Industry Research : Low Growth for EMEA Contact Centres
The contact centre outsourcing market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) experienced low growth in 2011.
This is according to a report from market analyst firm Frost & Sullivan – "Analysis of the European, Middle Eastern and African Contact Centre Outsourcing Market" – which notes that the market earned revenues of €12 874.5 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach €14 732.6 million in 2017.
Frost & Sullivan believes the low growth rate trend will persist over the next five years due to the prevailing economic situation in Europe and stiff competition from in-house contact centres.
"Cost savings for enterprises, multi-shoring options and customer contact expertise offered by providers in the market, together with a large, educated labour pool, will promote the outsourcing of contact centre services," noted Frost & Sullivan’s senior research analyst, Sathya Subramanian.
"The current economic situation, which has resulted in enterprises demanding higher-quality customer services, will add further impetus to market development."
The report states that deteriorating margins in certain sectors, due to the economic recession, have resulted in the need to revise cost structures. This has been accompanied by a heightened focus on high-quality customer interactions, and to achieve this, enterprises have started to seek the expertise of third-party outsourcers, it adds.
"Furthermore, in order to circumvent the need for substantial upfront capital expenditures, enterprises are opting to outsource, and hence switch to the operational expenditure model," explains Frost & Sullivan’s industry analyst for ICT in Africa, Ishe Zingoni.
In doing so, enterprises are showing a preference for service providers offering end-to-end solutions, allowing them to streamline their procurement processes and control costs associated with servicing multiple outsourcing contracts, he said.
According to Subramanian, industry is now being driven by the growing demand for low-cost, high-quality customer contact solutions. Multi-shoring capabilities for the various languages in the region and the presence of a large workforce that can offer multilingual contact centre services will boost the industry’s growth in the forecast period.
Even as the contact centre outsourcing market expands, it will face a host of challenges.These range from in-house contact centres, the impact of the economic recession, and strict labour laws, to the presence of unions and the increasing demand for more self-service options.
"In-house contact centres are preferred over third-party outsourcers by many enterprises due to quality and security concerns," explains Subramanian. "Difficult economic conditions have led to enterprises adopting a ‘wait and watch’ approach with contact centres."
Outsourcers are confronting these challenges by offering multi-shoring capabilities and high-quality solutions at optimal costs. Such strategies are expected to help enterprises understand the benefits of outsourcing to third-party providers.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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