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Up until 2009-10, the UK call centre market was in terrific shape, recording consistent double-digit revenue growth, which attracted a number of new entrants to the industry. However, the economic downturn dramatically changed the operating environment: industry demand collapsed, sending revenue into a dramatic downward spiral.
The total value of the UK call centre industry is believed to be in excess of £2.5 billion. Having initially been rapid, growth has stalled since the downturn.
The industry is dominated by in-house contact centres. In-house contact centres are divisions within an overall company that deal with all incoming and outgoing calls; it is estimated that 70% of the industry globally is made up by in-house operations.
The UK contact centre market is no different to the overall global market, with in-house contact centres dominating the market. Outsourcing operations to contact centre specialists is a growing trend, however outsourced specialists still account for just 30% of industry revenue.
Offshoring of contact centres has been credited with savings of 25-40% compared to UK operation. India is the most important offshore destination having low labour rates and an English-speaking workforce but other locations, such as South Africa, the Philippines, Eastern Europe and Egypt are also widely used.
Offshoring has not proved popular with callers. Given reports of poor service, some organisations (eg NatWest) have used their UK-based contact centres to marketing advantage and several organisations, such as Santander and E.ON, have re-opened contact centres in the UK.
Some of the major global contact centre players have established operations in the United Kingdom, such as Teleperformance, Sitel and Convergys. This year, the four market leaders will account for just 12% of industry revenue.
For more information on the UK call centre market, see the latest research: UK Call Centre Market
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