Saturday, August 18, 2007


"I am always in need of forgiveness, a necessary ingredient in life. Everyone needs to be forgiven, since we are all human and fallible. Forgiveness is a new start, a fresh beginning. Expressing regret, being truly contrite, is a sincere plea for mercy and compassion. However, terrible the sin, the sinner finds hope and strength in pardon and is awakened to the reality of Your love. "Forgive us our trespasses.. " I ask for Your forgiveness, Lord, to be renewed in Your love. AMEN."

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Thought of sharing daily prayers from a good friend.

Good morning, Lord. For all who awake discouraged, we pray. May they turn to you and find joy, peace and renewed spirit. No one walks alone. All challenges are manageable. There is no problem that You and they cannot handle together. Lord, You gave up on no one, and we should not give up on You. We need the simple, childlike trust of children. With faith, we all can move the mountains of worries. I love You, Lord, and I believe in You. Amen.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Philippines - an off shore site

By Assif Shameen

The Philippines' Awesome Outsourcing Opportunity

The islands share a language and legal system with the U.S., and offer high skills and low costs. They could outrun India for outsourcing dollars

India's dramatic economic rise this decade, powered by its role as the back office of the world, has developing countries from Argentina to Vietnam scrambling for a piece of the action. With good reason: Researcher Gartner estimates offshore infotech and business-process outsourcing amounted to $34 billion globally in 2005 and could double by 2007.

And the race is on in Eastern Europe, Latin America, China, and Southeast Asia to land jobs and economic growth by answering customer phone calls, managing far-flung computer networks, processing invoices, and writing custom software for multinationals from all over the world.

Though India continues to have a lock on most of this global business, that is starting to change. Even Indian outsourcing powerhouse Infosys (INFY) has started increasing staff in China and the Czech Republic this year, is exploring Latin America, and likely will eventually set up a base in Southeast Asia.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY. "Some of the countries like Philippines and Malaysia have done fairly well to leverage their unique skills and carved niches for themselves," said Infosys Chief Executive Officer Nandan M. Nilekani,in Singapore recently attending an International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting.

Could all of this be a golden opportunity for the Philippines, long regarded as the economic laggard in Asia? This vast archipelago is starting to gain some traction on the outsourcing front. Chennai (India)-based OfficeTiger now has over a hundred people working in Manila on legal outsourcing for clients such as Dupont and expects to have nearly 1,500 by the end of 2007 (see, 9/18/06, "Let's Offshore The Lawyers").

The Philippines raked in offshore service generating revenues of $2.1 billion last year, placing third behind India and China and slightly ahead of Malaysia. That's up 62% over the $1.3 billion it gained in 2004, and a huge increase from the start of the decade when the outsourcing industry in Manila employed just 2,400 people and the industry had revenues of merely $24 million.

LANGUAGE ADVANTAGE. The outsourcing sector currently employs over 200,000 people. That is still way behind India's 750,000, but Manila is catching up fast. The Business Processing Association of Philippines estimates the industry will chalk up 57% growth this year with total revenues of $3.3 billion and is on track to deliver nearly 48% growth in 2007 to $4.9 billion. "Business process outsourcing [BPO] is one of the fastest growing segments of our economy and a key plank of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's strategy to put strong growth drivers in place," says Philippine Cabinet Secretary L. Ricardo Saludo.

Consultancy A.T. Kearney, in its recent ranking of the most desirable global services locations which are competitive for business process outsourcing, ranked the Philippines fourth in the world behind India, China, and Malaysia—a huge change from being outside the top 10 three years ago. Philippines gets high marks for its large, educated talent pool and English language skills, though it lags some of the other locations in infrastructure.

Economists and analysts are startled by the Philippines' runaway growth in the sector. "The pace of development of the BPO [sector] in the Philippines has been impressive," says a recent report by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs. "Three years ago there was a question mark whether Philippines could develop some [outsourcing] momentum. Now it's a $3 billion industry."

WHITE COLLAR FORCE. Goldman's report also notes the outsourcing industry has begun to expand beyond the capital Manila into university towns such as Baguio as well as Clark (the former U.S. military base), Cebu, Dumaguete, and Davao. "It is clear that Philippines is now very much on the global map for outsourcing," the Goldman report said.

The recent growth spurt in the outsourcing industry in the Philippines has been fueled not by traditional low-value-added call centers but more higher-end outsourcing such as legal services, Web design, medical transcription, software development, animation, and shared services. Though call centers still form the largest part of the sector, the Philippines has begun leveraging its creative design talent pool, its large pool of lawyers, and its professionals in accounting and finance.

"Philippines as a country offers us a unique talent pool for outsourcing services in legal as well as design services," says Joseph Sigelman, co-president of India-based OfficeTiger, which was acquired by U.S. printing services giant R.R. Donnelley in April. The company chose the Philippines as the springboard for its legal services outsourcing and expects to make Manila the main center for "pre-media" outsourcing work, including desktop publishing, composition, typesetting, and graphic design.

