identify the business drivers.
"This in turn leads to what role the contact centre could play in driving down costs or increasing revenue," she says.
Deon Scheepers, regional business development manager of Interactive Intelligence Africa, says a key trend in the call or contact centre environment is that centres are under increasing pressure from businesses to drive revenue and thus are being forced to identify an appropriate balance between cost saving and improved efficiency.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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