According to Ovum (News - Alert)'s recently released report, "Front-Office BPO 2014 Trends to Watch," third-party contact center providers see the healthcare sector as a major 2014 growth opportunity.
Both healthcare payers and providers want to maximize efficiencies and manage costs while providing better service delivery. With the Affordable Care Act's focus on outcome-based patient care, contact centers can provide valuable patient resources including medication information, tech support for medical devices and other important services.
Additionally, as Americans work to navigate the new insurance exchanges, contact center agents are needed to provide guidance and to answer insurance-related questions. In fact, Ovum predicts that third-party contact centers will find business opportunities in any country whose government plays a major role in healthcare.
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Despite increasing healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO), most organizations will have flat or decreasing budgets for outsourcing. As a result, contact center providers will feel a squeeze in their profit margins, which will require changes to their business models.
For example, contact centers will have to grow more competitive by increasing their end-user service offerings, and, despite limited funds, they'll have to invest in talent and technology.
Although many U.S. contact centers will increasingly rely on home-based agents, Ovum predicts that the use of remote agents won't gain traction in other developed countries.
"The US will account for 90 percent of third-party home-based agent deployments in 2014," predicted Peter Ryan, Ovum's principal analyst for Global IT services. "Meanwhile, less than 20 percent of outsourcers in any other country indicated any type of increase, a fact unlikely to be lost on both pure-play and bricks-and-mortar providers of this business model."
The most popular countries for call center outsourcing will be mature markets, including India and South Africa. Call centers will have to improve their multi-channel capabilities, particularly related to social media, because consumers in emerging markets prefer to resolve problems on the Web or through social media.
Edited by Alisen Downey