Contact Centre

Contact Centre Procurement Trends

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Article by Sharon Melamed

2023 has ushered in new trends in the sort of services and software which contact centres are procuring. At Matchboard, we receive almost 500 requests every year from organisations looking for vendor recommendations, so we’re in a unique position to spot some of the emerging trends.

With the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, and the lightning uptake of the technology globally, it’s no surprise that interest in conversational AI and chatbots has skyrocketed this year.  Both vendors and practitioners have spent the last several months grappling with what the advent of ChatGPT means for their offerings, and the evidence of this is in the overwhelming number of related events and white paper campaigns in market. There has been some hesitation in pushing the buy button while this reboot takes place. It’s not only interest in text-based AI that’s surged – voice AI, for outbound functions such as collections and reminders, and for inbound functions such as providing Covid-related advice or taking appointments or orders, is becoming noticeably more popular.

Growth in cloud contact centre software is slowing this year, as most companies have already made their move from premise to cloud solutions.

The market for contact centre outsourcing in 2023 looks quite different to 2021 and 2022. With Labor coming to power in 2022, there was a shift in policy to have more work delivered inhouse, and some major Federal agency outsourcing contracts were cut back. In addition, Covid-related contact centre demand subsided resulting in thousands of onshore contact centre jobs shifting to different industries. In the private sector, Matchboard is witnessing ongoing demand for offshore outsourcing, despite re-shoring back to Australia in sectors like telco and energy in 2021/22. But the trend is towards location diversification with the island paradise of Fiji now outstripping demand for the Philippines on our platform. Interestingly, the number of clients asking for “PCI-accredited” providers has more than doubled this year compared to last, as regulations governing credit card payment acceptance tighten.

In the world of contact centre consulting, we’ve seen a jump in work for BPO and technology procurement consultants, assisting clients with RFPs, tenders and new vendor transitions. Contact centre “health checks” never seem to go out of fashion, and there is a plethora of quality consultants ready to help!

Sharon Melamed is the Founder of matching platform Matchboard, named by Optus as Australia’s Business of the Year and by Westpac as one of “200 Businesses of Tomorrow”. With 30 years’ experience in the contact centre and BPO world, Sharon has helped hundreds of clients set up and manage customer service, sales and back office functions, across four continents. Sharon was named 1 of the region’s top 100 influencers by Auscontact.

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