The United States of America has encountered major economic problems since mid 2007. Subprime mortgage, recession, and the weakening dollar affected not only their country, but the rest of the world as well, including the outsourced inbound call center industry, whose income is denominated in US dollars and largely obtained from the US market.
Despite this somewhat bleak situation, several predict that this will not necessarily affect the industry adversely, as long as businesses know how to innovate and improve their services.
1. Value-Added Services
Instead of competing with prices, CIO (http://www.cio.com) predicts that this year, BPO companies and offshore contact centers will strive to market their value-added services – those that will give clients an edge in closing deals. Some of these value-added features include process expertise, flexibility, and a skilled workforce.
2. Currency Hedging
Currency hedges will be an effective way to handle unpredictable currency fluctuations.
3. Cutting Costs
Offshore companies must learn to maximize marketing and administrative costs that may have been overlooked back when the dollar was much stronger than local currency.
4. Broadening Horizons
While Makati and Ortigas City have always been the obvious choice for inbound contact center locations in the Philippines, other less known, less commercialized locations such as Cebu are gaining more popularity.
5. Looking for other Markets
For quite some time, the US market made up 56% of 2007 BPO/KPO contracts and 67% of 2006-2007 IT contracts. Contact centers should now start catering to markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.