“Canada has become a highly attractive location for the contact center industry. The country is now established as a major industry player. The portion of its contact centers that serve international customers is 35%. 30% were primarily handling calls with US customers.
Canada ranks third after India and Ireland, who dedicate 73% and 35% respectively of its contact centers to international customers”, concludes a new report by UBC Sauder professor Danielle van Jaarsveld. Canada now serves a significant portion of the international market, particularly the United States (US) market.
While Canada is rarely noticed as a major provider in the international contact center industry, the global study found that the portion of contact centers serving international customers is 73 per cent in India, 37 per cent in Ireland and 35 per cent in Canada.
“Everyone’s talking India, India, India,” says van Jaarsveld, “but this phenomenon of US firms nearshoring customer service to Canada hasn’t received a lot of attention.”
This new study, The Canadian Contact Centre Industry: Strategy, Work Organization & Human Resource Management, was authored by Sauder’s Danielle van Jaarsveld, with Ann Frost of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and Sauder Ph.D. student David Walker.
The findings suggest several factors make the Canadian contact center industry attractive to US firms:
Researchers studied 406 contact centers, otherwise known as call centers, across Canada. This new Canadian research is part of the largest-scale study ever conducted into contact center management and employment practices, covering almost 2,500 contact centers in 20 countries, involving more than 40 scholars from 20 nations.
Other key findings of the Canadian study include:
* The majority of centers, 77 per cent percent, handle calls initiated by customers (in-bound calls).
* On average, workers speak with 100 customers a day, with an average call lasting 5.5 minutes.
Outsource versus In-House
* The majority of centres in the Canadian study, 62 per cent, are ‘in-house’ operations that serve a firm’s own customers.
* ‘Outsourced’ centers, which are operated by subcontractors to serve customers of one or several companies, constitute 38.7 per cent of the study.
Union versus Non-Union
* 19.9% of centers are unionized although unions are relatively rare in outsourced contact centers.
* Union presence has a significant impact on the bottom line: employees earn 36% more in unionized contact centers than their non-union counterparts.