Asian contact centers lead IP charge

Call centers in the Asia-Pacific region, with frontrunner India, are ahead of the global market in embracing Net telephony, survey finds.

The Asia-Pacific region is leading the globe in deploying IP telephony at contact centers, according to a new survey.

Commissioned by contact center software provider Genesys Telecommunications, the study found that 25 percent of respondents in the region have already implemented IP telephony. In contrast, only 15 percent and 19 percent of respondents in the Americas and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) have done so, respectively.

Some 500 contact center technology managers across 20 industries worldwide were surveyed last October. The study covered a range of customer service organizations, ranging from five users to 30,000 users in a single contact center, across 300 locations.

India has the highest adoption rate of IP telephony, with 50 percent of respondents deploying the technology in at least one contact center. This may reflect the significant number of new contact centers set up in recent years, the study noted.

Wes Hayden, CEO of Genesys, said in a statement: "Clearly, IP telephony is gaining momentum. However, customer service organizations have very different needs than the enterprise as a whole.

"It's not 'if', but 'how', IP telephony is embraced that is the most critical issue for customer service organizations," he said.

Hayden added: "While cost savings were the main driving force behind IP telephony implementation, the demand for advanced applications [used] to manage customer interaction has gone up." These applications include video calls, which 47 percent of global respondents said they would support within five years.

In addition, a Genesys spokesperson told ZDNet Asia, "many" call centers in the Asia-Pacific region are starting to consider demographic or psychographic matching, where calls are routed according to the caller's demographic profile.

"Studies have found that people feel most comfortable and are more likely to have a good experience when they speak to someone of similar demographic profiles," she added.

Jae Wee, Genesys' Asean vice president, noted that customer interaction management (CIM) is increasingly integrated into core business operations in countries such as Singapore.

"Singapore's tech-savvy customer base is expected to be quick to adapt to these changing business paradigms," Wee said in a media statement. "It is anticipated that the quickest reaction will be from [users in] the telecommunications, financial and public sectors."

"In addition, CIM is also seeping down into the sprawling SMB (small and midsize business) sector," he said.

Respondents in the survey also indicated a strong preference for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Open IP standards if they implement IP telephony. Both standards allow them to keep their existing investments, and as the same time, migrate to non-proprietary technologies, according to the study.

The survey also found that most contact centers expect to have a mixture of traditional circuit and IP packet switching technology across their operations for some time. They would continue to use existing infrastructure, rather than opting for a "rip and replace" approach, the study noted.

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