The year 2012 was a good one for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) contact centre market with contact centre seats growing by 8.4 percent – relatively higher than in other regions. A strongly performing domestic contact centre outsourcing industry represents the next stage of growth in the region and is poised to keep the market buoyant.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "Assessment of Asia Pacific Contact Centre Markets CY 2012", finds that the markets had over 3.7 million agents employed in 2012 and is expected to employ over 6 million agents in 2019.
APAC will continue to experience the highest growth in the global contact centre outsourcing industry, driven by booming domestic markets that are bolstered by increasing demand from the telecommunications and banking and finance (BFS) sectors.
"Historically, offshore revenue has been the key driver of the Asia-Pacific contact centre market, and in 2012 contributed 39.6 percent of the total market," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Manager Krishna Baidya.
Baidya adds that cost savings, a large and relatively low cost labor pool, strong infrastructure, language proficiency and experience of serving western world customers make many Asia-Pacific locations preferred offshore destinations for contact centre outsourcing for American and European companies.
"A growing focus on quality customer service is, at the same time, resulting in domestic contact centre outsourcing escalating in the region as well," says Baidya.
Baidya further elaborates that "demand from local Asian economies is expected to have a high impact during the entire forecast period. Rural BPO is getting attention and offering a viable option to pursue, especially while serving domestic customers."
Customer service enhancement received greater attention in 2012. Contact centres across the region have increasingly started to leverage the available technology and new business models to gain better operational efficiency and cost advantages.
Capital investments on improving agents' interpersonal skills and domain knowledge registered an increase in recognition of the fact that professionally skilled and experienced agents are valuable assets for enterprises.
"The contact centre service segment, including consulting, implementation, management and agents' training services, has become important for vendors and system integrators," remarked Baidya. "More professional agents are set to be recruited and trained in the future to enhance the overall service quality of contact centres."
While being preferred contact centre outsourcing destination meant good news, some concerns – including market saturation, anti-offshoring outlook in many countries, and emergence of alternative locations, increasing attrition rate resulting in swelling costs as well as concerns of quality of services – still remain.
"Traditional third-party outsourcing relationships based on cost and labour arbitrages have become passé," concluded Baidya. "Providing customer service at a lower cost simply won't win more wallet share or new customers anymore. End-to-end support and overall value proposition to customer's business will be key in nurturing customer and provider relationship going forward."