Customer Relationship Management / Business Process Outsourcing (CRM / BPO): Transaction count and volume decreased as companies strategize on the implementation of AI and the use cases in outsourcing. However, investors remain bullish on geographic expansion to support blending wage rates and labor market diversification.
According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2023 report, generative artificial intelligence, digital customer service, and conversational user interfaces (CUIs) are set to revolutionize customer service and support by 2028. These technologies share a common theme of streamlining the customer journey and meeting rising customer expectations. Generative AI is expected to play a significant role, with Gartner predicting that by 2025, 80% of customer service organizations will use generative AI to enhance agent productivity and customer experience. Conversational user interfaces, which facilitate natural language interactions, are essential for automation via chatbots, improving customer experience. Digital customer service, focused on seamless conversation orchestration across digital channels, will reduce customer effort and enhance satisfaction as customers increasingly seek self-service options. These innovations are expected to transform customer service by making it more efficient and customer centric.
In an article published by Phillip Britt in DestinationCRM, Phillip discusses how contact centers have historically relied on automation to reduce costs and improve customer service but emphasizes the limitations of automation for handling complex customer issues. The article highlights the shift towards blending different forms of AI (attended, assisted, and fully automated) to streamline workflows and enhance customer service. These AI technologies leverage real-time customer intelligence and are designed to work together to provide optimal customer interactions. The article notes that despite AI’s long history in the contact center industry, many organizations are still using outdated systems, and self-service capabilities are often lacking. The benefits of blended AI include improving agent productivity, reducing training time, and ultimately enhancing customer and agent satisfaction, leading to better contact center performance metrics. While the growth of AI in contact centers is expected to be significant, some experts believe it will be more gradual and steadier in the coming years. Nevertheless, AI is poised to play a critical role in contact center operations by improving efficiency and enhancing the customer experience and is something CAS will be monitoring closely for upstart technology that can deliver immediate impacts.
The call center industry is facing challenges and changes in various regions highlighted in a report published by Site Selection Group. In the U.S., labor conditions are strained, and wage inflation has stabilized at around $17 per hour. Demand for U.S. call center services is rising, but work location strategies vary. Work-from-home (WFH) has expanded recruitment options but offers minimal cost savings. In Latin America and the Caribbean, rapid growth has strained labor markets, leading to increased bilingual agent wages and high attrition rates. Offshore, the Philippines, India, South Africa, and Egypt are experiencing growth, with varying wage rates. Emerging markets like Ethiopia and Kenya are gaining traction. The global call center market is evolving, influenced by multiple factors, including currency fluctuations and cybersecurity risks.
CRM/BPO Done Deals:
MarketSource acquired Salelytics
Five9 acquired Aceyus
SalesForce acquired Airkit
Learn more in our latest newsletter: CAS Q3 Newsletter 2023