• February 22, 2016
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmarCustomerService.com

The 2016 CRM Service Leaders: Contact Center Outsourcing

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THE MARKET

Third-party outsourcing, a market valued at roughly $75 billion, accounts for roughly 25 percent of all contact center spending globally, according to research from the Everest Group. While demand is still robust in Latin America and Asia, adoption in the United States and the United Kingdom flattened. A big reason for the slowdown was a decline in contract renewal rates, particularly as companies start to look at vendors for more than just service performance. Companies are also approaching the outsourcing issue a bit more cautiously, starting at a smaller scope at the beginning of an engagement and expanding the contract over time.

Company requirements have also changed, with greater demand for onshore delivery, multichannel solutions, and business intelligence tools. But despite the challenges, MarketsandMarkets expects the adoption of advanced technologies to fuel industry growth as these solutions become more complicated for all but the most technologically advanced companies.

THE LEADERS

Since acquiring West's agent services business for $275 million in January 2015, Alorica has emerged as a serious contender in the contact center outsourcing space. "Alorica has strengthened its brand positioning, brought further scale, and raised the company's competitiveness and market visibility," said Michael DeSalles, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, in a statement. "The benefit of this acquisition clearly moves Alorica into a leadership position within the industry." The Irvine, Calif.–based company, which has more than 48,000 employees in 73 locations, also benefited from an overall score of 3.9 and analyst scores of 3.9 in company direction and customer satisfaction. Ian Jacobs, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, points out that Alorica's "strong and expanding near-shore strategy provides customers maximum flexibility in terms of siting and cost strategies."

Convergys, which returned to the leaderboard last year, found itself in the same position again in this year's ratings. The Cincinnati-based company, which has 125,000 employees working at 150 locations in 31 countries, scored 3.6 in depth of services and 3.7 in company direction, but John Ragsdale, vice president of research at the Technology Services Industry Association, says its real strength lies in its ability to create partnerships with customers. "Not only does Convergys offer excellent BPO capabilities, but their internal research organization provides fantastic insight for customers on improving operations, driving [customer satisfaction], and increasing service revenue," he says.

Sykes Enterprises made it on the leaderboard again this year largely on its reputation for customer satisfaction, where it earned a score of 3.9. Ragsdale calls it "the most relationship-focused provider I know." The Tampa, Fla.–based company, which employs more than 50,000 people at 67 facilities in 21 countries, is particularly strong in the technology sector, where Jacobs says it has remained "top-of-mind" for many rapidly growing companies.

TeleTech, a One to Watch for many years, has finally taken its place on the leaderboard by virtue of an industry-leading score of 4.4 in company direction. The Englewood, Colo.–based company garnered a score of 4.2 in depth of services, and a 3.9 in customer satisfaction. Jacobs also credits the company with impressive analytics and strategic consulting offers. The company employs 44,000 people across 80 countries.

THE WINNER

Paris-based Teleperformance has by far the largest global footprint of all outsourcers, operating 270 facilities in 62 countries and employing more than 175,000 people, but size alone does not make a leader. For that, Teleperformance can thank industry-leading scores of 4.4 in depth of services and 4.3 in customer satisfaction, and a strong 4.1 in company direction. Of particular note is its multichannel capabilities. "Teleperformance's ability to track customers as they move across channels, including chat, voice, email, social media, and even mobile apps, adds real value for its clients," Jacobs says.

ONE TO WATCH

In December, LiveOps sold its cloud contact center technology platform to Marlin Equity, leaving it with more room to operate its outsourcing business. That business, which employs more than 20,000 independent work-at-home agents, handles over 100 million interactions a year on behalf of more than 400 clients in a wide variety of sectors. The Scottsdale, Ariz.–based company averaged a 4.0 in cost and a 3.9 in depth of services and company direction, but it still has a way to go to challenge its much larger competitors. LiveOps “still needs to execute on a move beyond the telethon, infomercial, and one-off campaign business,” 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.]

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