Three quarters of the contact centre outsourcing (CCO) sector invested in enabling technologies in 2014-2015, with analytics, automation and multi-channel tools being the major areas of investment, according to research from consulting firm Everest Group.

“Contact centres across the world are moving into the digital era with a focus on enhanced customer experience in a multi-channel environment,” said Katrina Menzigian, vice president at Everest Group. “Service providers are responding by shifting their value proposition from the traditional, full-time-equivalents (FTE)-based focus on cost containment and implementation to an emphasis on providing insights and innovation to enhance the customer experience.”

There was also an increase in onshoring activity in 2015 as buyers increased their focus on improving service quality and demonstrated a preference for agents located close to customers.

In 2015, the percentage of CCO contracts with significant onshore delivery rose to 53 per cent, compared to 35 per cent in 2010 and 49 per cent in 2013. This trend has also led to the growth in adoption of a work-at-home agent’s model, which incurs lower operational costs than onshore FTEs.

The research also showed that the CCO industry is more focused on value-added services such as performance management, customer retention, customer analytics and channel management. The study also found benefits in automation such as increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, decline in fraudulent activities and reduced average resolution time.

According to the Everest Group, automation has, through the reduction of repetitive tasks they would otherwise have to perform, helped to empower agents to focus more on solving complex customer problems. Automating systems can also predict customer’s problems and can help proactively solve them even before the customer has realised there is one, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall, the global CCO market grew at a rate of 4 per cent in 2015 to reach $75-78billion. The global contact centre spend stood at $300-320billion, of which third-party outsourcing accounted for approximately 25 per cent.

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