Best Call Center/Contact Center Outsourcing Companies: The 2018 CRM Service Leaders
While many expected the return of overseas contact centers to U.S. shores on a massive scale, that hasn’t quite happened yet, but other changes in the contract center outsourcing market have been dramatic nonetheless. Service provider consolidation and changing buyer requirements have become commonplace, according to research firm the Everest Group, which also asserts that providers are working to strengthen delivery capabilities beyond scale enhancement and deliver differentiated offerings. Also under way is a shift toward balanced shoring, increased adoption of multichannel solutions, increased emphasis on value-added services, and increased investments in analytics, automation, and cognitive solutions.
These changes are fueling growth across the industry, which is projected to expand at a compounded annual rate of 9 percent through 2022, at which point it will be worth $125.8 billion, according to Technavio.
After a brief absence, Alorica returns to the leaderboard this year with solid scores in cost (3.8) and customer satisfaction (3.5), though its struggles continue in the breadth of services offered (3.3) and company direction (3.2). The company already handles 600 million consumer interactions per year with 100,000 employees in approximately 140 locations across 16 countries, but analysts expect an even stronger customer response to the Irvine, Calif.–based outsourcer in the future. “As nearshore becomes even more interesting to brands, Alorica’s name is increasingly coming up,” notes Ian Jacobs, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
Miami-based Sitel posted a 3.7 in the breadth of services offered by its 75,000 employees scattered across more than 150 locations in 25 countries, but otherwise struggled somewhat, earning mediocre scores of 3.4 in company direction and customer satisfaction and a category-low score of 3.2 in cost. Jacobs says that “with its expansion into digital agency and digital marketing terrains, Sitel looks headed toward a broader customer experience management approach where outsourcing is just a piece of the puzzle.”
Another Florida-based outsourcer, Sykes Enterprises, also returns to the leaderboard this year after a brief absence. The company, which operates 65 locations in 20 countries with a staff of about 55,000, had strong scores in cost (3.8) and customer satisfaction (3.6). And while its score in breadth of services offered was a little less impressive (3.4), company direction was where it really fell short (a category-low 2.8). Jacobs notes that Sykes is “still chugging along on the digital front, which will be key for any outsourcer’s long-term health.”
TTEC Holdings (formerly TeleTech) posted a strong score (3.8) in the breadth of services offered by its 49,500 employees across six continents, but the Denver-based company struggled in the other categories. Jacobs notes that “although the name change to TTEC may not help erase the association with traditional outsourcing, the company has made great strides in the digital strategy world. That, more than the name change, will move customers’ attitudes.”
After dropping from the winner’s spot last year, Paris-based Teleperformance reclaims it in this year’s balloting. The only foreign company to make the top six, it continues to impress in the breadth of services offered, where it earned a category-leading score of 4.1. That’s not surprising since it is also the world’s largest outsourcer, with 217,000 employees across 340 contact centers in 74 countries and 160 markets. It also outperformed most competitors in company direction (3.7) and customer satisfaction (3.6). Teleperformance “is on pretty much every short list” and is “still the one to beat, especially for global programs,” Jacobs says.
ONE TO WATCH
Last year’s winner, Cincinnati-based Convergys, drops to the One to Watch spot this year as scores dipped in every criteria but cost. A relative bright spot, besides cost, was its 3.6 score in the breadth of services offered by its 130,000 employees at more than 150 locations in 33 countries. The company, of late, has also placed more of an emphasis on solutions delivery. For example, “a very strong analytics practice augments Convergys’s wide reach,” Jacobs says.
[Editor's note: The overall award rating is based on a composite score of analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost. For the cost score, analysts gave the highest marks to vendors with the lowest expected costs. Company revenues were also factored into the overall score, but these numbers are not included in the chart above.]