FAMILIAR WITH U.S. Legal services were a natural extension of the outsourcing work the firm has been doing from its base in Chennai for years. "As an ex-American colony, there is cultural affinity and the legal system is based on U.S. law," says Sigelman, a native of New York. "In Manila, every lawyer seems to know what Roe vs. Wade was about. In Chennai, they may have some of the finest legal brains in the world but not everyone has heard about Roe vs. Wade or other key cases in U.S. Supreme Court." Most Filipino lawyers sit for U.S. bar exams and that gives Manila a leg-up over India, China, or Malaysia.

Design work is another place where Filipinos have and edge, according to Sigelman. He says he has found incredible depth of design talent in Manila; the kind of talent that is hard to come by in Bangalore, Hyderabad, or Chennai.

OfficeTiger's clients include large insurance companies, retailers, and publishers of books and directories. OfficeTiger is looking at Philippines operations to provide 40% to 50% of its total annual revenue growth over the next three to five years.

TALENT POACHING. Another factor working in the Philippines' favor is cost. In India, wage costs in outsourcing have risen 15% per annum over the past two years. This rise has outsourcing firms and clients looking for alternatives. With that in mind, the risk for the Philippines is that its relatively low office-rental and labor costs could also start to rise dramatically.

Already, heavy demand for office space, despite a boom in construction of new buildings, is causing upward pressure on rents. Companies that are expanding say costs are starting to escalate fairly rapidly. There are signs of a tight labor market, too. Excessive poaching of talent that was the norm in India a few years ago is becoming common in Manila as well.

New companies are offering "joining bonuses" to the most talented the day they sign up for the job. Many employees are given bonuses for finding new recruits. "It's inevitable that costs will rise but the Philippines is still a very competitive place for the sort of work we are doing," says Sigelman.

MONEY FOR TRAINING. Cabinet Secretary Saludo says the government is focused on developing human capital through education and training to keep a steady supply of talent for the outsourcing sector. Manila is also beefing up the telecommunications infrastructure, he says.

Chasing the outsourcing wave is a smart strategy for an economy such as the Philippines'. Compared with capital-intensive manufacturing, service businesses are cheap to set up, and can generate a hundred times more jobs per dollar invested. President Arroyo recently earmarked $10 million for new trainees in the outsourcing industry. Students interested in outsourcing jobs are given vouchers that can be used for tuition at vocational institutes.

Unless cost escalation gets out of hand or other infrastructure bottlenecks appear, the Business Process Association of Philippines projects that outsourcing in the Philippines could be an $11 billion industry employing 900,000 people by the end of 2010. That will put it close to where India is today. "Five years from now, there could be a lot of countries doing as much as India is doing today," says Infosys CEO Nilekani. "We are just scratching the surface in outsourcing and off-shoring."

Check the article and comments here

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Benchmarking Report - The Philippines

Just wanted to share in brief the 2006 Industry Benchmarking Report - The Philippines. Should you need to know the whole 2006 and 2007 report, you must purchase the report at this website -



• The2006 Contact Center Industry Benchmarking Report – The Philippines, is researched and published by
• This report is part of a study of the contact center industries in six Asian countries: China, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
• has produced the Asian Contact Center Industry Benchmarking Report since 1997.
• 67 telephone and online interviews with contact center managers and decision makers in The Philippines were conducted in November 2006.
• The total number of contact center seats included in this study is 45,285 which is estimated to
be 43% of the total Philippines industry seat size. As such, this sample is sufficient to make generalizations of the results to the wider contact center industry in The Philippines.


• All results in this report have been cross-tabulated by contact center size.
• Z-tests were conducted to test statistically significant differences between the subgroups.
Definitions of statistical terms:
• Mean (or average) – the sum of all values divided by the number of values.
• Median (or midpoint) – the number in a range of values that falls exactly in the middle so that 50% of the cases are above or below.
• Mode – the most frequently occurring value in a range of values.
• Statistically significant difference - there is a difference between the means of two groups that has a very low probability of having occurred by chance or error.


70% of the respondents’ contact centers in The Philippines are in-house (captive) centers.

Outsourced Contact Centre -30%
Banking, Finance, Insurance - 18%
Transport & Freight -13%
Retail / Wholesale - 9%
Hospitality / Tourism & Management - 9%
Manufacturing - 5%
Telecommunications / Utilities - 5%
Information Technology- 5%
Government, Education & Healthcare - 5%
Business Services / Media - 3%


The total number of contact center seats in The Philippines in 2006 is estimated to be 105,000.
This number is projected to increase to 140,000 seats in 2007. This is a 33% growth rate.

Number of Contact Centers Per Organisation - 51% of organisations have 1 contact center, 15% have 2 centers and 34% have more 3 centers or more.

Number of Seats Per Organisation - In The Philippines, the mean number of seats per organisation is 676. This is predicted to grow to a mean number of 798 seats in 2007.

International versus Local Servicing - 46% of contact centers in The Philippines service international markets.

Servicingless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+

ServicingIn HouseOutsource

Countries Serviced by Contact Centers - 78% of contact centers in The Philippines currently service the domestic market. 34% of contact centers service the USA and 13% service Singapore and the UK.

% of Calls that Require Agents to Speak in a Language other than the National Language - On average, 49% of calls require agents to speak in a language other than the national language.

