With the global economic downturn heaving its last gasp in 2010, enterprises are reviving expenditure on customer service. To meet the rising customer demand, the region recorded a 9.7 percent growth in contact center agent seats to reach 2.5 million in 2011, and by 2018, it is expected to have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1 percent to touch 4.0 million. All emerging markets are expected to maintain double digit growth for the same period, leading the overall market development for Asia Pacific.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan http://www.contactcenter.frost.com, Assessment of the Asia-Pacific Contact Center Market, finds that the Asia Pacific had 3.48 million agent seats in 2011 and estimates this to reach 5.9 million in 2018.
The Asia Pacific will also demonstrate the highest growth in the global contact center outsourcing in 2012 and beyond. Much of this growth will be driven by the upswing in domestic demand, especially from the telecommunications and banking and finance (BFS) sectors. However, this rapid growth in the number of contact center outsourcers will spark off concerns about market saturation.
Markets in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are already showing signs of saturation and are on the higher-end of the growth curve.
“Contact center owners in the Asia Pacific will credit most of their success to the region’s large and cheap labor pool with considerable English and regional language skills, solid infrastructure, and cultural similarities with western countries,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Krishna Baidya.
The intensifying focus on quality customer service has piqued the interest of domestic enterprises, which has, in turn, raised the level of competition in emerging markets. Customer service enhancement continues to receive priority, as enterprises are investing more capital in contact centers that offer superior client satisfaction.
While agent numbers are likely to escalate across the region, the market will also experience significant attrition. The attrition rates in the Asia Pacific contact center market will be higher than the rates in other markets due to high stress levels and career opportunities in other industries. In 2011, while the average attrition rate for the Asia Pacific contact center market as a whole was approximately 19.1 percent; India’s alone was nearly 25 per cent.
One of the main reasons for agents’ lack of stickiness with the job is that with most organizations attempting to cut costs, the wages of contact center agents have remained relatively low in the past three years.
“Many enterprises were investing more on system upgrades rather than in improving agents’ interpersonal skills and domain knowledge,” noted Baidya. “Fortunately, this trend is phasing out with outsourcers recognizing the importance of having well-trained and well-recompensed agents.”
Contact center service segments including consulting, implementation, management, and agents’ training services have risen in importance for vendors and system integrators. Consequently, contact center providers in the region are slowly expanding their offerings to include non-voice, back-office operations such as knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), financial and accounting outsourcing (FAO), and human resources outsourcing (HRO).
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Assessment of the Asia-Pacific Contact Center Market is part of the Contact Centers Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: APAC Outsourcing Outlook, APAC Hosted Contact Center Market and APAC Contact Center Applications Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.