The call centre industry has shown growth of 13% in 2010.

According to the ‘2010 Contact Centre Industry Benchmarking Study’, revenue of $55 billion has been recorded for 2010, indicating a 13% increase over 2009’s figures. 2010 has also seen growth in contact centre seats by 3% (198,000).

The industry witnessed an increase in operating budgets by 15%, juxtaposed with a 5% decrease during the global financial crisis.

The study highlighted key areas of growth witnessed in 2010:

A move to multi-channel contact centre operations (voice, self-service and online channel integration) has been a focus in 2010, with one fifth of contact centres implementing multi-channel capability. 26% of contact centres admit to partially adopting multi-channel operations. Those centres in the areas of information technology, retail/wholesale and outsourcing are most active at utilising multi-channel integration.

Customer satisfaction in the contact centre industry recorded a score of 85%, the same as 2009’s result. Transport, professional services, finance and banking and insurance scored the highest in the customer satisfaction stakes. Telecommunications and retail/wholesale reported a lower score for customer satisfaction.

When looking to future goals, the industry placed high importance on improving customer experience (37%), upgrades to technology (32%) and cultural change within the contact centre (29%). Last year’s focus on cost cutting and budget restraints has been replaced with a return to concerns of staff turnover, training and agent development and the difficulty of recruiting staff.

Catriona Wallace, managing director of callcentres.net said, “The industry has well and truly shaken off the effects of the GFC and is back in growth-mode. Revenues, seats and employment are all up and we anticipate that this will continue through to 2011, when the total size of the industry as measured by seats is expected to grow by another 5%. Demand is not going to go away, particularly given the move towards multi-channel integration.”

The survey is based on interviews with contact centre staff representing over 729 individual contact centres.