Cloud and Technology Transitions in Global Contact Centre Market
MZA has recently released updated analysis and insight on the evolution of the contact centre market. This analysis forms part of MZA’s broader business communications analysis which evaluates market and competitor developments at a global, regional and country level.
The global contact centre environment continues to be impacted by the ongoing transition in the ways customers are wanting to communicate and the ever-increasing range of channels being deployed. Contact centres are experiencing rising pressure to support the broadening range of channels available, and to address a wider audience beyond the traditional customer experience space, with the contact centre increasingly involved in sales and marketing. A growing number of companies are moving from seeing the contact centre as a cost centre to using it to drive sales and marketing with customer satisfaction, referrals, and proactive engagement each driving greater spending.
Contact centres also face growing pressure driven by rising customer expectations on the service they can provide. Today’s customers expect vendors to compete with the standards set by their best interaction with any company, while wanting their problem to be handled over their chosen channel at a time convenient for them. Furthermore, customers are more empowered both to abandon a company that provides poor service and to inform others of the poor service received not only through online reviews but also via social media. Artificial Intelligence technologies are increasingly proactive in engaging with customers to identify their views.
The total global user base of contact centre agent positions has remained relatively flat in recent years, declining by 1% in 2017. Despite greater focus on customer engagement at a global level, the ongoing advancements in technology and growing presence of self service solutions, have overall allowed contact centres to increase efficiency ahead of the rising requirements on them.
Alongside the evolution of channels and expectations, a fundamental shift is occurring in how organisations are acquiring and deploying customer care solutions. Greater numbers of customers each year are exploring cloud deployment models and as-a-service consumption models. Although still a minority, public cloud solutions are taking an ever-increasing portion of both the installed base and market, witnessing strong growth, with customers attracted by factors such as the ability to dynamically scale agent count to handle periods of peak demand, the centralisation of management for multiple sites, ability to quickly and effectively deploy, and the availability of advanced features on an OPEX pricing for companies who might not have the budget for a major CAPEX investment.
The demand for omni-channel support is reflected in the markets, with a rising portion of agents sold with multi-channel capabilities, although voice remains the dominant channel with multi-channel enabled agents accounting for 21% of the total global market in 2017. These technological changes are driving a continued substantial upgrade and refresh cycle within contact centres.
At a global level the overall market for contact centre agents has contracted, even when taking account of the rapidly expanding cloud market. The markets have been both positively and negatively affected by several factors, with the growing focus on customer experience driving renewed interest in customer care solutions amongst businesses. The markets have also been negatively affected with many customers opting to prolong a current system or delay a new implementation while they come to a greater understanding both of the plethora of new technologies available and of the impact of Avaya’s chapter 11 process in the USA, which resulted in stalled or delayed customer decisions as they awaited the outcome. Technological advances have also put downward pressure on the overall contact centre markets with a variety of technologies contributing to improved self-service, greater automation, and increased agent efficiency. Overall this has caused declines in all size segments with the largest sizes of contact centre worst hit.
The growing competition faced by the contact centre industry is driving vendors to innovate at a greater rate with microservices and APIs a key focus for many providers both to enable enhanced integrations with other systems and also to allow features to be developed once and deployed across a company’s entire solution portfolio.
Big data and AI have also had an impact with a considerable competitive advantage for companies who can utilise the large pool of data available to them to drive their contact centre strategies. Advancements in these technologies have allowed early adopters to derive significant value both from the data available on their own agents and the data available on their customers. MZA sees a number of key areas where AI can drive efficiencies in the contact centre:
- Routing – Improving the outcome of a call by connecting a customer to the available agent who is most likely to ensure a positive outcome, be it customer experience, NPS or other metrics.
- Agent Assist – Empowering an agent with additional information such as when is best to engage with a customer to ensure a sale, data about the customer, opportunities to upsell that are likely to succeed or information relevant to the customer’s specific query.
- Analytics – Intelligently providing agents, supervisors and management with the appropriate information at the right time both for real time and historic monitoring.
- Robotic Process Automation/Chat Bots – Reducing the overall load on the contact centre by automating more routine tasks and enquiries.
- Customer Assist – Technology specifically targeted at reducing the effort required for the customer to resolve their enquiry or to improve the customer’s experience in resolving their enquiry.
For vendors, particularly in certain more mature markets such as the USA and the UK, the most notable shift has been the ongoing drive towards the cloud where there has been year on year growth both in the market and the installed base of agents.
Political uncertainty and upheaval following the US elections, the UK’s ongoing negotiations to depart from the European Union, various global conflicts and rising protectionism have all impacted the overall markets.
Despite the growing presence of CCaaS solutions, the large and mature existing contact centre agent installed base (and associated updates and renewals activity) means that still the leading top three players overall remain Avaya, Genesys and Cisco. These players, in addition to existing on-premises and private cloud solutions, have placed significant emphasis on their cloud product development and propositions. With e.g. Avaya strengthening existing premises and private cloud activities with the recent acquisition of Spoken Communications, Genesys having, through its acquisition of Interactive Intelligence, acquired multi-tenant cloud capabilities and Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft augmenting its existing cloud offerings with multi-tenant capabilities from BroadCloud and CC-One. Alongside these vendors a number of other contact centre players such as Huawei, Mitel Networks, Aspect Software, Enghouse Interactive and Unify are each focusing on strengthening their cloud offers to ensure long term growth.
The major disruptors from the CCaaS perspective to date have been Nice InContact, Five9 and a plethora of other players including Serenova LiveOps, TalkDesk, NewVoiceMedia, Prosodie CapGemini, and Content Guru. The drive towards digital transformation in the customer care space continues to attract new players including Amazon, Twilio and Google.
Mergers, acquisitions and alliances are being seen with increasing frequency as providers look to round out their solution portfolios. Cloud and AI capabilities are key focus areas in this space.
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Further Information: This press release is a summary of MZA’s Contact Centre and CCaaS analysis. The complete analysis provides granular insight at a regional, country and segment level including insight on key vendor positions. Further MZA analysis services are available covering the Call Control, Hosted/Cloud Business Telephony, UC and Collaboration Applications, Terminals and the On-Site Business Mobility markets.
MZA specialises in the provision of marketing consultancy services to the telecommunications and IT industries at a European and Global level, with expertise covering a wide range of consumer-based and professional communications solutions.
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