The year 2012 was a good one for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) contact center market with contact center seats growing by 8.4 percent – relatively higher than in other regions, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
A strongly performing domestic contact center outsourcing industry represents the next stage of growth in the region and is poised to keep the market buoyant. The research also found that the markets had over 3.7 million agents employed in 2012 and is expected to employ over 6 million agents in 2019.
APAC will continue to experience the highest growth in the global contact center outsourcing industry, driven by booming domestic markets that are bolstered by increasing demand from the telecommunications and banking and finance (BFS) sectors.
"Historically, offshore revenue has been the key driver of the Asia-Pacific contact center market, and in 2012 contributed 39.6 percent of the total market,” said center outsourcing for American and European companies," noted Frost & Sullivan research manager Krishna Baidya, in a statement. “Cost savings, a large and relatively low cost labor pool, strong infrastructure, language proficiency and experience of serving western world customers make many Asia-Pacific locations preferred offshore destinations for contact center outsourcing for American and European companies. A growing focus on quality customer service is, at the same time, resulting in domestic contact center outsourcing escalating in the region as well. Demand from local Asian economies is expected to have a high impact during the entire forecast period.”
Customer service enhancement received greater attention in 2012. Contact centers across the region have increasingly started to leverage the available technology and new business models to gain better operational efficiency and cost advantages. Capital investments on improving agents' interpersonal skills and domain knowledge registered an increase in recognition of the fact that professionally skilled and experienced agents are valuable assets for enterprises.
"The contact center service segment, including consulting, implementation, management and agents' training services, has become important for vendors and system integrators," said Baidya. "More professional agents are set to be recruited and trained in the future to enhance the overall service quality of contact centers."
While being the preferred contact center outsourcing destination meant good news, some concerns – including market saturation, anti-offshoring outlook in many countries, emergence of alternative locations, increasing attrition rate resulting in swelling costs as well as concerns of quality of services – still remain.
"Traditional third-party outsourcing relationships based on cost and labor arbitrages have become passe," Baidya said. "Providing customer service at a lower cost simply won't win more wallet share or new customers anymore. End-to-end support and overall value proposition to customers' business will be key in nurturing customer and provider relationships going forward."