Languages Spoken in Contact Centers - 100% of contact centers in The Philippines require a proportion of agents to speak English to customers. 81% also require a proportion of agents to speak Tagalog to customers.

Opening Days - Nearly half of contact centers in The Philippines operate 7 days per week and 31% operate 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

No. Of Days Contact Center Open per Weekless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
5 days43%25% 0%21%
6 days50%25%60%14%
7 days07%50%40%64%

No. Of Days Contact Center Open per WeekIn HouseOutsource
5 days32%10%
6 days36%10%
7 days32%80%
24 x 723%50%

• There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of contact centers with 20 seats or more that open 7 days per week.
• There is also a statistically significantly higher proportion of outsourced contact centers that open 7 days per week and 24 X 7.


Mean % of Customer Contacts per Channel
  • Contact Center (Phone) - 57%
  • Branch Retail -13%
  • CC Web Email - 15%
  • Sales Force - 16%

Handling of Customer ContactIn HouseOutsource
Contact Center - Phone51%70%
Branch/Retail Network17% 6%
Sales Force18%11%
Contact Center - Web Based15%14%

There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of outsourced contact centers that handle customer contact over the phone by the contact center and a statistically significantly higher proportion of inhouse contact centers that handle customer contact through the branch/retail network and sales force.

Primary Activity at Contact Center -
  1. Customer Service - 52%
  2. Technical Support - 13%
  3. Inbound Sales - 13%
  4. Outbound Sales - 18%
Inbound vs. Outbound Functionality -
  • Inbound Only - 24%
  • Outbound Only - 7%
  • Blended - 69%
Mean Weekly Transaction Volume per Center - Each contact center handles an average of 160,399 transactions per week.

Channel Volumes - The share of transactions through each channel shows a high reliance on agents. Agents handle 49% of all transactions that come through the contact center with no automation, plus an additional 18% of transactions after some functions have been handled by the IVR.

Handling Contact Center Transactions (%mean)In HouseOutsource
Phone (Agent) 50%45%
Phone (agent after IVR)13%32%
Email 15%8%
Fax 10%2%
Letter 5%2%
Phone (IVR) 1%4%
Product ordering via web1%2%
Web Chat (text) 1%1%
Phone (speech recognition)1%2%
Web Chat (voice) 0%1%

• There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of outsourced contact centers handling transactions by phone (agent after IVR).
• There is also a statistically significantly higher proportion of in-house contact centers that handle transactions by email and fax.

Inbound and Outbound % of Total Calls - 66% of total calls handled by contact centers in The Philippines are inbound.

Agent Call Handling - no. of calls per agent per shift - Inbound, outbound and blended agents all handle between 60 - 70 calls per shift per day.

No. of call handled by AgentIn HouseOutsource
Inbound Only4881
Outbound Only5574
Blended45 inbound + 28 outbound26 inbound + 28 outbound

Inbound only agents in outsourced contact centers handle a statistically significantly higher number of calls than inbound only agents in in-house contact centers.

% of Contact Centers that Report an Up or Cross- Selling Opportunities from Inbound Calls - 71% of contact centers in The Philippines report opportunities to up or cross-sell from inbound calls.

Mean % of Total Inbound Calls that Present an Up or Cross-Selling Opportunity - Of those contact centers in The Philippines that report opportunities to up or cross-sell from total inbound, on average, 52% of all inbound calls present an opportunity to up or cross sell.


Budget Allocation - On average, 46% of the total contact center budget in The Philippines is allocated to labor related expenses. 20% of is allocated to technology expenses and 19% is allocated to telecommunications.

Cost per Seat and Optimised Cost per Transaction Budgets - Annual Cost per Seat $18,086*

*Please note these calculations are based on one seat operating 12 hours a day, 6 days a week (3,744 hours per annum). The seat on average handles 12 contacts per hour
(44,928 contacts per annum), with an average call duration of 3 minutes and an average wrap time of 1 minute. The occupancy rate of this seat is averaged at 80%.
The transaction cost is an estimate of what an optimally performing contact center in should cost given these conditions.


Agent Gender and Age -
  • Agent gender in contact centers in The Philippines is fairly evenly split. 42% are male and 58% are female.
  • Agents in The Philippines are predominantly aged between 18-34 years.
Salary -

  • Full-Time Agent Annual Base Salary (PHP) - Full-time agents in The Philippines are paid on average PHP 164,848 per year, with a median of PHP 150,000.
  • Part-time agents are paid on average PHP 69 per hour, with a median of PHP 45.
Staff Ratio -
  • On average, in The Philippines, the ratio of Contact Center Manager /Supervisor to Agent is 1:8.
Training -

  • New recruits in The Philippines receive on average 20 days training before starting work in the contact center.
  • Experienced agents receive on average 7 days of external /internal classroom training per year. Experienced agents also receive on average 10 days on the job training per year and 5 days of e-learning training per year.

Training Days - new recruitsless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
External/Internal classroom training11122230

Training Days - experienced agents (per annum)less than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
External/Internal classroom training52811

Training Days - experienced agents (per annum)
In HouseOutsource
External/Internal classroom training415

% of Centers Allowing Telework- 6% of all contact centers allow their agents to telework. In centers that allow agents to telework, on average, 1% of agents do.

