During the first half of 2008, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) inbound contact routing systems markets were growing at about 6.0 per cent. However, the economic downturn slackened the pace of market momentum. In the United States, several major investment banks and insurance companies declared bankruptcy, triggering the financial meltdown, which snowballed into the global credit crisis. By the fourth quarter of 2008, the ripple effects of the credit crunch were felt in Europe. In an effort to preserve cash, most enterprises froze all non-critical spending, including purchases of inbound contact routing systems.
Most enterprises continue to view their customer service organizations and contact centers as cost centers. This view results in the reluctance to buy new systems or even invest in technology refreshes for anything related to customer service, unless necessary.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (contactcenters.frost.com), EMEA Inbound Contact Routing Systems Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of over 478.3 million EUR ($697.2 million USD) in 2008 and estimates this to reach 711.4 million EUR ($1.0 billion USD) in 2015.
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"Despite these factors, the continuing migration to support Internet protocol (IP) transport, customer loyalty, and strengthened competitive advantages from strong customer support drove sales of new and expanded inbound contact routing systems throughout the year," says Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Joe Outlaw. "The largest EMEA consumers of inbound contact routing systems in 2008 continued to be the financial services, outsourcer, and telecommunications industries."
End-user budget constraints will rein in sales of inbound contact center routing systems, and tight credit will further complicate the problem. In such a scenario, doing more with less is practically the theme song for contact centers and is never truer than when the economy is staggering and budgets are slashed. However, leading enterprises are aware that with growing commoditization and global competition, it is critical to continue delivering excellent customer support and to prepare for the inevitable economic upswing. It is also becoming clear that technology can be a key enabler for effective and efficient customer contact.
For these reasons, many enterprises are looking to deploy these technologies to derive the most out of their contact center systems, which support their customers. Trends indicate that even after the economic recovery, inbound contact routing vendors will have to confront the challenge of building and supporting their partner channels, which are vital for small- and mid-size businesses. As limited budgets require prioritization, vendors would be wise to help customers organize their projects efficiently.
"There are no generic return-on-investment proof points; every company and situation is different," says Outlaw. "Vendors are encouraged to develop frameworks and methodologies for working with prospects and customers to build business cases for application upgrades and to support IP transport."
Well-documented business case studies and customer references are also keys to showcase the benefits of these solutions. Inbound contact routing systems vendors must focus on building ease-of-use into their applications. This can be a long-term competitive differentiator, but it calls for strong commitment to simplify all aspects of the applications and to only add new functionality which has been designed and tested for this purpose. More importantly, contact centers need to not only be aligned with enterprises' goals, but also must become the hub for excellence in their unified communications strategies.
EMEA Inbound Contact Routing Systems Markets is part of the Contact Centers Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific Contact Centers. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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EMEA Inbound Contact Routing Systems Markets / N620