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Challenges & the future of the contact centre sector

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Challenges & the future of the contact centre sector Content Key facts About Us Introduction The UK contact centre sector has continued to develop and grow over the last 30 years, with contact centre operations
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Challenges & the future of the contact centre sector Content Key facts About Us Introduction The UK contact centre sector has continued to develop and grow over the last 30 years, with contact centre operations now involving inbound and outbound telecoms services in order to improve client loyalty and relationships. The contact centre industry reached its height in , logging and verifying steady double-digit revenue. Nevertheless, the effects of the recession in the UK, as well as other European economies, radically changed the functioning conditions for contact centres and demand crumpled, triggering revenue to rapidly descend. The contact centre has continued to grow into the hub of many businesses, providing highly valuable information that can help to develop an organisation s products and brands. They drive revenue, improve customer experience and increase sales for the business. The sector continues to develop alongside changes in technology, labour and the cost of international operations, integrating more of a focus on customer relationship management in order to retain customers in a competitive landscape. Industry revenue is evaluated to rise at a compound annual rate of 2.5% over the five years through 2019 to 2.3 billion. Introduction The contact centre sector has been a growing market since the late 1950s, where operations were once traditional customer service focused solutions utilising phone systems as their only means of support. Technological advances had a huge impact on the sector and continue to be a major influence in the market today. The 1990s took contact centres to a new level of technological interaction and engagement and opened up new opportunities for businesses to enter the online arena. The 2000s, saw many companies offshoring with competition rising and margins tightened during the recession and organisations looked to reduce the costs of labour and operations. But despite the challenges that the sector has faced it has continued to grow, particularly as businesses have increased their focus on customer relationship management in order to maintain a loyal customer base and fight off competition. Industry Snapshot Contact Contact Centres Centre Key Industry Facts The Contact Centre industry reached its height in , logging and verifying steady double-digit revenue. Nevertheless, the effects of the recession in the UK, as well as other European economies, radically changed the functioning conditions for contact centres and demand crumpled, triggering revenue to rapidly descend. Inline with the minor upswing of 1.8% during Industry revenue is evaluated to rise at a compound annual rate of 2.5% over the five years through 2019 to 2.3 billion. Revenue Profit Employment Wages 2.2 billion million 1 million 1.2 billion Annual Growth % Annual Growth % Businesses Locations 500 6,000 Outsourcing About 80% of global contact centres were in-house operations, based on the premise that company employees can offer the best customer service because they have in-depth knowledge of the product. However, many organisations are utilising outsourced contact centres that offer greater flexibility, state-of-the-art software and technological innovation. In-house contact centres do invest more heavily in training their employees in order to improve the quality of service but outsourcing offers more opportunity to smaller businesses. Offshoring Many UK brands are establishing offshore centres which can offer lower operational costs and reduced labour spends. Despite recent CRM budget cuts, demand for international contact centres has risen substantially, blocking domestic operators. Rapid telecommunications advancements in developing regions have made offshore outsourcing much easier and more viable. UK businesses tend to look to India when they outsource contact centres because the English language is widely used there. Frenchspeaking contact centres use Morocco as an offshore hub due to the language similarities. However, many UK customers have complained about poor levels of English, particularly when dealing with complicated products or services. This has resulted in some organisations bringing work back to the UK. A recent example was when the UK s biggest mobile operator, EE, announced in February 2014 that they will be bringing back 1,000 contact centre jobs in an effort to solve complicated smartphone and tablet enquiries. Labour Market Changes In the five years preceding the analysis, industry employment has fallen at a faster pace than industry revenue, at a compound annual rate of 3.5%. Specialist contact centres have sought to offer their employees more training and responsibilities but this has resulted in them demanding higher wages. This is reflected in the industry wage bill, which has fallen at a compound annual rate of 2.5% over the five years preceding , although employment numbers dropped by 3.5% per annum over the same period. Businesses have looked to hire more skilled and experienced workforces in order to reduce labour turnover and offer competitive advantage. This workforce has become much more flexible; many opportunities are now for shift workers or temporary workers, allowing contact centres to offer a 24-hour service. Multi-Channel In 2013, 83% of UK households had access to the internet in their home. This has meant more businesses are exposed to customer reviews online. Many have alternative communications solutions using social media, web help and other online platforms to support their customers. Contact centre workers have grown to become key customer relationship management representatives, and they now upsell and cross-sell to their customers as well as increasing their skills on new system. Increased used in technology According to Kelkoo Research (2011), 69% of the UK population will complain if served poorly. This is 29% above the European average. In the past, this statistics was less worrying for businesses as customers had no way to express their concerns or complaints to a wide audience, but social media have given a voice to everyone on the internet. This has made it imperative for companies to manage any problems quickly and professionally, and technology is continuing to drive improvements. Cloud