The number of home-based customer care agents in the United States is set to increase, with the healthcare industry being the prime hunting ground for call center service providers looking for contracts, analyst firm Ovum says in its latest report on possible BPO trends in 2014.
The analyst firm also predicts that service vendors will look for higher margins by modifying their business model and focusing on a greater number of end-user services.
Home-based agents will remain popular in the US through 2014, but this business model’s popularity will remain limited in the rest of the developed world.
Ovum expects that the United States will account for 90% of third-party home-based agent deployments in 2014, while mature locations such as India and South Africa will be the most popular locations for offshore delivery of contact center services.
“Ovum’s annual CRM Outsourcing Business Trends survey indicated that budgets would either remain flat or decrease in 2014. The net impact on contact center outsourcers is clear; the majority of enterprises are likely to drive the hardest bargains when engaging with third-party providers,” says Peter Ryan, the author of the report.
In 2014, he says, the healthcare sector will be reliant upon the outsourcing sector to reach out to its customers. However the “margin pressure” will grow dramatically as both payers and providers aim to maximize service efficiency and manage costs.
“2014 will see options for outsourcers to avoid ceding excessive amounts of margin, of which the most obvious is to deepen their functional capabilities in conjunction with their more traditional offerings, rather than broaden their outsourced offerings,” Ryan adds.
Ovum recommends that enterprises seek vendors that offer a mix of delivery models and have strategic capabilities in place. “Vendors, on the other hand, need to invest in talent and technology, and determine the optimal mix of delivery models to stay ahead,” Ryan concludes.