Changing in Response to Consumer Backlash

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<p><strong>London &mdash; July 6</strong><br />There is no question outsourcers will continue to give their customers a solid mix of offerings related to horizontal functionality, but according to a report by independent market analyst Datamonitor, &ldquo;Horizontal Contact Center Outsourcing Trends to 2012,&rdquo; the manner in which traditional services provided are delivered is shifting. </p><p>These include inbound customer care, outbound sales and marketing and technical support, in addition to relatively new functions such as business-to-employee care. </p><p>The handling of outbound sales and marketing, in particular, is changing in response to consumer backlash. </p><p>In addition outsourcing vendors have their fingers on the pulse and have new services such as &quot;warm calling&quot; and debt collation cued.<br /><br />From the standpoint of contact centers, Datamonitor&rsquo;s report examines what emerging trends are in store in 2007 in terms of functionality, as well as how outsourcers can best meet the requirements of both investors and consumers.<br /><br />A function-by-function analysis by Datamonitor indicates inbound customer care, which could include contact center agents handling loyalty programs or taking messages, will remain the largest single horizontal market through 2012, accounting for nearly half of all outsourced contact center agent positions (APs).&nbsp; </p><p>Outbound sales and marketing (proactive selling of products and services) contact center APs are expected to proportionately drop through this period. <br /><br />Investors in outbound sales and marketing services have faced considerable hostility from consumers and governments over the past four years, which has manifested in a number of do-not-call lists.&nbsp; </p><p>Peter Ryan, Datamonitor senior analyst for contact center outsourcing and offshoring with the technology business unit and author of the report, said this has meant a shift in how outbound calling is handled.<br />&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;Contact center outsourcers are getting smarter in how they handle outbound calling,&quot; Ryan said. &quot;Clearly, telemarketing is no longer a method of choice. However, new markets are being found in outsourced post-purchase follow-up calls (warm calling), which increase end-user satisfaction, as well as cross-sell/upsell opportunities.&nbsp; </p><p>&quot;In addition, there are excellent opportunities in both debt collection and charity/political calling in Western locations.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ryan also said telemarketing need not be totally discounted from the perspective of emerging economies.<br /><br />&ldquo;In locations where economies are developing, outbound sales and marketing does not generate the same hostility as in North America and Western Europe,&quot; he said. &quot;This could mean new opportunities for outsourcers looking to diversify their functional mix.&rdquo; <br /><br />But Ryan is quick to point out that investors need to conduct due diligence in regard to outbound calling in any jurisdiction in which they do business.<br /><br />Inbound customer care is also expected to shift to revenue generation opportunities.&nbsp; Ryan said more contact center investors are looking to outsourcers to help ensure end-user enquiries turn into cross-sell/upsell opportunities. <br /><br />&ldquo;Investors are taken with the idea of migrating their customer care operations from cost centers into profit centers,&quot; he said. &quot;Outsourcers are leading this effort by providing well-trained contact center agents in both service and commercial aptitudes. However, it is certain that in order to turn a client query into a new deal, contact center agents must ensure that the reason for the call is resolved fully and that a level of trust is built between the contact center agent and the caller.&rdquo;<br /><br />Developing a horizontal contact center mix that drives new investment is a priority for outsourcers, and one that is multidimensional, Ryan said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Outsourcers looking for the optimal mix of contact center service offerings need to first consider the opportunities being afforded by geography and vertical market,&quot; he said. &quot;Once they have identified potential sweet spots, they should examine the nuances associated with each separate function they wish to provide, identifying any potential challenges. Once this analysis has been made, outsourcers need to consider their own internal operations in order to determine what they are capable of doing at that point in time and in what they may need to invest for the future.<br /><br />&ldquo;Like any sector, contact center outsourcing is evolving in the services that it provides investors. By ensuring continued innovation in all aspects of functionality, outsourcers are able to meet the needs of their partners and end-users. However, those that succeed will be the players that can pinpoint market opportunities, and how their operations can meet those requirements.&rdquo;</p>

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