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Stefan Pettersson Jan 25th, 2017

Market in change

The global customer care outsourcing market is forecast to grow more than four percent annually up to 2020. Although digital services are becoming increasingly important for the customer care industry, telephone services are still expected to remain key.

As the distinction between products and services is increasingly diminished, a smooth and professional customer service can make all the difference in making a company stand out in a fast-paced market. A friendly approach, coupled with presenting solutions swiftly, can be vital in retaining a customer.

In line with an increasingly digital world it is important that the customer service sector develops as well. Virtually all customers are online today and they are used to getting instant responses to their demands. What used to be a call center market, where the focus was to provide fast support, has evolved into a multifaceted operation consisting of general customer services, new selling opportunities and keeping track of invoices.

“In the past few years, the services have changed and evolved. End customers are increasingly demanding that solutions are immediately presented to them via the channel that suits them,” says Täpp Jonatan Matsson, partner at consulting firm A.T. Kearney. Täpp Jonatan Matsson has researched the customer services market  for several years and in the fall of 2015, he presented a study on the market development of the sector. 

“Services and support remain the most important tasks, where the customer will call the company. But more and more companies want help in finding new ways to both retain and develop their customer relationships. This might be done, for example, by phoning a customer after a few months to follow up on something, and to offer new services, but also meeting customer demands by serving them through digital channels.”

A.T. Kearney estimates the global annual turnover for outsourced customer care services at around €48 billion. But the potential is, in fact, much greater considering that around 80 percent of all customer service is handled in-house by companies themselves. But an increasing number of companies are now beginning to outsource it. There are several reasons for this: To cut costs, to be able to focus on their core operations and to benefit from the expertise that specialized suppliers can provide.

“The global market for customer care outsourcing is expected to grow by more than 4 percent per year up to 2020. Although the telecom and banking sectors still represent the largest volumes, the retail and travel industries are now growing the fastest,” Täpp Jonatan Matsson says.

The nature of customer service is gradually changing. Interaction will increasingly be done via digital channels, through for example phone apps, chats or self-service functions.

A.T. Kearney’s studies show that while voice services represent around 65 percent of the market volume today, this number will shrink to around 50 percent by 2020.

“There is a clear shift toward the digital channels. But I thought it would happen faster. This might  have to do with the fact that people still prefer to call when dealing with more complicated issues, like with invoices for example. And many of the larger customers are still working in outdated IT-environments which make such shifts a bit more complicated.”

However, the market volume of emails is expected to drop. “Email will become less important. There are too many interactions, going back and forth and so on, and on top of that it’s a pretty expensive alternative. It’s difficult to follow up on how a customer has experienced an email exchange, and so the overall customer experience suffers.”

The global market is dominated by about a dozen large players where Transcom comes in just after those who dominate the field. Among the biggest companies there is quite an entrenched standardization culture.

“But our studies show that Transcom is getting incredibly good feedback when it comes to quality, flexibility and the ability to find adaptable solutions. I believe that partnerships and a proactive approach will be the key to success for customer services groups in the future,” says Täpp Jonatan Matsson.

Article originally published in the Hello Transcom magazine.

Text: Johan Wickström