New research from Frost & Sullivan finds the contact center outsourcing market in North America is projected to surpass $28 billion in market revenue by 2017.
The business segment known as technology-based services will see the most growth, with a CAGR surpassing 12 percent, compared to a CAGR of just over 3 percent for traditional, agent-based services, the company said.
"An increasing number of consumers are going mobile, and doing so on multichannel, Web-enabled smartphones and tablets," said Stephen Loynd, program director, Frost & Sullivan, in a statement. "It is therefore essential to implement strategies that proactively create value for customers. To do so, providers must focus on multi-channel solutions in order to address the needs of a younger demographic."
While consumers are changing, one implicit question Frost & Sullivan posed throughout its recent research is whether companies are changing fast enough to keep up. How are enterprises responding to the times? Are companies and their outsourced partners succeeding in delivering a holistic, unified Customer Experience?
"In some ways, there's a real sense of vertigo in this industry as new technologies are emerging in the world of customer contact and old models are receding. At the center of this dynamic is a rapidly changing, ever-more influential consumer," Loynd said. "Over the next five years, providers that differentiate and compete on multichannel capabilities and value-add technology solutions will have an edge over providers that largely compete on cost, location, and labor arbitrage. How will providers re-invent themselves and re-imagine the contact landscape?"
These kinds of dynamics mean that enterprises must rethink and rework their outsourcing contracts, and challenge providers to deliver deeper customer engagement and customer lifecycle capabilities.
At the same time, outsourcers are augmenting their value-add technology offerings, such as analytics, hosted and cloud-based contact center applications and managed services. Businesses also are adopting advanced unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools such as social networking technologies, mobility, and video conferencing in order to improve productivity, remote worker collaboration, and customer service.
"It is important that the best outsourcing vendors are perceived as true strategic partners to their clients, helping them innovate and providing significant value-add to the client business and to the client brand," Loynd said. "This involves a proactive approach with clients, particularly when it comes to discussing the evolution towards an omnichannel world. Those that fall short in this area will not make the new 'short list' of providers."