As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts, TMCnet does not know of any reliable or accurate measure of the size or growth rate of the call center industry. With so many companies operating so many call centers in so many locations all over the globe - plus the fact that they do not need to disclose the size of their call center operations, with regard to the number of seats or even call volume - it's really an almost impossible industry to measure. Several of the leading market research firms do a good job of trying to measure the industry based on available data and their own research efforts, but the results of such studies sometimes have to be taken with a grain of salt.
For the past several months we've seen several market research reports which predict that the call center industry will continue to see significant growth over the next several years - this regardless of the recession and the ever-growing trend toward customer-self-service and automation.
I've always viewed these reports somewhat skeptically - but today when searching "call center" on Google News I was impressed with the number of companies that are currently hiring for their call centers. For example, Sprint is currently looking to hire 125 workers for its call center in Sacremento and another 100 for its call center in Orlando; United Healthcare recently added 175 jobs to its recently relocated Maryland Heights, Mo. Call center; and call center outsourcing giant Convergys is looking to add 110 jobs at its Appleton, Wis., call center. Maybe these recent industry reports were more on the mark than I initially thought (so easy to be pessimistic in this current economic environment). And these are just a few of the many "we're hiring" reports I've seen in recent weeks.
This is great news for the vendors that sell call center software and solutions, as companies will likely ramp up their investment in technologies that improve the customer experience and hold down operating costs. Another way to measure the growth of the industry is to look at the sales of call center software and systems. If the economy rebounds and consumer confidence levels return to what they were a few years ago, this, combined with the desire to improve operations will likely drive robust growth in the call center and customer support software markets for months to come...