Datamonitor: 3,000 American Call Centers to Be Extinct by 2008

Call center numbers and agent positions in the United States are to take a tumble according to new research by independent market analysis firm Datamonitor. The report, The Vertical Guide to Contact Centers in North America to 2008, says that Canada will be the major benefactor of America's loss.

The United States currently houses 2.86 million agent positions (APs) in 50,600 call centers. By 2008, Datamonitor expects this to shrink to 2.72 million APs spread through 47,500 call centers.

Datamonitor attributes a large proportion of this decrease to the outsourcing of customer services to popular nearshore/offshore locations like Canada, India, Mexico and the Philippines. Indeed, Datamonitor expects Canada to sprout 800 new call centers between now and 2008 and 93,000 APs. This will be due in part to natural growth of existing call centers, newly built call centers but also nearshore outsourcing from the US.

However, the report also says more efficient technologies are playing their part in this overall decline. Technologies that allow callers to resolve their call automatically - for instance a change of address call or balance inquiry - improve agent productivity and mean that call centers need to employ less labor. Furthermore, the federal do-not-call list has curtailed telemarketing campaigns, striking-off yet another of several tasks that would have been executed by the call center agent.

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