By: Lisa Schunemann, JLL Healthcare Brokerage Analyst
The contact center industry didn’t just exceed expectations in 2016; it outperformed global economic growth altogether. The demand for high-quality services and updated tech solutions continues to grow spending, revenue and the workforce in the industry. In fact, North American revenues reached $9.4 billion in 2015, up just over 22% from 2013.
Our newly released Contact Center Outlook report highlights the current state of the market, as well as the top three trends to keep an eye on this year that will impact the way these centers operate.
1. Massive Industry Shift Toward Digital Channels Will Transform Labor, Tech and Infrastructure
As more markets move toward all-digital solutions, contact center providers will need to rethink their service offerings to accommodate an “always-on” culture. Today’s consumers want quick, easy methods of communication. In turn, providers are now offering a mix of untraditional non-voice solutions, including text messages, Facebook and Twitter messaging support, online chatbots and more.
Because many consumers are in need of quick, real-time responses, many providers are investing in automation solutions, like Interactive Voice Response systems (IVRs). IVRs pose a number of initial questions before a caller reaches a live representative. These questions help live representatives to assist callers more efficiently and can result in increased caller satisfaction with their concerns.
While some worry about the impact of automation on the workforce, our research shows that contact center employment actually increased to 2.6 million employees across the United States in 2015.
2. M&A Frenzy Spikes Consolidation and Technology Investments
Leaders in the industry went through mergers and acquisitions to expand their offerings into new locations with modernized services. Providers that recently consolidated will need to adjust their real estate strategy and consider optimizing their space for their new location and tech.
Many providers are turning to “plug and play” spaces, which are move-in ready properties in vacant buildings with office furniture, generators and more equipment readily available for use. These spaces are also targeting areas near highly sought-after amenities, like fitness centers, restaurants and access to parking.
3. Geopolitical Uncertainty Breeds Opportunity for Reshoring to North America
Although many industries are still in a period of uncertainty following the 2016 election, U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned on an anti-outsourcing platform, which may trigger new reshoring legislation in the next four years. Many policymakers have also suggested several different plans to prevent outsourcing in the contact center industry.
As of right now, both the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2013, and the Bring Jobs Home Act of 2014 are working to limit the amount of outsourcing done to other countries.
About the Author
Lisa Schunemann is a Healthcare Brokerage Analyst in the Columbus office of JLL. She assists health organizations, physicians, and allied services with their real estate needs, as well as medical, dental and other healthcare providers achieve the best terms on lease and purchase negotiations. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.