What do the next three years have in store for the UK contact centre industry?

Some interesting facts have been reported by ContactBabel on the state of the UK contact centre industry in 2015, together with some predictions for the coming years.

Key findings

There are currently around 5,840 contact centres in the UK in comparison with 5,630 reported in 2010, a 4% increase. Rumours of the death of the contact centre seem to have been exaggerated!

The average contact centre size is 126 agent positions. Medium-sized operations around this size are predicted to be under the greatest pressure to reduce their operating costs, with 44% expecting to cut their operating expenditure.

Currently there are 734,000 agent positions handling over 42 billion minutes of inbound calls. The finance industry is the leading employer and this is set to increase from 26th October 2015 due to recent regulations on premium rate numbers.

Not only will call volume be on the up but web chat is predicted to increase in volume by a compound rate of 24% between 2015 and 2018.

Implications

The ContactBabel findings point towards a general upward trend and there are some actions that centres should take now in preparation.

The unrelenting pressure to cut costs is not going away anytime soon. Staffing costs account for over 70% of total costs in most call centres, so there is a definite need to find ways of improving agent productivity. Simply reducing headcount and extending working hours is not the answer, so what is? Working smarter is the answer! For example, improve your workforce management practice by making use of clever algorithms built into a WFM solution for optimising agents, maximising efficiency, reducing agent turnover and reducing costs etc.

Optimisation works best on multi-skilled agents as they can cover a multitude of tasks and channels when available which cuts down on idle time, reducing boredom and attrition. Agents who are kept active, involved and engaged are happier and more productive and if you find the right occupancy level these agents will not burn out meaning you reduce staff turnover and expenditure on recruitment. One proven method of improving agent effectiveness is through self-paced e-Learning which has a reported growth rate in Western Europe of 5.8%. E-learning typically saves businesses at least 50% when replacing traditional instructor based training. If e-learning sounds interesting why not take a look at The Call Centre School (tccs) e-learning courses and sign up for your free trial here.

An interesting fact in the ContactBabel report is that 24% of businesses using a workforce management system are looking to replace it. This could have something to do with the attraction of low cost, high-functionality Cloud WFM solutions where software is offered as a service (Saas) without the need for expensive hardware or professional services to perform installation and upgrades. It is time to take a serious look at migrating to the Cloud. Vendors such as injixo have proven the concept over many years now, so adopting cloud technology is no longer bleeding edge. Check out this WFM ROI white paper to see what cost savings can be expected from adopting or upgrading WFM technology.


Originally published at blog.injixo.com.

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