We at ContactCenterSolutions spend a lot of time touting the benefits of “reshoring,” or bringing call center business back from foreign spots to U.S. shores, thanks to the benefits of more affordable options such as home and distributed agent pools. But the truth of the matter is that the Asian call center industry is still booming and predicted to do so for many years to come. While 2012 recorded modest growth for the Asia-Pacific region, growth is expected to pick up starting this year.
The important thing to keep in mind with Asia-Pacific call center growth is that it’s not necessarily offshore outsourcing from Europe or North America causing the boom: it is domestic growth meeting rising consumer demand. But with the latter, as with the former, quality has started to become an issue, and it’s definitely a thorn in the side of the region’s call centers. Many Asian operators, used to competing on costs alone, have grown quickly, and their emphasis hasn’t necessarily been on quality and breadth of offerings.
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This needs to change, say many industry experts, if the region hopes to service customers to the standards they expect. As a result, it has fostered something of a boom in advanced contact center technologies, according to analyst group Frost & Sullivan, which recently released a new report called, “Asia-Pacific Contact Center Applications Market.” The report found that the market recorded revenues of $703.1 million in 2012 with predicted revenue rising to $1.1 billion by 2019. Japan and Australia, the two largest markets, contributed over 44 percent of the total revenue in 2012. By 2019, India and China are likely to account for over 31 percent of the total market revenue.
"With limited green field opportunities, vendors have turned their focus to upgrades and new technology advancements," said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Manager Krishna Baidya. "Solution providers are helping enterprises to offer seamless service experience across myriad of channels to their customers. This is also meant to integrate existing systems with new channels of communication and business applications to effectively manage the increasing use of multi-modal customer contacts."
While Asian contact centers will likely be able to compete on price for years to come, competing on quality of service will require that they spend some money to build in the features clients and customers want: multichannel, multimedia, skills-based routing, workforce optimization, speech technology and analytics, social media and more. Without entering the twenty-first century, it doesn’t matter how well Asian contact centers can compete on cost: customers still won’t want to buy what they’re offering.