Reseller News

Contact centre budgets falling: study

New Zealand contact centre budgets dropped seven percent to $4.3 million in 2009 over 2008, according to 2009 New Zealand Contact Centre Industry Benchmarking Report, completed last month.

The centres plan to spend an average of $423,441 per centre on technology in the next 12 months, a decrease of 19 percent on 2008, the report shows. This is attributed mainly to a reduction of 45 percent in spending on new technology.

In the next 12 months, the top two technology investment areas for contact centres are replacement or upgrade of customer relationship management (CRM), and content management systems, the report says.

“With budget constraints and the ‘more with less’ expectation, now is the time for organisations to focus on fixing those areas that drain resources.  They need to reduce call centre complexity and improve agent productivity," says Rightnow Technology's Southern Asia Pacific vice president, Brett Waters. " Another win will be to exploit proven methods of call and email reduction by opening up robust self-service channels that move routine questions away from the call centre leaving agents freer to deal with the higher value, transaction-based interactions."

Rightnow Technologies was a sponsor of the research.

The report shows about 13 percent of New Zealand contact centres are entirely outsourced, while about 17 percent outsourced some or all of their functionality.

There were an estimated 27,000 seats at 340 contact centres in New Zealand during 2008-2009, however growth in seat size is expected to slow to 1.3 percent in the year ahead.

The number of contact centres in New Zealand is also expected to decrease by 4.3 percent during 2009-2010 as a result of downsizing and consolidation.

“The New Zealand contact centre fared well through the economic downturn with seat size growing at 6 percent. However, we see New Zealand’s growth slowing considerably to 1% in 2010, suggesting a lagged affect of the GFC," says managing director Catriona Wallace.

The research was based on interviews with more than 53 contact centres executives representing 79 contact centres locally.