According to analyst group Frost & Sullivan, outsourcing firms handling call volumes from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) continue to remain competitive and profitable with successful initiatives to contain cost during the global economic downturn. Outsourcing providers also cite competitive pressures and regulatory factors that may affect future, short-term business growth. The complete effect of the global economic downturn that began at the end of 2007 is that the new business pipeline from existing customers and prospects for several vendors has been promising. Past perceptions of loss of control over customer interactions are diminishing, as providers in this market deploy successful implementations, offer advanced services, and publish customer success stories.
A number of market participants report that they have moved to better align their sales forces with client demand for vertical expertise, especially in financial services, as well as telecom, travel, and healthcare. Many providers are in the process of expanding their respective professional services groups in anticipation of new consulting opportunities.
Currently, the most evident challenge in call centers is that of complexity. This includes increased diversity and complexity of products and services, the need for agents' multi-lingual skills, consumer demand for speed and multichannel media touches, and increased emphasis on cross-selling and up-selling. EMEA providers report dealing with complex industry legislation and regulatory compliance issues.
Those providers offering multiple solutions and agent models, such as client-in house agents, vendor brick-and-mortar agents, self-service options, and work-at-home or remote agents, are in a favorable position to take advantage of the market. Outsourcing firms that have CEO support to execute a solid security strategy, with an established internal security practice, will be well-prepared to meet these important client demands for data privacy, security certifications, and regulatory compliance.
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