Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

New Study Shows Contact Centers Feeling the Crunch in Slow Economy

October 01, 2008

The downturn in the economy has not escaped the contact center industry. While this industry has traditionally experienced significant pressure to improve operations while reducing costs, the intensity has been increased as consumer spending habits have changed and companies are feeling the effects of reduced revenues.

According to research carried out by ContactBabel (News - Alert), the contact center industry is feeling the increase in pressure. Organizations throughout the world are implementing salary freezes, while suffering high attrition and absentee rates.

“The UK Contact Centre Operational Review - 6th Edition (2008)” is a survey of more than 200 U.K. contact center operations and their HR, technological, strategic and commercial issues.

When evaluating the HR side of the contact center, the study showed that new agent salaries have experienced a slight decrease in 2008; attrition has stayed at 30 percent, with finance and telecoms experiencing the highest levels overall; and a lack of upward opportunities and low pay driving high attrition.

ContactBabel also found that only 13 percent of contact center staff leaves their current center to work in another contact center; 81 percent of respondents indicated they were looking to increase headcount in the next year; and recruitment and growth is seen as the number one issue for contact centers.

Steve Morrell, the author of the report, commented in a ContactBabel statement: “There are contradictory pressures on the UK contact centre industry where HR is concerned. As ever, attrition is a problem for most operations, and worse, most departing agents do not move between contact centers, and their skills and experience are completely lost to the industry. In addition to this, the majority of contact centers are planning recruitment drives in 2009.

“Yet agent salaries are not increasing - in fact there has been a very slight decline in average starting salaries since 2007 - and this is shrinking the labor pool further. There is a danger that contact centers will have to lower their recruitment standards to meet their headcount targets, which would have the double negative effect of lowering quality and increasing attrition.

“However, the current economic crisis and concerns about future employment prospects may well reduce attrition rates as employees in general will become more risk-averse, preferring to stay in their current role.”

It is still unclear as to how the overall economy will impact the contact center industry in the long term. The reality is that companies are still fighting for differentiation in the market and their customer service levels play a large role in that, requiring that they place priority focus on their contact centers.

It is still anticipated that many contact centers will continue to morph into revenue centers as agents will go from customer service representatives to customer sales professionals. As it becomes even more essential to lower the cost of contact center operations, the argument for the transition to sales becomes even stronger.  
 
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is The Compelling ROI Benefits of Contact Center Quality and Performance Management Technologies, brought to you by Voice Print International (News - Alert).

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray

Article comments powered by Disqus

Related Contact Center Solutions Articles

Aspect Software Declares War in Workforce Optimization Market

We may be closing in on the holiday season and a time of "good cheer," but reality is that competition in business is a 24/7/365 affair. And, depending on whether you are a competitor or possible customer, it looks like this holiday season thanks to a new initiative by customer experience solutions provider Aspect Software you are either looking at a possible lump of coal in you X-mas stocking or a valuable present. The reason is Aspect has dropped the gloves in the hotly contested Workforce Opt… [ Read More ]
11/21/2014

Ozonetel Integrates CloudAgent with Zoho CRM

A big part of improving the customer experience, regardless of whether you are an enterprise or a service provider, is breaking down the silos of customer information that exist inside an organization. Having a full view of the customer is important to customer lifecycle management and hence the overall customer experience. And, one of the big places to look for enhancing visibility into all things customer related is obviously tight integration with various capabilities with customer relationsh… [ Read More ]
11/21/2014

LiveVox Data Center to Bring Cloud Contact Center Capabilities to Canada

As financial results from various contact center and unified communications (UC) solutions providers continue to flow in for this quarter two things are becoming increasingly clear. First, is that those seeking to upgrade their customer experience capabilities are accelerating the adoption of the cloud and hybrid solutions as their preferred path. Second, is that North America continues to be the hotbed of this with not just the large U.S. market as a target of opportunity, but also the vibrant … [ Read More ]
11/21/2014

Contact Centers Join the Fight-JITC Certifies T-Metrics Contact Center on Microsoft Lync 2013

For the last 10 years, T-Metrics has designed, developed, and deployed numerous approved products on APLITS (Approved Products List Integrated Tracking System. As of today, T-Metrics is the only provider of contact center software that has been JITC certified to work on Microsoft Lync 2013, and their solution can be found on the Approved Products List (APL) for purchase by Department of Defense organizations at www.disa.mil/ucco. [ Read More ]
11/21/2014