RealTime IT News

Call Centre Boom Set to Continue, Says Survey

Figures issued by the Enterprise Customer Management Show reveal that the call centre boom is set to continue.

Three quarters of firms that already have a call centre will expand it during the coming year.

Other statistics show that while only 11 per cent of call centres in the UK will be web-enabled by the end of 1999, within three years the number will increase to 46 per cent. In Europe as a whole, the number of web-enabled call centre seats will grow from 240,000 this year to three million by 2004.

With over two per cent of the UK's population already employed in the call centre industry, the sector is clearly of huge importance to Internet workers.

"What's changed in the past couple of years is that the call centre on its own is no longer seen as the quick fix to a company's customer relationship management challenges," said Andy Center, managing director of Penton Media, which runs the ECM show.

"Today, companies understand that getting a call centre up and running is merely step one on the road to a fully integrated sales, marketing and customer service solution."

The recent turbulence and consolidation in the industry, Center says, is only the result of competitors in pursuit of "runaway" market leader Siebel Systems. He pointed to Nortel Networks' acquisition of Clarify and Alcatel's purchase of Genesys as indicators not only of a fast maturing market, but of a shift to Internet and other new technologies as vendors seek to plug holes in their portfolios."