of the Industry Report 1st Quarter 2010
Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers, David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org
The NACC is
on the cutting edge of what happens in macro economic terms within the
contact center industry. For over a decade our research team has
tracked call centers as they open, close, expand, contract, add
employees, layoff employees, move centers overseas, and much more. As
we do each quarter, we report the most recent data in 11 contact center
verticals within each state to allow professionals in the contact
center industry to be aware of the trends to make the best, and most
informed, decisions possible for their business. In the post-recession
era of getting back to business basics, it make sense to have this data
at your fingertips before spending the limited capital available for
your business. So, how do you receive these quarterly reports? Simple,
join the NACC. Below is the executive summary from the 1st Quarter 2010
report. Next month's issue will highlight the 2nd quarter 2010 report
In the first quarter of 2010 more call center jobs were gained in the
United States than were lost creating a four quarter long job recovery
from the recession low of 4th quarter 2008. The number of call centers
opening versus closing was, however, a slight net negative, indicating
that the call center industry is not 100% out of the recessionary woods
yet. The call center job losses were most pronounced in the
Telecommunications vertical. The largest growth came from the
Government sector. Some states, such as Utah and Georgia, had a strong
growth in call center jobs while other states, such as California and
Virginia, showed a loss of call center jobs.
details, including charts and graphics of this and more data, join the
NACC at http://www.nationalcallcenters.org/membership.php.
Practices Study Reveals Maturing Contact Centers
Bocklund - President Strategic Contact, email@example.com
competitive athletes, successful contact center professionals always
like to keep an eye on the score. If you're in the game, you want to
know how you're doing over time and in relation to others.
Centerserve's recent release of the 2010 Call Center Best Practices
Report provides a perspective on what's happening in the trenches for
130 companies around the world, and how things have changed since the
2007 report. While we can't render generalizations about a large,
diverse and complex industry based on a limited sample size, we can
offer a few observations from reading the report.
Consistent with other industry data, most participants in the 2010
survey are single-site, small- to medium-sized centers (100 seats or
less). China moved into the number two participant spot behind the
United States, edging out India. This surge in activity suggests
growing consumerism in that economy which (naturally) calls for
The top KPIs show the participant centers are truly operating in a
best practices mindset. Service level and customer satisfaction
outpace all other KPIs, the latter having made a big leap up the list
over the last three years. Fifty-six percent of participants measure
customer satisfaction with a focus on the contact center (not just
general enterprise satisfaction studies), most using phone call or
email rather than mail or IVR. The KPI list also includes first contact
resolution and cost per contact, reflecting the importance of
optimizing the customer experience as well as operational costs. In
addition, ninety-one percent of participants have formal quality
monitoring programs that provide targeted agent feedback as well as
input to training and process improvements.
It's a multichannel world, with 80% of participating centers offering
email and nearly 40% supporting text chat. Most centers report
increased inbound call volumes even with the diversification of
channels, the use of the web, social media and mobile devices, and a
sluggish economy. [We can't throw out those Erlang C tables yet!]
Clearly the demands on and role of the center continue to grow.
Most centers (87%) have gotten on the pay-for-performance bandwagon by
offering agents incentive compensation. KPIs alone may motivate, but
KPIs and bonus money seem to drive results. Another interesting tidbit
showing investment in staff: despite ever-present pressures on
operating costs, half of the participants are increasing agent training
time. This data may reflect a willingness to spend money to most
effectively serve customer needs and may also emphasize the growing
complexity and diversity in contacts which ultimately demands more
I take all these results as signs that management gets the role
service excellence plays in attracting and retaining customers. In
short: What we do, how we do it, and how customers perceive our work
all impact the bottom line.
While these findings suggest a growing maturity in contact center
operations and management, there are a few clear opportunities for
improvement. Escalations are on the rise primarily due to customer
dissatisfaction with company policies and agent inability to help, both
of which cry out for process reviews. And Supervisors continue to feel
an imbalance in where they should spend their time and where they do
spend their time: training, analysis and QM are the targets, but
meetings, problem resolution, and staffing/scheduling
disproportionately consume them.
consulting practice, we always find people are eager to look at
benchmark data to compare themselves to others in their industry. A
best practices study such as Centerserve produces every few years
provides that comparison point (complete with bar graphs and pie
charts) while also reflecting industry trends. For centers that crave
an understanding of what others are doing, these types of studies are a
valuable resource for the market. Compare your center to others and
think about what you might want to put on your to do list to move a
step closer to being the best.
