Contact Centers Poised for Growth

Focusing on shifting trends and emerging technologies in the market, London-based business advisory firm Datamonitor released a study that examines the potential growth for the global contact center market over the next five years. The report, called Contact Center Component Technologies to 2007, uses six market trends to predict how fast the market, which is weathering the recession better than other areas of CRM, will grow.

Although the report does include some data on contact centers worldwide, its focuses are the North American and European markets, forecasting 3.8 percent and 8.5 percent growth rates, respectively. According to Datamonitor estimates, the worldwide market for call center component technologies was worth $4.1 billion in 2002, and will increase to $5.5 billion by the year 2007.

"Given the rapidly increasing size of the contact center market, we chose to focus on some of the individual markets, but examined them using trends that were applicable everywhere," says Datamonitor technology analyst Robin Goad.

One of the leading trends examined in the study was the continual networking of the contact centers themselves. A variety of companies are acquiring new contact and call centers through company mergers and acquisitions, Goad says. This is allowing companies to use routing applications to switch calls between the various centers, helping to optimize performance and response times.

Another major market trend is the use of speech-recognition technologies. According to Goad, implementing these technologies will allow companies to leverage their existing investments by filtering questions and requests through a computer system, thereby helping to use their agents' time better and more effectively.

"Sixty percent of all contact center costs are agent costs," Goad, says. "If you can reduce those calls handled by agents by even twenty percent, you'll be able to save millions of dollars."

Other trends used in the study included the rapid growth in the use of IP switches versus TDM switches, the growing use of multimedia technology in contact centers, an increased interested in outbound traffic, and the optimization using existing resources.

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