Average Days taken in Sick Leave (per agent per annum)- On average, in The Philippines each agent takes approximately 11 days of sick leave per annum.

Agent Attrition -
  • In The Philippines, the mean attrition rate of fulltime agents is 18%.
  • The mean attrition rate of part-time agents is 24%

Attrition Range (%mean)Full Time AgentsPart Time Agents
0% 30%36%
1-5% 6%7%
6-10% 9%7%
11-15% 8%0%
16-20% 17%7%
21-50% 27%29%
P51-100% 3%14%

Industry Movement of Staffless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
No (0%) Fulltime Agent Attrition29%55% 20%15%
No (0%) Partime Agent Attrition50%100%0%12%

Industry Movement of StaffIn HouseOutsource
No (0%) Fulltime Agent Attrition40%5%
No (0%) Partime Agent Attrition57%14%

• There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of in-house contact centers with no (0%) full-time and part-time agent attrition.
• There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of contact centers with less than 50 seats with no (0%) full-time and part-time agent attrition.

Type of Attrition:

  1. Resigned - 51%
  2. Transferred - 23%
  3. Dismissed/Retrenched - 12%
  4. Did not renew contract - 10%
  5. Retired - 3%

Movement of Staff (%mean)In HouseOutsource
Agents who resigned 58%40%
Agents who transferred to other parts of the business27%18%
Agents who did not renew his contract 4%18%
Agents who were dismissed/retrenched 8%18%
Agents who retired 3%2%
Others 0%4%

• As a percentage of total attrition, there is a statistically significantly higher proportion of agents in in-house contact centers who resigned and agents who transferred to other parts of the business.
• There is a statistically significantly higher proportion of agents who did not renew their contract in outsourced contact centers.

Average Tenure of Staff who Leave the Contact Center (Months)
  1. Agents (FT) - 18
  2. Agents (PT) - 12
  3. TL/Supervisors - 18
  4. CC Managers - 44

Ave Length of Tenure (months)In HouseOutsource
FT Agents2212
PT Agents65
TL/Sup 820
CC Managers10419


Technology Implemented -

Technology Implementedless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
IP Telephony21%20%40%57%
Call Recording System14%10%20%68%
Workforce Management Software0%20%40%50%
Speech Recognition Software0%20%40%43%
Voice and Data Recording& QMS 0%0%0%61%
IPredictive Dialers0%5%20%46%

The large (100+ seats) contact centers in The Philippines appear to be the innovators of the contact center industry in terms of implementation of technologies.

Technology ImplementedIn HouseOutsource
ACD 53%75%
CRM 49%80%
IVR 26%75%
IP Telephony 26%65%
Call Recording System 17%80%
CTI 28%50%
Workforce Management Software 19%55%
Speech Recognition Software 19%45%
Voice and Data Recording & QMS 4%75%
ERMS 15%45%
Predictive Dialers 6%60%
E-Learning Systems 11%40%
SIP 6%30%

Technology Purchase in the next 12 months - Key Purchase

  1. Voice and Data & QMS - 21%
  2. IVR - 19%
  3. E-Learning - 18%

58% of contact centers currently in The Philippines have a disaster recovery plan in place. 42% do not.

Have Disaster Recovery PlanIn HouseOutsource
With DRP44%84%

Have Disaster Recovery Planless than 20seats>20-49 seats50-99 seats100+
With DRP33%57% 20%81%

Key Performance Indicators

Key Contact Center Metrics (MEAN) -
  • Average Abandon Rate - 10%
  • Average Inbound Talk Time (secs) - 329
  • First Call Resolution - 73%
  • Average Speed of Answer (secs) - 26
  • Occupancy Rate - 75%
  • Average Outbound Talk Time (secs) - 300
  • Answered with Service Level Target - 77%
Call Quality Measures - 69% of all contact centers use Call Monitoring by Supervisors. Nearly half of all contact centers use Call-Back Surveys and 40% use Random Surveys by Agents. 24% of contact centers do not use any call quality measures.

% of Contact Centers that have Quality Accreditation - 32% of contact centers have ISO- 9000 quality accreditation, 19% have COPC quality accreditation and 57% of contact centers do not have quality accreditation.

Outsourcing of Contact Centre Functionality

% of Organisations Currently Outsourcing some of their Contact Center Functionality - 22%

Percentage of Contact Center Functionality Currently Outsourced (Base = only those currently outsourcing) - 50%

Current Outsource Locations - Of those contact centers in The Philippines currently outsourcing some of their contact center functionality, 70% of centers currently outsource to The Philippines. A smaller percentage also outsource to a number of other countries.

Organisations Planning to Outsource Any / Any Additional Contact Center Functionality in Next 12 Months - 17%

Planned Outsourced Locations - Of those contact centers planning to outsource some contact center functionality in the next 12 months, 75% plan to outsource to The Philippines. A smaller percentage also plan to outsource to a number of other countries.

