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The State of the Market

Turbulent times for the Call Centre Industry. As companies merge and some go under, what are the implications for the Call Centre market as the credit crunch and the wider economic slowdown begins to bite.

Firstly, we have already seen hundreds of job losses, and we are likely to see thousands more. Between them Lloyds TSB and HBOS have literally thousands of seats across over a dozen call centres in the UK. Consolidation and closure of some of these is inevitable, with ensuing job losses.

In the aviation sector, this is already happening, with the collapse of XL leaving hundreds of call centre staff out of work, and Thomas Cook closing a site as the market shrinks.

Outsourcers are fairing little better, with Ventura closing a site with the loss of 700 seats, and profits sharply down. With many of the medium sized outsourcers all having grand ambitions for expansion, and all chasing the same limited pot of work, surely the time has come for some of them to put their egos to one side and merge, or be squeezed.

The unknown of course is the impact for offshoring. The warnings signs are there, but we must pray this is not a return to the dark days of the turn of the decade, when cost reduction was the only business imperative, and to hell with the customer experience.

We must look to clients to see beyond these troubled times, and to recognise that customer demands and expectations have moved on, and that delivering a great experience, first time, is the only long term strategy to pursue.

Lets hope all this doesn’t result in a decline in service for customers, any undue hardship for those facing redundancy, or damage to the industry’s already fragile reputation.

Monday 22 September 2008

Keith Gait
Chairman and Principal Consultant
Tel: 0870 609 4402

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