Visit www.call-center.net for more information on Centerserve and their
recently released report.
Survey Results Indicate Industry Optimism
Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and
Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
in last month's In Queue newsletter, the NACC has launched its third
annual survey of the attitudes, opinions and intentions of contact
center professionals. The results will provide a benchmark for readers
to better understand how their own industry perspective compares to
that of their peers. As always, survey results will be reported in
future issues of In Queue and NACC members will have the opportunity to
request cross-tabulations or other inquiries to help them better
understand the results.
If you haven't yet participated in the survey, please take a few
minutes to do so now. I designed the survey so that it could be
completed in less than five minutes. There are no open-ended, time
consuming questions -- just boxes to tick. I promise you the few
minutes it takes you will be time well-spent as your perspective
becomes part of the industry perspective published in this newsletter
and becomes the basis for other research that we will launch throughout
the next year.
To participate in the survey click on this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/258PTTG
Many of you
have already participated in the survey and for that we thank you.
Because of your dedication to your profession we have some early survey
results that all of our readership may be interested in. Remember,
these are early results and are subject to change as the number of
survey participants increases but I think they are worthwhile to
discuss as the results develop.
As the country continues to struggle through a fragile economic
recovery, there is a clear sense of optimism in the contact center
industry, according to our early survey results. We asked respondents
what their expectations were for the economy in 2011 compared to 2010.
52.6 percent of respondents indicated their belief that next year will
be somewhat better or much better economically than this year. 44.1
percent believe that next year won't be any worse than this year and I
consider that a positive response given the volume of bad economic news
the media enjoys bombarding us with every day. Only 3.4 percent of
respondents think next year will be somewhat worse economically than
this year and there wasn't a single respondent so far who thought that
2011 will be much worse economically than 2010.
Respondents are even more optimistic about how well their own
businesses will do in 2011 compared to 2010. 56.2 percent of
respondents felt that the company they work for will do somewhat better
or much better in 2011 than it did in 2010. 37.5 percent believed that
business in 2011 will be about the same as it was in 2010 and only 6.3
percent of respondents thought that their business would do somewhat
worse in 2011.
The majority of respondents that indicated a belief that their business
would do somewhat worse next year were in the financial services
vertical market. Other respondents in this category came from the
health care and publishing vertical markets.
The industry's overall optimism is also reflected in agent hiring plans
for the next year. 28.1 percent of respondents indicated that they plan
to add additional agent headcount over the next year. 65.6 percent of
respondents expect their agent headcount to remain stable over the next
year while only 6.3 percent of respondents expect to reduce agent
headcount over the next year.
Those most optimistic in terms of hiring plans over the next year were
from the retail vertical market, which is somewhat surprising given the
current news reports of sagging consumer confidence in the U.S.. Other
vertical markets with a strong showing in hiring intentions included
Computer and Software and Third Party Outsourcing.
If you've read this far you are obviously interested in this type of
data. If you've read this far and haven't yet participated in our
survey, you need to rectify that oversight immediately. Just go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/258PTTG
to ensure that your voice is heard among the dedicated customer service
professionals who have already participated in our annual survey.
Look for more survey results in upcoming issues of In Queue. NACC
members are welcome and encouraged to contact either David
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or me with questions or comments
regarding this survey project.
and Pop Culture Coming to a TV near you soon
Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers, David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org
television network announced that starting fall 2010 a new show titled
"Outsourced" which will follow a cast of characters of an India-based
call center serving the US market. This comedy is apparently not only
going to parody the Indian call center worker from the American
perspective, but also draw on how odd the US culture looks to the
Indian call center agent.
that a sitcom was bought by one of the large networks with the offshore
contact center focus should tell us how pervasive the offshore contact
center experience has become for Americans. This national experience
should allow the audience to empathize with the situations the writers
put before us on the screen. This combined with Senator Schumer's
promise to bring a call center offshore fee legislation before the
senate should prove to be a very interesting fall for all of us in the
contact center industry.
Call Center Comics!
If you like
this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at
email@example.com and visit his website at http://callcentercomics.com/cartoon_categories.htm
or just click on the comic to take you to his page. The NACC
appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.
view past issues of In Queue, please click here.
If you would like to contribute to In Queue, please reply to
this email with "Contribute" in the subject line.
2010 National Association of Call Centers