Bursting U.S. Housing Bubble May Increase Value of Homeshored Customer Care Solutions, Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – SEPTEMBER 18, 2007 – In late 2005, IDC proposed an important irony embedded within the outsourcing model – that "offshoring's underestimated sibling, homeshoring”, could play the role of safe-haven of sorts for American workers in a globalized world. Two years later, IDC research indicates an additional irony – that the bursting U.S. housing bubble actually may serve to increase the value of homeshored customer care solutions.

“Housing's headwinds come at a time when American wage earners – a significant portion of which are customer care representatives working at bricks-and-mortar centers – are already facing a score of challenges to their productivity and their wallets," said Stephen Loynd, program manager for Contact Center Services at IDC. "At the same time, service providers need productive, professional, dependable agents like never before. Intriguingly, with regards to the delivery of high-quality customer care, homeshoring therefore becomes even more compelling as a model. In fact, the American home may become increasingly valuable as compared to the American automobile that has long enabled customer care agents to commute to brick-and-mortar centers."

Among the key findings from IDC's most recent homeshoring study include the following:

* The current nationwide housing crash could contribute to a new contact center landscape that is already evolving in the United States. Creative destruction in the economy may provide additional momentum toward homeshoring's development.

* Today service providers need productive, professional, dependable agents to enhance the customer experience. At the same time, wage earners are seeking ways to alleviate the stress of grueling commutes and are now being forced to become more assiduous savers.

* The homeshored model may therefore become increasingly valuable, with the American home becoming an appreciating asset in the form of a new kind of contact center for the future.

This market forecast study, The Irony of Homeshoring's Rising Value Amidst a U.S. Housing Bust (IDC #208501) updates the market analysis from U.S. Home Based Agent 2005-2010 Forecast and Analysis: Converging Economic Forces to Drive the Expansion of Homeshoring in the United States (December, 2005, IDC #34514). It is a forecast specific to outsourced home-based agents in the United States. It also examines particularly important trends that are impacting how some types of customer care might best be delivered.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 900 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 90 countries worldwide. For more than 43 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com .

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