Pueblo, CO Has Highest Contact Center Concentration Market per new JLL Report
For U.S. contact centers, less really does mean more. Despite waning consumer interest in talking with a customer service rep over the phone, alternative customer service methods such as live chatting and tweeting are creating jobs in North American contact centers, according to JLL’s inaugural Contact Centers Outlook.
JLL’s report reveals that the contact center industry grew steadily across the world in 2016, and predicts further growth over the coming five years for both in-house and third party operations. It also reveals that the United States is becoming an attractive location and leader among the new tech-enabled contact centers. Pueblo, Colorado is highlighted as the highest contact center concentration market.
In terms of impacts to the commercial real estate market, the report states “As onshoring grows, buyers will attempt to reduce real estate operating costs to offset increased labor costs by concentrating their labor across fewer facilities. This trend is occurring with third-party providers and in-house services alike, as demonstrated by Verizon’s recent closing of seven contact centers, impacting 3,200 jobs in five states.”
Yes, this changes everything
“The shift from ‘call center’ to ‘contact center’ will reach full maturity this year, as non-voice channel revenues have nearly doubled since 2011, growing a massive 91 percent,” said Tadd Wisinski, Co-Lead of JLL’s Contact Centers group. “That means change on two fronts: talent and technology. While the need for tech-savvy workers is exploding, the technology supporting their work is also evolving. Automation and new multi-channel deliveries are pivoting to keep up with consumer demand for a high quality, customized service.”
The U.S. leads the field of high-quality product and services and is fast becoming the market leader in contact center outsourcing (CCO).
Fewer players, but more jobs
The urgency for digital models is spurring third party providers to purchase new technologies through mergers and acquisitions. Mergers also escalate local consolidation, and while some communities may lose jobs due to consolidation, others will gain them as the industry as a whole expands.
In many markets, open Customer Service Representative (CSR) positions heavily outnumber the volume of qualified candidates, creating a notable labor gap. As a result, competition for skilled labor is high, placing pressure both on wages and on employee expectations for modern work spaces, as well as promotion and incentive opportunities.
“With the war for talent, real estate and workplace are becoming more important than ever for contact centers,” Harding added. “Companies are not only looking for the right location but the right space to enable their staff to be as efficient, productive and motivated as possible. Contact center operators will pay more attention to workplace strategies.”
But many factors are considered in the real estate decision-making process for users and third-party providers. One option gaining traction is the plug and play model which provides convenient and efficient move-in ready centers for operators, and can cut transition and downtime to a minimum. Third-party providers, specifically, search for these spaces to minimize cost and save time.
“Plug and play spaces are also now aiming to cater to the ‘live, work, play’ employee base, targeting areas with amenities, gyms, and restaurants nearby,” Harding noted. “Another ready-to-go contact center option includes incorporating adaptive reuse elements by transforming former retail spaces and big box stores.”
Geopolitical uncertainty breeds opportunity for reshoring
The geopolitical climate is changing in several key contact center markets while pressure mounts in the U.S. to bring jobs back to the country. U.S. policymakers have proposed several pieces of legislation to combat CCO offshoring. The next four years may produce regulatory obstacles for CCO firms, which rely on access to competitive international labor.
“While contact centers evolve to adapt to the digital communications preferences of today’s consumers, users and buyers will pay close attention to the uncertain geopolitical climate and evaluate their portfolios to prepare for any swift changes in policy that impact their business,” concluded Wisinski.
For more insights on the outlook for the contact center industry in 2017, download Contact Centers 2017 Outlook: Technology, M&A and geopolitical uncertainty poised to disrupt contact center industry.
Logo courtesy of JLL
Chart extracted from Contact Centers 2017 Outlook; JLL Research