Contact Center Outsourcing is becoming a key influencer of corporate customer experience strategies
Disruption in the contact center outsourcing (CCO) market is bringing an end to contact centers as we know them, according to Everest Group, a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services and sourcing. Recent Everest Group research suggests that the traditional approaches and scope of services that have defined CCO in the past are rapidly evolving into a new set of buyer expectations and service provider capabilities more appropriately considered customer experience services.
The key drivers of this evolution are:
- Evolving customer expectations – Digital-savvy customers are demanding service availability at their channel of choice, and they expect a fast and accurate resolution to their issues. Buyers seek service providers who can help them meet and exceed the expectations of digital-native customers.
- Changing buyer focus – Buyers are becoming more customer centric, with increasing focus on building a loyal customer base. Buyers expect service providers to participate in tailoring innovative customer experience solutions.
- Service provider challenges – Under pressure to deliver tangible business outcomes for their clients, service providers are seeking to make people and technology investments that will equip them to provide differentiated customer experiences.
“We see traditional CCO approaches evolving quite rapidly to those focused on delivering customer experience services,” said Katrina Menzigian, vice president at Everest Group. “This is apparent in the rise of consulting and co-innovation engagement models, the adoption of sophisticated digital services to enable omni-channel customer engagement, and pricing constructs based on tangible business outcomes.” Another insight from the study is that services such as customer analytics, customer retention management and performance management—which once were considered value-added services—were included in almost half of the CCO contracts in the past two years. In other words, buyers have come to expect them as core delivery capabilities because they are required to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
With buyers and service providers looking to redefine contact center relationships and focus on customer experience delivery, the CCO market witnessed a subdued growth rate of 3 percent in 2016 to reach US$78-80 billion. Contributing factors in the decline in growth rate include:
- Rising technology adoption – Use of analytics and automation has reduced human effort, requiring fewer FTEs for the same work
- Geopolitical factors – Buyer apprehension due to Brexit, US elections, etc. led to reduced buyer activity
- Growth of non-voice interactions – Though larger in volume, non-voice interactions have lower costs
As buyers and providers become more mature and come to terms with the disruptions, the market is expected to resume growth at 4-5 percent by 2020.
These findings and more are discussed in “Contact Center Outsourcing Annual Report 2017 – Disruption is Here: The End of Contact Centers as We Know Them.” This report provides an overview of the CCO market, including market size and adoption trends, value proposition and solution characteristics, and service provider landscape.
Other key findings:
- The global contact center spend stands at US$310-335, of which third-party outsourcing accounts for approximately 25 percent
- Multi-region contract signings continue to increase as buyers look to consolidate their service provider portfolio across regions
- The delivery model is leaning towards balanced shoring, as providers look to achieve optimum balance between onshore and offshore delivery
- Technology investments in predictive and prescriptive analytics have risen significantly in the last couple of years
- CCO specialists have witnessed flat growth in 2016. IT + BPO players grew at the maximum rate due to their investments in analytics and automation.
- Enabler technology comprised most of CCO-related investments, amounting to half of the total investments. Analytics, automation and multi-channel tools formed the bulk of enabler technology investments.
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