Management Challenges

Significant Challenges Facing Contact Centers in the Next 12 Months
  • Human Resources - 82%
  • Customer Service - 67%
  • Technology - 63%
  • Sales - 58%
  • Finance - 58%
  • Organizational Change - 40%
Respondents in The Philippines believe that the top three major challenges facing contact centers over the next 12 months are Human Resource Management, Customer Service and Technology.

Reminder : For the whole report please purchase it from

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Global Call Centre

Sharing some of the benchmarking report on GCC 2007. Here are some highlights (part of the Executive Summary Report). Report made by Dimension Data.

Dimension Data's Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report has a proud history of comprehensively investigating and reporting on the performance levels achieved and operational realities experienced by contact centres around the world. Since its initial publication by Merchants in 1997 in the United Kingdom, the report has grown to include contact centres from around the world.

Participation in the latest annual Benchmarking Survey includes 403 participants from contact centres from 42 countries worldwide providing an excellent representative sample from the following industries: Financial Services, Service Providers and Telecommunications, Government and Education, Consumer Goods and Retail, Business Services, Automotive and Manufacturing, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Media and Entertainment, Technology, Travel and Transportation and Utilities and Energy.

This is a report about contact centres: how they work, how they perform and are likely to develop. With coverage in all areas that affect a contact centre's performance (including Strategy and Development, Financial Management, Customer Knowledge and Management, Performance Measures and Metrics, Processes and Procedures, Organisation and Technology) the report provides a breakdown and comparison of the trends, standards and expectations of contact centres around the world.

For each area we will review the key themes and findings.


The overall focus of this section is the strategies and development plans in place across contact centres. Contact centres are increasingly important business functions within organisations, as they operate both as a key point of contact for the company’s customers and as a tool for driving sales. Understanding this value, businesses have to develop a strategy to gain a competitive advantage in the field, finding their key drivers for growth and development. In this chapter, we assess what our research tells us about the building blocks of such a strategy, and what contact centres are focusing on.


1. There is a strong customer focus across sectors and regions
2. Staff availability is the top driver for contact centre location
3. Quality of service is a key issue and focus area
4. The scope of the contact centre continues to grow
5. Multi-channel development continues


• Customer satisfaction is ranked consistently highly as a part of development strategies; it scored 87.3% among all strategies. Quality and process improvements were second, with 80.7%, and staff satisfaction ranked third with a 70.2%.

• Cost-based strategies are being given less strategic priority. Cost reduction targets rank at 46.5% as components of development strategies and cost reduction is now only the second most important driver for location strategy
(after staff availability).

• The top strategic driver for contact centres is improving on service (ranked most important by 24.3% of contact centres and weighted ranking of 40.2%).

• Quality of service (QoS) is the top contact centre management issue (26.3% rank this first) by a considerable margin.

• Outsourcing evaluation and selection seems to have reached a peak and the growth in the percentage of contact centres evaluating and selecting this option has slowed considerably.

• The top three reasons given by organisations that decided to outsource are

(1) potential cost savings,
(2) flexibility to expand and decrease capacity in short timescales, and
(3) service improvement.

• Customer focus carries through to some degree in contact centre organising principles. The top four organising principles are:
a) Customer or market segments: 38.0%
b) Function (e.g. sales, service, marketing, finance): 31.1%
c) First tier to handle all segments, products and functions: 28.5%
d) Products or product groupings: 27.1%

The top four development areas for contact centres are:

Planned Carried Out
a) Expanding the scope of the contact centre 58.6% 29.2%
b) Developing multiple channels 53.1% 34.3%
c) Consolidating different functions 27.5% 21.5%
d) Rationalising the same functions 27.5% 24.0%


While contact centres may be about delivering the best possible service to customers, whether it be through agents or some kind of automated process, when it comes down to reality, even the most successful contact centres have to be commercially viable for their organisations. This section explores the strategies and approaches to articulating the contact centre’s value as well as some financial metrics for the contact centre.


1. Financial independence and autonomy are still not widespread in contact centres
2. Contact centres are not yet articulating their value using strategic measures
3. Staff costs continue to comprise the largest component of contact centre operational costs
4. Multi-channel financial measurement is still immature, with few centres having the capability to measure financial costs for the multiple channels in place


• When looking at the number of contact centres that are viewed by their organisation as pure cost centres, very little has changed over the last three years, with some 57.4% of contact centres seen in this light, the same percentage as recorded last year and only one percent down from the 58.4% recorded in the 2005 Report.

• Fewer than 50% of contact centres surveyed have any processes in place to measure the success of the centre against value metrics.

• Globally, salary costs alone make up 69.0% of the centre’s overall costs, reaching a high of 74.9% in North America and bottoming out at 64.0% in Africa and the Middle East.

• The average percentage of budget spent on technology is just 8.6%, with a high of 9.8% in the Asia-Pacific region and a low of 6.5% in North America.

• Cost per seat overall is USD 4,944 fully loaded and USD 3,413 without agent costs.

• There is a large difference in the costs of different channels, with letters (USD 7,13), faxes (USD 7,06) and emails (USD 5,34) most expensive and self-service channels cheapest.

• Agent-assisted phone interactions cost on average USD 4.66.

