APAC contact center services poised for growth

Recovering from last year's global economic downturn, Asia-Pacific contact center services market to ring in US$616.6 million in 2016, aided by increasing presence of multinational companies, new report reveals.

Boosted by the growing presence of multinational companies (MNC), the Asia-Pacific contact center services market is expected to return to growth after weathering the global economic downturn during which the market shrank by 10.5 percent in 2009 over 2008.

According to a new report released Tuesday, Frost & Sullivan projected that revenue for this market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.5 percent from US$287.5 million in 2009 to reach US$616.6 million in 2016.

The research firm's industry manager, Krishna Baidya, said in the report that the region's call center market is on an upswing as it rides on an increasing presence of MNCs, which are also looking to leverage customer service as competitive advantage.

During the downturn, contact center applications market in Asean saw a decline but channels were able to reduce their losses by increasing the value of services in their deals, said the report. Domestic demand was also a key driver for the region's developing economies, noted Frost & Sullivan, which pointed to Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as markets that had grown during the downturn.

For developed markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, rapid development toward IP migration boosted the uptake of professional services and adoption of advanced applications.

Contact centers for these developed markets remained dominated by business and financial services institutions and telecom verticals, said the analyst firm, noting that the government sector also invested in contact centers and related professional services.

Baidya said: "IP migrations, coupled with the consolidation of contact centers, are driving demand for implementation and integration services. Consulting services are in the emerging phase in the region, with greater adoption seen in mature markets where deployments are often more complex."

The perception that premium services such as consulting and professional services as expensive is often a barrier to the wider adoption of such services, especially within the mid-market, according to Frost & Sullivan.

However, as maintenance services become increasingly demanded as a basic offering in services contracts, pushing down price-points, service providers will be driven to diversify their service portfolio.

"Nevertheless, the developing markets in Asia-Pacific are witnessing high domestic demand," said Baidya. "As local enterprises grow and the value of customer service becomes apparent, the complexity of deployments and the need for an enhanced level of accompanying services will be heightened."

Boosted by the large outsourced contact center market, the analyst added that e-government initiatives by both central and state governments, as well as growth in domestic demand for contact center services, will likely see the fastest growth in the region.