Global Contact Center Industry Meets COVID-19 Challenge with Remote Work, Automation, AI

10/12/2020, 4:09 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced contact centers to quickly change the way they operate and sharpened interest in new technologies to address shifts in demand and consumer behavior, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensContact Center – Customer Experience Services global report found lockdowns triggered by the pandemic drove call volumes sharply higher in some industries but down in others, while at the same time forcing providers to adopt work-at-home arrangements virtually overnight. As more consumers turned to non-voice digital channels, companies embraced cloud platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) to better provide a scalable omnichannel experience.

“Companies are still adapting to the effects of lockdowns on work models and communication,” said Jan Erik Aase, director and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “In a disruptive time like this, enterprises need to deliver the best customer experience, with more personalization, to preserve brand loyalty. Enterprises that use technology to deliver a better customer experience can set themselves apart.”

The dramatic shift in buying and communication patterns among end users this year is likely to be irreversible, ISG says. With wait times and call abandonment rates rising, customers of all ages are adopting digital channels such as email, social and asynchronous messaging for immediate customer service.

Interest in cloud contact centers has grown even among legacy-heavy companies, as providers already using cloud platforms adapted more quickly to remote work requirements and were better able to provide effective omnichannel experiences, ISG says. Cloud solutions today are built with a full technology stack that includes tools for better workforce management as well as analytics, AI and machine learning (ML) to enable more personalized services.

The pandemic led to a sharp spike in the use of automation, with companies turning to conversational AI or bots for basic query resolution amid the disruptions. With automation becoming a necessity, many companies plan to scale up these capabilities while giving agents more specialized skills to field complex inquiries, the report says. Advanced analytics, including more complete background information on callers, is also becoming increasingly important. AI-powered speech, text and sentiment analytics and customer behavior prediction are enabling more meaningful conversations.

While the growing use of remote work can offer providers advantages, including lower costs and a larger potential workforce, it has also brought challenges related to training, agent motivation, background noise and security. Companies are turning to facial recognition, auto screen lock, voice biometrics, VPNs and other tools to tighten the security of work-from-home and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) operations. AI will play a role in this area, too, ISG says. With advances in technologies for remote work, a healthy mix of remote and brick-and-mortar working models is expected to emerge, according to the report.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensContact Center − Customer Experience Services global report evaluates the capabilities of 22 contact center providers across two quadrants: Digital Operations and AI & Analytics.

The report names Conduent, HGS, Sitel Group, Sutherland, Teleperformance and TTEC as leaders in both quadrants. Alorica, Cognizant, Concentrix, CSS Corp and Wipro are named leaders in one quadrant. Transcom and WNS are named as Rising Stars—companies with “promising portfolios” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant each.

Customized versions of the report are available from Conduent, CSS Corp, HGS, Sitel Group and Transcom.

The 2020 ISG Provider LensContact Center – Customer Experience Services global report is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe and Latin America, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, the Nordics, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offers a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

Starting this year, each ISG Provider Lens™ study will include a Global Summary to help enterprise subscribers better understand provider capabilities across all geographic markets covered by that study. All ISG Provider Lens™ reports also will now include an Enterprise Context feature to help executives quickly identify key insights related to their roles and responsibilities.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 700 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit

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Will Thoretz
Information Services Group, Inc. 
+1 203 517 3119

Jim Baptiste
Matter Communications for ISG
+1 978 518 4527
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