• The majority of contact centres (66.9%) do not charge external end-users or customers for service. The most popular means for those that do charge is to invoice the customer per transaction (21.9%).


The focus on customer experience across the contact centre market has been a theme for several years now. In this section we explore some of the more tangible aspects of delivering this customer experience through strategies such as segmentation, personalisation, telephone number strategies and single views of the customer.


1. Customer segmentation is a key and growing strategy for contact centres.
2. Personalisation of service has grown dramatically and is now used in about four in ten centres
3. A single view of the customer across channels, customer information, products and services and transaction history is still a challenge for most contact centres.
4. Contact centres are adopting a more mature, balanced approach to customer satisfaction measurement.


• Organisations are increasingly implementing segmentation policies that include the broader organisation:

a) Last year 43.6% of contact centres were implementing separate segmentation strategies that differed from those of the broader organisation. This year the figures drop significantly to a meagre 26.0%.

b) 24.4% of contact centres used the same segmentation as their broader organisation last year, whereas this year the percentage has increased to 34.4%.

• With regards to telephone number strategies, the overall percentage of contact centres using a single number strategy has decreased from 35.8% to 32.7%, while regional segmentation has increased significantly from 4.7% to 12.4%.

• The overall percentage of organisations that are delivering a personalised and segmented service through their contact centres has increased markedly from 28.3% last year to 42.8% this year. The top six verticals delivering segmented services are:

a) Service Providers and Telecommunications: 55.8%
b) Business Services: 52.0%
c) Government, Education and Health: 48.8%
d) Manufacturing and Products: 47.4%
e) Technology and Media: 47.4%
f) Utilities and Energy: 46.2%

• Just 36.0% of organisations have a single view of the customer across the multiple channels they offer. That number increases to 50.8% when it is just across products and services; 48.2% have a single view of the customer across customer data and 46.0% have a single view of the customer across transaction history. Incredibly, 30% of contact centres believed that developing a single view of the customer did not apply to them.

• Overall customer satisfaction remains similar to last year’s levels (82.0%). The overall average customer satisfaction score is 81.5% and varies from a high of 86.7% in Government, Education and Health to a low of 73.8% in Technology and Media.

• This year, 72.4% of contact centres have the ability to either fully or partially measure the impact of service changes on customer satisfaction, compared with 62.9% last year.


In this section of the Benchmarking Report, we assess how the contact centre industry is performing against a
range of metrics and KPIs. The findings cover three sections, namely: inbound traffic management, outbound traffic management, and performance measurement.


1. Overall inbound call volumes are mostly flat across regions and industries
2. One in five interactions are non-telephone
3. Web self-service and SMS / text messaging have grown to comprise the largest portion of non-telephone
4. Do not call legislation is affecting outbound call volumes but solicited outbound activity generates much better results than other campaign types
5. Performance measurement remains focused on tactical, operational measures, not metrics that will assist in articulating value and strategic progress


• Inbound call volume growth has peaked for the industry as a whole, although the Telecommunications and
Service Provider sector and large call centres are still showing rapid growth in call volumes.

• There was a major drop reported in first call resolution (FCR) by the initial agent over the past 3 years from
82.1% in the 2005 Report to 80.7% last year and now 69.8% this year.

• However, there has been a significant positive change in the resolution time on enquiries requiring follow-up within the contact centre (a 54.0% cut in turn-around time from 6.5 hrs in the 2005 Report to 3.0 hrs this year) and in the broader enterprise (a 57.5% cut in turn-around time from the 2005 Report at 21.6 hrs to 9.2 hrs this year).

• There has been a significant upturn in the use and success of self-service by phone. Self-service completion
rates continued to climb with a 19% compound growth on last year’s completion rates.

The majority of industries this year reported that they answer more calls within 20 seconds than they did last
year. Overall, 74.2% of calls are answered in 20 seconds.
• Allowing customers to request a call-back rather than wait in a queue is a strategy used in some contact centres. However, a call-back is more expensive than handling the call on its first presentation:

a) Call-backs have 10% longer talk- and wrap-times compared to inbound calls (177 seconds talk time and 72 seconds wrap time for inbound compared to 198 seconds and 81 seconds for outbound),

b) There is an additional overhead for call-backs due to the pre-call preparation time.

• Non-phone based interactions constitute 22.0% of all contact centre inbound and outbound contacts. Of
those, just under half (48.6%) are web-based and the remainder are split between email, fax, postal and SMS

• This year’s responses show a slow-down in outbound dialling overall. The slow-down is pronounced in regions where do-not-call lists have gained support.

• Outbound cross-sell and up-sell campaigns directed at the existing customer base or appointment setting from a qualified lead and followed up by the field sales force are over 200 times more effective than calling to a prospect list.

• While the range and focus of the strategic KPIs contact centres are using have not improved, operational KPIs have:

a) 58.0% of contact centres measure quality/error rates and 52.3% measure first contact resolution.
b) Workforce optimisation tools and principles are playing a larger role too; 41.6% of contact centres are using capacity forecasting accuracy as a KPI.

