The 2021 ISG Provider Lens Contact Center – Customer Experience Services report for Europe and the U.K. finds major trends seen over the past 18 months, including consumers choosing digital channels over voice calls and employees working outside physical call centers, are likely irreversible. The contact center industry now must develop seamless, efficient omnichannel experiences for customers, delivered securely by decentralized workers and automated personas.
Enterprises in the region are increasing their use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, as well as automated personas in customer-facing roles, the report says. For secure and effective support by an increasingly remote workforce, companies are investing in real-time performance dashboards, automated coaching, agent performance analytics, and gamification.
Geography plays a major role in the strategies of some contact center operators in the region, ISG says. European companies increasingly are turning to Eastern Europe for outsourcing, taking advantage of lower labor costs and local proficiency in other European languages. U.K. companies continue to favor India and other English-speaking countries, their traditional sources of offshore talent.
In the U.K., changes to the country’s IR35 regulations, which cover the use of temporary workers, disrupted the use of freelancers, digital consultants and experts and made the rules governing those engagements less clear. This complicated what has been a standard practice in the U.K.’s contact center industry. However, the changes also created opportunities for organizations willing to collaborate with providers, startups and technology vendors for nearshoring or offshoring of labor.