A report by Datamonitor, independent market analysts company, concludes that the market for advanced network routing services is on the verge of boom as multi-site routing solutions are becoming extremely popular with large and medium-sized firms globally.
Although less than 1% of US and European call centers currently use advanced network routing services, Datamonitor predicts that by 2004, 34% of virtual call centers in Europe, and 51% in the US, will be virtually hosted call centres.
Hosted or networked call centers are call centers that use routing applications to switch calls between call centers. The routing functionality is hosted by telcos (or other service providers) on their own networks. When full automatic call distributor (ACD) integration is achieved, several sites can work in a virtual call center environment.
Network routing technology solutions have many advantages for fragmented enterprises seeking to unify their call center operations including: a single point of contact for customers and partners; unified architecture without the need for large investments; increased efficiency through better use of IVR and other routing engines; potential costs savings or revenue generation due to increased efficiency; and highly scalable solution.
Additional benefits include: not having to build a virtual call center which is very expensive; ability to add sites relatively easily; cheaper deals on call minutes (particularly attractive for large call centers); not having to expand the capacity of the corporate network to accommodate more traffic between sites; and outsourced services
Examples of industry sectors currently using these services include financial services institutions (banking and insurance), large retailers and travel agents.
Due to the number of agent positions it represents, the virtual call centre market is a particularly profitable area. Virtual hosted call centers tend to have over 500 agent positions. As virtual hosted solutions enable call centers to increase agent utilization and the overall efficiency of the call center, a virtual call center will use significantly more call minutes than a traditional multi-site call center.
According to Datamonitor technology analysts, Elsa Lion, ‘By offering virtual hosted call centre services, service providers can generate higher average revenues per user and increase value-added services in order to compensate for call minute price erosion.’
At present 11% and 12% of European and US agent positions, respectively, use network routing services. This will increase to 18% and 19%, respectively, in 2004, with most of these agent positions in virtual call centers.