• Agents spend around 60% of their time speaking to, reading emails from or responding to clients. Multi-channel agents spend less time interacting with clients (60.7% for phone, 58.6% for email and 54.3% for multi-channels) and report a longer wrap-time, a longer idle time and spend more time in training and meetings than their single channel counterparts


Processes and procedures determine the ‘how’ of contact centre operations. It’s critical to the success and growth of contact centres that effective and repeatable processes are in place to guide activities and deliver optimal value. Many organisations are focusing on the potential for process automation, and overlooking the inescapable fact that automating a poorly defined or executed process will not make a bad process better. In this section of the Benchmarking Report we review the progress made and challenges faced in managing the customer processes and procedures in the contact centre.


1. Process automation continues to be a key focus area
2. Integration of the organisation and contact centres at a process level still has some way to go
3. Multi-channel process design is underway, enabling true multi-channel service delivery
4. Customer enquiry tracking is now widespread and should lead to improved customer service


• The dominant trend in process re-engineering or improvements is automation (54.9%)

• There is some degree of misalignment of processes and data between the enterprise and the contact centre:
only just over a half (54.9%) have full or active co-operation with their broader organisation on process design

• Over 80% of contact centres report some level of documented process across multiple channels
Three quarters of contact centres have service level agreements (SLAs) in place:
a) However, of these, over 40% report that the SLAs are effectively useless because they are not enforced.
b) Almost 70% of contact centres have the ability to monitor and manage SLAs related to handoffs to other business areas.
c) Almost 80% of contact centres track enquiries, with approximately half of these centres tracking only those calls which stay within their own environment, an improvement on last year.

• The overwhelming majority of contact centres - 90% - use some formal method to benchmark their operations. Internal assessments continue to decline (as in previous years), and use of this Report increased significantly (to 63%) from last year (50%).

• Ninety-three percent of contact centres will make identification on at least some transactions, while half go one step further and authenticate the caller.

• When it comes to decisions that have financial consequences, 60.0% of contact centres allow their agents
some level of decision-making. This represents a 10% decrease from last year’s results and overall, in every
industry and region, there was a drop.

• Globally, the average contact centre is open for business for 20 hours of the day.

• Sixty-six percent of contact centres report that they do not use load balancing. Of those that do employ load
balancing, over 50% base the strategy on the simplest metric - the number of calls in the queue.

• Just 49% of contact centres report that they have a disaster recovery plan in place and that they test it.


People management is a critical issue in any industry or corporate department, but is especially important in
contact centres, an industry well known for its high staff attrition rate. A true understanding of how agents, team leaders and managers are being supported is vital for the continued growth and development of this sector. In this section of the Report, overall organisational and HR strategies, practices and performance indicators are reviewed to see how contact centres are managing their people to drive customer service delivery.


1. Contact centre reporting lines continue to climb, reinforcing the importance to the organisation as a whole of an efficient and effective contact centre
2. A significant, but still minority, proportion of contact centre staff are equipped to deliver multi-channel service
3. Attrition and absenteeism are ongoing issues. The industry loses a large portion of productive days to
absenteeism and sick leave
4. Lack of commercial discipline to demonstrate the value of the contact centre activities spills over into HR and training (with, for example, few centres measuring the benefits of training against costs)


• Seventy-eight percent of contact centres report to director level and above.

• Staff retention is ranked by 48.8% of contact centres as their number one HR strategy driver.

• A much stronger emphasis is being placed on active career advancement within the contact centre environment with 50.7% defining a career development path for staff. This offers two distinct routes:

a) Multi-skilling of agents across different query types and channels (59.8%)
b) Developing more specialist roles and focus areas for agents (53%)

• The majority of agents (73.1%) are only equipped to handle telephonic support. However a substantial number manage email (13.2%) and multiple channel (29.0%) responses.

• Overall, the ratio of actual to available working days is 87.0%, resulting in 13.0% of available time being lost to absenteeism and sick leave.

• Agent absenteeism is 11.0% - no improvement from last year.
• The interviewing and selection process is still dominated by the traditional face-to-face interview (93.2%).

Telephonic screening and interviewing is not commonly used as a selection method in the European region (only 39.6% use telephone screening and 46.0% use telephone interviewing), although both are used some 60% of the time across the remaining regions.

• The average cost of hiring a new permanently employed agent is USD 1,673.78. This varies by regions:
a) Asia-Pacific: USD 802.82
b) Africa and Middle East USD 1,802.89
c) Europe: USD 2,080.78
d) North America: USD 2,473.23

• Contact centres allocate 18 hours per month of coaching time per agent. In Europe this jumps to a massive 25 hours, while at the lower end of the scale is the Asia-Pacific region, which allocates about 11 hours.

• The average salary earned by full-time agents in the industry is in the region of $ 21,000 per annum, rising to as much as $ 25,000.

• Only 50% of contact centre staff can clearly state the objectives or targets of the contact centre.

• Average agent attrition is 24.0% overall. This is highest in North America, at 31.0%, and lowest in Africa and the Middle East at 16.0% (quite possibly due to the high unemployment rates in this region).


