Contact Centers Slip in Outsourcer Rankings
Call centers aren't as heavily represented this year in Brown-Wilson's third annual ranking of the top 50 global outsourcing vendors. In the recently released 2007 Black Book of Outsourcing study, which surveys about 120,000 outsourcing customers to identify the 50 best-managed global outsourcing vendors across all categories, Convergys (ranked 6) and TeleTech (ranked 16) were the only two call-center vendors to rank among the top 50. Broken out by top-ranking retail, catalog, e-commerce, and consumer product outsourcers, TeleTech placed second and Convergys third.
But that doesn't necessarily mean their level of service has declined, says Doug Brown, managing partner at Brown-Wilson. "If we look into the top 100 we see a larger section of call center vendors," Brown says. "In the past we've had about 10 percent of the top 50 represented by the call and contact center industry."
Companies surveyed by Brown-Wilson more stringently scored contact and call centers than in surveys past because they may be more aware of what centers could and should offer. "Call center customers are becoming the most savvy customers of all," Brown says. "The ones who use CRM and call centers seem to know how to qualify different vendors."
The ratings clip doesn't mean the level of call centers' services are declining, Brown says. Rather, more vendors of a variety of stripes are getting into outsourcing. Companies who offer knowledge processing, legal processing, and document management capabilities to clients received high scores for 2007, likely because their services are pushed faster to clients and can be readily quantified, Brown says. Legal processing vendors offer paralegal or contract-management services while document-management outsourcers organize a client's documents within a database, scan documents, and ship when necessary. "They're growing much more popular because they can be quick deliverers of results," Brown says.
To carry out the study, Brown-Wilson surveyed nearly 120,000 outsourcing decision makers as well as individuals in corporations, businesses, organizations and government agencies that use, offer, and are employed in outsourcing services. The survey link was also available on several Web sites. Survey participation was voluntary and anonymous.
The 2007 Black Book found customers shifting focus from outsourcers that perform cheaply and quickly to vendors that focus on client needs, such as responding quickly to help clients manage a crisis. It also uncovered a trend among clients away from multisourcing--outsourcing different aspects of a business to different vendors--toward contracting with fewer vendors who can meet more outsourcing needs.
"Companies are looking with a sharper eye than ever at how vendors meet their outsourcing needs," Brown says. The companies that performed best in 2007 "focused on adapting to their clients' strategies rather than applying a cookie-cutter approach."
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