Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Study Reveals Surprising Insights into Global Contact Center Industry; Part: II

September 08, 2006

Contact centers as an industry have changed dramatically over the years and many lessons have been learned along the way. This week we are examining a study produced by ContactCenterWorld that examines the industry as a whole to determine its current status and gain a true understanding of the future of the industry.
One area of intense concentration is that of staffing the contact center. The industry claims one of the highest attrition rates with North America as the region with the highest staff turnover rates. Due to the large costs associated with high turnover, contact center leaders are consistently searching for ways to reduce this number.
Proper training and coaching for the contact center employee has been consistently identified as one critical element to reversing the trend. In order for this to occur, management to staff ratios must be such that effective practices can take place. Throughout the world, the average ratio for agents to supervisors is 9:1 and for supervisors to managers is 4.4:1.
The recruitment process is another area where the contact center manager has the opportunity to identify whether or not the potential candidate possess the necessary skills to be successful in the contact center. In fact, 60 percent of those contact centers involved in this study reported that screening is done by telephone in the recruitment process.
Criminal background checks are required in 38.5 percent of contact centers and 13 percent of centers in Asia Pacific rate local competition for staff as extreme versus only 3 percent in North America.
Pay scales certainly enter into consideration when rating the satisfaction of the contact center employee. The highest paid agents in the world are those in Switzerland. These agents earn, on average, 25 times more than their counterparts in Afghanistan. South Africa has the lowest average pay for agents and North America offers the highest.
Absenteeism presents a challenge for the contact center as it may leave the center understaffed during peak call volumes times and thus customers receive less than expected levels of service. The highest absenteeism rates were seen in the Middle East and Africa with 16.5 percent. The region with the lowest lower overall absenteeism among agents throughout the world is Europe.
Technology in the contact center can be used to improve efficiency, productivity and the services that are delivered to each customer. However, according to the study, only 7.2 percent of contact centers rate their use of contact center technology as cutting edge.
However, many respondents, at least 20 percent, did indicate plans for incorporating more technology into the contact center in the future. These planned implementations include CRM, CTI, e-mail management, e-learning, quality monitoring/recording, speech recognition, Web chat and workforce management.
Check back Monday as we examine contact center performance throughout the world.

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