Latin American contact centers had a bumpy ride in 2016, but the market is expected to regain momentum this year driven both by domestic and international businesses.
The market attained US$9.52 billion in 2016, propelled by a good momentum of the nearshore space and the LatAm-shore segment within the region, according to our most recent analysis on the topic.
Those regions with significant international business – such as Central America and the Caribbean, Peru, and Colombia – had a better performance, while the ones mostly focused on the domestic markets – e.g. Argentina, Brazil and Chile – experienced more difficulties.
In this context, Latin American contact center service providers (CCSPs) are increasingly pressured to provide a unique and differentiating customer experience. At the same time they need to become more efficient, reduce costs as much as possible, and automate as many interactions as possible, in order to deviate traffic away from the regular contact center.
Moreover, the rise of new technologies for customer care – such as cloud computing, analytics, speech recognition, omnichannel capabilities, digital services, intelligent IVRs, virtual agents, and, more recently, artificial intelligence – is requiring stronger investments to offer fully-fledged services, as well as new skills and larger expertise in managing them.
Sounds like mission impossible, right? And yet, those providers which are digitally transforming both their operations and their clients’ are actually succeeding in this ever-challenging competitive scenario.
However, with the exception of major CCSPs and a few other boutique providers, most CCSPs in Latin America have a basic service offering, covering traditional customer care, sales, and collections services, which are fairly commoditized in the region.
As a result, market competition has been leading to a war price among providers, lowering the price points in every market in the region and, therefore, affecting overall business profitability.
Most providers still have to transform and enhance their value propositions in order to avoid a flat market dynamic. Furthermore, unless CCSPs increase the value added in their services, most of those services will be suitable to be fully automated, diminishing their relevance in the marketplace.
Essentially, they need to diversify and automate… or die!
Finding the right mix of industry diversification is becoming more and more relevant for any service provider that is looking for sustainable growth. As telecommunications companies and banks are automating a greater number of processes, other verticals such as retail & consumer goods, healthcare, and travel & hospitality are increasingly appealing for the market participants.
The latest research shows that these non-telecom-or-banks industry verticals will exhibit significantly higher expansion in the forthcoming years.
At the same time, LatAm clients are increasingly requesting that CCSPs improve their self-service solutions and augment the level of automation in their services in order to reduce the number of interactions headed to the contact center. This is happening in every contract renewal and is only becoming more frequent quarter by quarter.
There is no going back to a quieter environment. Nor there is staying still and immaculate, at least if you want to survive these disrupting times. Your clients, their customers, your competitors and the entire society is changing at a fast pace.
For Latin American contact centers, the ability to rapidly transform and digitally enhance processes and services will prove determinant in the forthcoming years.