computing is anticipated to dramatically increase demand for the industry s services, as organisations will look to contact centre specialists to host a particular service for them. Clients and contact centres are likely to have complex contracts stipulating their number of agents, management levels, technology and processes. contact centres that can offer individually tailored services will stand out from the crowd. The rise in the use of cloud software will continue to make it much easier for employees to access and use their network anywhere, even globally. Increased used in technology New technology such as voice recognition will continue to be utilised. Advanced voice recognition technology can detect whether a customer is who they claim they are after just 30 seconds of normal conversation, which shortens calls and allows for a better customer experience. Barclays were recently the first financial services firm to deploy voice biometrics in order to authenticate customers in their contact centre. Matt Warman of the Telegraph (2013) reports that A verified voiceprint is used to identify the caller to the system. He continues that Since its introduction, Barclays reported that more than 84 per cent of its customers have enrolled in the voice biometrics solutions, with 95 per cent of those customers successfully verified upon their first use. Use of online customer service With the development of alternative communications using social media, web help and other online platforms, Contact centre workers have grown to become relationship management representatives. Online systems have meant that workers skills and experiences have needed to develop in multi channel customer service, rather than just traditional phone solutions. Training Training has continued to improve. Workers now have access to accurate and up to date information in order to be the best informed for their customers. Becoming a brand ambassador has meant that many contact centre works have to become really knowledgeable on products and services...becoming the brand expert. IT Skills IT skills have become even more important in today s contact centre and will continue to be vital in the future. Many organisations work from cloud computing or CRM systems, where all business information is held and accessible. IT literacy is already important in the sector- but contact centre workers will continue to advance in their use of online systems to access information to provide to their customers. Better software is also making contact workers roles much easier and allowing businesses to be multi site and global yet share the same information systems, embracing the mobility that technology can provide. 24 hour on demand service Consumers will continue to expect on demand support whether that is through a phone, online or an app solution. Many brands are already taking on-demand support to a new level. Amazon s kindle mayday feature is available free, 24 hours a day and presents owners of the Kindle Fire HDX with an Amazon customer service representative, at the touch of a button, via video chat. In a recent press release, they boasted that the average response time when a customer tapped the Mayday button was just 9 seconds, faster than the response time goal of 15 seconds. Reputation Contact centres have had a chequered reputation in the past with scandals involving silent or cold calls. Initially penalties for silent calls were 5,000 but in February 2011, a 2.0 million penalty was introduced for making multiple silent calls to the same customer in one day. This has seen a sharp decrease in these types of calls. The Hub of Business Information The contact centre sector will continue to grow as the hub of information for many organisations, providing highly valuable knowledge that can help develop products and brands. They will drive revenue, improve customer experience and increase sales for the business. Social Media Skills Social media is a much more accessible platform for customers to raise complaints and concerns and we will continue to see contact centres forming more responsibility for online support to help increase loyalty and sales. Technical Knowledge Contact centre workers are dealing with much more technical products today and into the future, meaning much more complex enquiries and support. Many more skilled workers are entering contact centre roles to provide support and be the expert for their brand. Flexibility Our digital age has meant that many customers expect 24 hour on demand service. The workforce has become much more flexible- many opportunities are now shift work or temporary, allowing contact centres to offer 24hour service. Consumers are continuing to want on-demand support- whether that is through a phone, online or app solution. Industry Snapshot Contact Contact Centres Centre About us Cordant Contact Recruitment Ltd, part of a 550m recruitment business, is recognised nationally as one of the fastest growing recruitment agencies in the UK. Since our inception in 1992, we have become firmly established as a leading player in the market for permanent, contract and recruitment solutions. Our specialist Contact division has a proven track record in supplying both permanent and temporary candidates. Our national coverage of 125 sites and local knowledge enables us to cover every facet of recruitment needs within the Contact Centre industry. We are recognised as the agency of choice for a wide range of candidates and clients nationwide. Our Account Managers are supported by a team of experienced recruitment professionals specialising in sourcing, legislative compliance and health and safety regulations. Sourcing Thorough assessment of client requirements Full resourcing campaign Access to over 300k candidate resource pool Screening Fulfilment Tailored applicant vetting service In-depth assessment interviews Candidate skill and culture analysis Defined on boarding process Ensuring positive applicant journey Ongoing process management and reporting Industry Snapshot Contact Contact Centres Centre About us Levels we recruit Inbound Sales Advisors Inbound Customer Service Advisors Inbound Retention Advisors Outbound Sales Advisors Outbound Customer Service Advisors Telesales Advisors Claims Advisors Helpdesk Advisors 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd Line Support Insurance Advisors Customer Care Advisors Team Managers Contact Centre Managers Customer Experience Managers Quality Control Analysts Call Compliance Officers Data Cleansing Agents Web Order Processors Complaint Advisors Correspondence Handlers E-Sales Executives
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