The modern contact centre is a super-user of information and communication technology (ICT) systems. Today’s contact centre is a prime benefactor of two closely related and extraordinarily powerful currents sweeping through the ICT industry: those of Internet Protocol (IP) and the concept of convergence. The impact of IP is likely to be profound and lasting. However, the undeniable advantages that a single standard can bring are tempered by the reality of historical infrastructure: contact centres are faced with the challenge of adopting IP, and the advantages it brings, and at the same time continuing to use and extract a return from legacy equipment. In this section we explore the technology trends that are driving efficiency, effectiveness and performance across the industry.


1. Convergence is a reality; the majority of contact centres now have some IP technology in place
2. Organisational alignment and integration are yet to cascade through to technology infrastructure for most
contact centres
3. Convergence and the adoption of IP are driving more sophisticated use of CTI and multi-channel strategies are being supported by the increasing adoption of universal queues
4. Self-service technologies are seeing continued investment and focus
5. There is renewed focus on customer database and customer relationship management technologies


• More than 60% of contact centres have introduced IP-based or hybrid PBX/ACDs, which is significantly up from the 50.0% recorded last year.

• Flexibility of architecture is the top reason given by contact centres (68.9%) for the adoption of IP.

• Only 45.0% of contact centres have both a defined technology strategy and architecture in place for their
contact centre. Thirty percent have neither a strategy nor architecture in place.

• The majority of contact centres have a separate architecture from the enterprise architecture (60.5%).

• The most commonly used routing approach is call prioritisation (currently used by 64.9% of contact centres). For multi-site routing, contact centres rely primarily on call transfer and networked automatic call distribution systems:

a) Sixty percent use networked ACD and 41.1% use call transfer across sites.
b) Networked automatic call distribution has increased by three times from 21.0% in the 2006 Report to 60.3% this year.
c) Virtual, in-the-cloud (typically over the wide area network) routing is used by just 28.0%.

• Over half of respondents currently use CTI (53.4%) and a further 23.3% plan to use CTI services in the future.

• Universal queues have been implemented in 28.0% of contact centres with a further 15.9% planning to install.
• The majority (69.3%) of centres are recording calls. Twenty-one percent of centres are planning to upgrade and a further 14.3% report that they are planning to install recording platforms.

• Voice driven self-service technologies are receiving particular focus:
a) Twenty-seven percent (26.7%) of contact centres are looking to upgrade their IVR platforms
b) Twenty-five percent (24.7%) are planning to install speech recognition
c) Nineteen percent (18.6%) plan to introduce text-to-speech solutions
d) Twelve-and-a-half percent (12.5%) intend implementing voice authentication / verification solutions

• The top three non-voice channels from a technology adoption and investment perspective are:
Currently Have Plan to Install
a) Online self-service systems: 53.4% 12.5%
b) Email management: 47.0% 26.4%
c) SMS or text messaging: 31.0% 17.0%

• The most commonly used workforce optimisation (WFO) tools are workforce management (scheduling and
adherence), performance management, quality management, voice logging and agent analytics; 60% or more
of contact centres are using, upgrading or planning to use these applications.
• Seventy-five percent of contact centres currently have or are planning to install a customer database system. Seven out of ten (71.0%) are using or planning to use some form of customer relationship management (CRM)

Should you need to more of the executive summary please email me. For you copy of the report please complete their online form.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Make a Difference

Uta Hagen: "We must overcome the notion that we must be regular... it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

I belong to the service industry, wherein you must put other first before yourself. For others, this is just a job, but for others it is their passion. You can only last long in the service industry if you have the passion for it.

Service with passion is what teachers (who are still in their profession), priest and doctors (servicing the barrios) called "calling". In my humble opinion, they just wanted to help and make a difference. They are the ones who set their hearts right. In doing so, they touched many people lives and make this world a much better place to live in.

How can we make a difference? In this cynical world we live in there will always be a question of motive. Who can blame them? There are advertisements wherein testimonials from poor people on how this politician helped their lives better by providing water, electricity and housing etc.. They thanked the politician, not the taxpayer. Who in fact paid for it. If you really wanted to help and make a difference, do not aim for making a BIG difference and be recognize by the media for it. You do not need a lot of money or an association to help others. For me, all you need is to set your heart right. There will be people who will take advantage of every situation and will keep you from doing the things to set your heart right and as a human being you will be frustrated at times if not most of the time. Learn from those experiences and continue on moving forward. Always thank God that at least you are in a position to help.

I watched a documentary regarding extraordinary teachers. One of which hikes up the mountain to teach basic math, writing and reading to people who live up high. It is not an ordinary climb, a grueling 8 hours of hiking in a muddy and steep terrain. She is receiving the same pay as the ordinary teachers, no meal allowances, no service vehicle but still manages to put a smile while walking. When asked if she had any regrets, she said none with conviction.

Most of the time little acts of kindness goes a long way. A mere smile can make a difference to another person. A simple pat on the back, a simple idea, a time spent on the less fortunate. One does not need a formal education to understand that. The impact we made based on our action or lack of it determines how we can make a difference.

Let me share you a moving story about making a difference just by paying attention to a lost soul, here is the link

Your thoughts will be very much appreciated.

As Confucius say, "
To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right."

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