While premises-based contact center solutions were once the norm, with hosted and cloud-based solutions as the small but growing exception, the market is reaching a tipping point. Once confined largely to small and medium-sized businesses looking for functionality without high costs, there is uptake in hosted and cloud contact center solutions in every sector of the market today.
New research bears this out. Analyst group IDC (News - Alert) has found that U.S. spending on hosted contact center services was $1.1 billion in 2013 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 12 percent to $2 billion in 2018. It has found that U.S. spending on on-demand (cloud) contact center services was $733.3 million in 2013, and this figure will increase at a CAGR of 17.5 percent to $1.6 billion in 2018. The figures were presented in a report entitled, “U.S. Hosted and On-Demand Contact Center Services 2014-2018 Forecast: Customer Experience Driving Contact Center Interactions to the Cloud.”
One of the main drivers of adoption, the research finds, is the desire by companies to offer multichannel options to their customers, who are increasingly expecting and demanding it.
"Digital communications have dramatically changed the way that customers interact with companies, and customers now are using more channels than ever to communicate,” commented IDC research analyst Melissa O’Brien. “Add in the increasing acceptance of services delivered via cloud computing and the opportunity for contact center services in the cloud accelerates.”
Today, success in the multichannel marketplace requires that companies move the customer experience to the top of the goals list. By using hosted or on-demand contact center solutions, customer-facing organizations are finding more flexibility and other benefits to help meet these escalating customer expectations. They’re also finding they are saving money with these solutions, and broadening their options, such as using home-based agents. It’s particularly critical, however, to use a properly integrated platform that crosses all customer contact media and the company’s customer relationship management solution so customer queries from one channel do not get isolated and lost from the overall customer experience.
There is, however, still plenty of room to grow in the hosted and cloud-based contact center industry. The IDC research finds that 39 percent of companies today say they are using hosted or on-demand contact center services, and another 38 percent are evaluating such a service. As the marketplace becomes more crowded, companies have more choices than ever before, so it’s critical they evaluate carefully before choosing a solution that will meet their needs.