Historically outsourcers have used their human resources expertise and telephony technologies to differentiate themselves, and these remain vital. However, increasingly call center outsourcers are expanding the range of services and applications that they offer into CRM and fulfillment. These services offer two different ways for outsourcers to expand the range of customer handling functions that they can provide for clients. Which services an outsourcer chooses to provide will depend on its client base. For example, within fulfillment, retail clients would be more interested in delivery services while telecoms companies will have more need of billing services.
Outsourcers need to look outside the traditional telemarketing markets and the telecom and technology verticals, around which much of the industry still clusters. Much of the growth in outsourced services will come from those companies and sectors where customer relationships have always been handled in-house before.
All the vertical markets will have an increased proportion of agent positions outsourced by 2005, with those that are currently most under-represented growing fastest.
The market for customer relationship outsourcing remains very competitive and fragmented. Given the potential to provide a greater proportion of agent positions and higher value services, the potential is there for the most successful companies to grow significantly over the next four years.