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Customer Care Jobs Return Home to U.S.

A new IDC market study confirms that "homeshoring" (the antonym to offshoring) will remain an attractive option for U.S. service providers and their employees, particularly as the global economy slips into what could be a deep and protracted recession.

"Current economic ripples are buffeting American wage earners, including customer care agents, at a time when workers already face significant challenges to both their productivity and their wallets," said Stephen Loynd, program manager, Contact Center Services research.

"I am convinced that when it comes to outsourced customer care, by the time we emerge from a possibly severe global recession, homeshoring will have developed into a more formidable sibling to offshoring than many would have expected just a few years ago."

Despite current economic indicators, IDC's new market forecast for U.S. broadband enabled home-based agents shows that the projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) remains robust at nearly 19 percent.

IDC is seeing a high degree of interest in this model of service delivery. Indeed, the contact center industry is replete with players moving to adopt the home-based agent offering.

This IDC study, entitled "U.S. Home-Based Agent 2008–2012 Forecast: Homeshoring in an Underwater World" is based on analysis of key trends and events in CY08 and their predicted impact on the home-based services market for the five-year period from 2008 to 2012.

It includes a forecast specific to outsourced home-based agents in the United States. This study also examines particularly important trends that are impacting how, depending on requirements, customer care might best be delivered.

Broadband access connections to the Internet can become a stimulus for enhancing this key trend. VoIP unified communications, including instant messaging and Web collaboration tools, can enable increased productivity for higher-cost U.S. labor.

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