EMEA Call Center Outsourcing Is Primed For Growth
Research firm Datamonitor today released a report that underscores the growth of call center outsourcing in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) over the next five years.
According to the report, "Call Center Outsourcing in EMEA," of the nearly 1.2 million agent positions in the region, 150,000 (12 percent) are currently outsourced to a third party within EMEA. Datamonitor predicts this number will have almost doubled to 290,000 by 2007--16 percent of all agent positions in the region.
"The cheaper companies can serve their customers, the higher the margins will be on service," says Robin Goad, managing analyst of CRM at Datamonitor.
Additionally, offshore hosting is expected to surge in EMEA. Goad expects some 60,000 of the EMEA agents to support offshore clients by 2007. Some of the regions warming up to offshore outsourcing include Eastern Europe, India, North Africa, South America, and South Africa.
Africa and The Middle East are seeing the highest growth rates. The number of offshore-outsourced agent positions in Africa and the Middle East will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent between 2002--2007, significantly above the EMEA average of 14 percent, the report states. By 2007 there will be 40,000 offshore-outsourced agent positions in the region.
Although Goad says some major customer concerns of offshore outsourcing are agent accents and cultural differences, he says offshore agents are often trained on the local accents and dialects of the regions they support, and also stay knowledgeable on various cultural items relating to the region they support.
For most companies, Goad says, "running call centers is not their core competency, and handing customer service over to a company that has been doing it for 15 years makes more sense. A call center outsourcing company understands best practices and invests more money in how they train their agents. People are pretty much looking for expertise."
However, Goad adds that although companies are farming out high volume/low value customers to a third party call center, many companies in EMEA are not willing to hand over their high valued--clients, and continue to support larger clients in-house.
Half of all outsourced agent positions in EMEA, Goad says, come from the telecommunications, technology, and financial services industries.