OVER 40 contact centers expect to register double-digit growth this year amid the rebound in market demand, according to a recent survey by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP).
CCAP Chairman Benedict Hernandez said during a virtual event Monday evening that 42 companies employing more than 300,000 workers expressed the optimistic outlook recently.
“They are forecasting double-digit growth rate,” he said.
Citing data from Everest Group, Hernandez said the local contact center industry is expected to register 9-percent growth in revenues this year, which is higher compared to the global market projection of 6 percent to 7 percent.
The growth in number of employees this year, meanwhile, is pegged at 8 percent to 9 percent. Again, this is more than the global forecast of 6 percent to 7 percent.
“We’ve seen a continued uptick in terms of a rebound in the global market services demand for the work that we do in the contact center. And if the market is rebounding and growing again in an interesting rate, what we’ve seen over the years
is the Philippines tends to grow faster than the global market,” Hernandez said.
The CCAP said that the local industry’s growth is attributed to its “ability to expand market share.” In fact, he said that the Philippine contact centers have experienced “uninterrupted year-on-year growth” in the past two decades.
Hernandez is seeing pent-up demand to drive the revenues of the sector, especially from countries with fiscal stimulus that allows them to invest in contact services.
“As we’ve seen in historical headwinds or economic crisis, companies are looking for more cost-effective way to operate,” he added.
Still, Hernandez cited concerns for the sector, including the flexible working arrangement.
“We need a long-term solution to this hybrid arrangement. We have an extension, but we need to work on a real lasting solution,” he said.
Recently, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board approved the extension until March 31, 2022 of work-from-home (WFH) arrangements for up to 90 percent of the employees in the IT-business process management (IT-BPM) sector.
In addition, he said there is a “lot more catch-up to be done” in terms of Internet infrastructure in the country amid the “rapid shift of data traffic to residential.”
“Everybody had to be creative with infrastructure, including putting up pop-up sites or satellite offices which is an interesting model; and some of us are getting into that,” Hernandez explained. “We need…infrastructure in the Philippines…that enable our people to be productive.”
Everest Group Vice President Shirley Hung, in the same event, said the global contact center market is projected to reach $100-billion revenues by 2022.
This, after booking around $90 billion last year—an unexpected turnout as the latter half of 2020 more than made up for the losses amid the pandemic.
“This growth is being driven by increasing implementation by digital solutions, shift toward data-driven customer experience that focuses on personalization and customization, and increased interest from first-time outsources looking for support to transform their contact services for their customers,” she said.
Hung commended the resilience of the customer experience management (CXM) service provider as they leveraged digital solutions and remote working models to mitigate disruptions amid the pandemic.
“They did this without any major security incidence or compliance breaches,” she noted.
Focusing on digital CXM—including conversation AI (artificial intelligence) and messaging platforms, cloud contact centers, analytics and automation solutions—allowed the companies to reduce the volume of contacts that needed to be handled live, she said.
Meanwhile, Hung said that implementing hybrid work setup may still be done beyond the pandemic given its “positive impact” on employees.