PHOTO - Krishna Baidya, industry manager, Frost & Sullivan.
Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan firm's new regional contact centre market study shows that government support and multi-lingual abilities have contributed to growth in the Malaysian contact centre sector.
"A great degree of Malaysia's growth can be attributed to multi-lingual capabilities and generous government support," said Frost & Sullivan industry manager, Krishna Baidya. "Agent seat numbers are expected to witness a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 13.4 percent through 2018."
Baidya said that offshore outsourcing continued to be in high demand from Malaysia. "Malaysia has a large multi-cultural population, which enables it to provide offshoring options to many countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Outsourcers in the country are also looking to attract more business from US, Europe and even Middle East."
"Malaysia also attracts many global outsourcing service providers who are migrating their setups from relatively higher cost bases in the region," he said.
"The 'Assessment of the Asia-Pacific Contact Centre Market' study concluded that the Asia Pacific had 3.48 million agent seats in 2011 and estimates this to reach 5.9 million in 2018," Baidya said. "The Malaysian contact centre market maintained its pace to register agent seats over 15 percent from the year before, estimated to have reached 40,500 in 2011."
Emphasis on cost efficiency
"The greater emphasis on cost efficiency in enterprises is likely to continue to be a driving factor to outsource contact centre services to lower cost bases in the region," Baidya said. "All emerging markets are expected to maintain double digit growth for the same period, leading the overall market development for Asia Pacific."
"With the global economic downturn heaving its last gasp in 2010, enterprises are reviving expenditure on customer service," he said. "To meet the rising customer demand, the Asia Pacific region recorded a 9.7 percent growth in contact centre agent seats to reach 2.5 million in 2011, and by 2018, it is expected to have grown at a CAGR of 8.1 percent to touch four million."
"While agent numbers are likely to escalate across the Asia Pacific region, the market will also experience significant attrition," Baidya said. "The attrition rates in the Asia Pacific contact centre market will be higher than the rates in other markets due to high stress levels and career opportunities in other industries. In 2011, while the average attrition rate for the Asia Pacific contact centre market as a whole was approximately 19.1 percent; India's alone was nearly 25 percent."
"One of the main reasons for agents' lack of stickiness with the job is that with most organisations attempting to cut costs, the wages of contact centre agents have remained relatively low in the past three years," he said.
"Many enterprises were investing more on system upgrades rather than in improving agents' interpersonal skills and domain knowledge," said Baidya. "Fortunately, this trend is phasing out with outsourcers recognising the importance of having well-trained and well-recompensed agents."
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