More Canadian Contact Centers Closing, Downscaling

Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

More Canadian Contact Centers Closing, Downscaling

TMC's Brendan Read has an article today about how four more call centers in Ontario, Canada are either shutting down or are laying off staff. Although this is a bummer for that region -- which has been a hotbed for call centers for many years now -- it's not all that surprising, as companies have been cutting back their contact center operations in Canada for more than a year now, and the Canadian government hasn't been able to do much about it.

The trend really began in late 2007, when the U.S. dollar began to weaken, and the exchange rate began to shift in favor of keeping centers here in the U.S., or alternatively sending them overseas. Since then, the world economy has basically tanked -- and consumers and businesses alike simply aren't purchasing in the volumes they did in the past. What's more, the Internet and automated self-serve systems are increasingly meeting consumers' transactional and informational needs, thus there is diminished demand/need for live agent interactions. From recent employment figures I've seen, it appears the overall number of agents employed in the industry has been shrinking, not growing - and most companies have already downscaled their call center operations considerably.

Overall I would say it's a pretty bleak time for the industry. But I'm certain we'll see it rebound when the economy begins to improve. Consumers still want to talk to live agents more than they want to use self-serve systems - and those companies which pride themselves on providing excellent customer service will no doubt continue to use live agents in the years to come, no matter how advanced today's IVR systems and Web technologies become.

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