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Current State of Economy Spurning Growth in Contact Center Industry

March 12, 2009

The state of the global economy is on everyone’s minds, even those who have felt little impact. Continuous news of shutdowns and layoffs has dominated nearly every news media outlet, giving the impression there are no jobs to be had.

The reality is that the decline in the economic conditions has been a positive shift for contact centers. In fact, forced cost cutting and layoffs by larger organizations has initiated the increased outsourcing of services that were previously provided by contact centers located in-house.


While this increased push for outsourcing has sparked significant controversy over the past few years as much of this transfer has been done to firms offshore. This type of activity is continuing, yet there is also an increase in outsourcing contact center services to U.S.-based companies, creating jobs.

"Corporations who have made the change find themselves provided with dedicated teams of contact center experts who operate around the clock. Outsourcing also alleviates them of overheads like overtime and other benefits", said Alan Graham, Chief Commercial Officer of the Mindpearl Group, in a company statement.

Mindpearl is one company operating outsourced contact center services offshore, maintaining offices in South Africa, Spain and Australia. On the slip side, Alpine Access is a company who has built success in the U.S. through home-based agents, offering clients a better customer experience and competitive rate as a result of low overhead.

"An increasing number of corporations are finding that a call center is as strong as its call agents. Our experience is that irrespective of how smart the technology or how cool the software, in the end it all comes down to the human factor," said Graham.

While some have reported a decline in customer service due to the lack of face-to-face contact involved in the contact center, those actually operating the centers understand that customers have increased expectations where customer service is concerned. If agents within the contact center cannot deliver on these expectations, customers will go to another provider.

When companies lose customers, they are losing revenue. In this economic environment, companies cannot afford to lose customers and an increased focus on customer service must be enforced. If outsourced options are proving to be more economical and can deliver a better customer experience to protect the base, companies will increasingly turn to these options.
 
At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all for companies who have made customer service a priority. The good news is that there are options that can accommodate nearly every situation and for those contact centers that offer the best solutions, the jobs are likely to continue to grow.

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

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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