Call Center Businesses Packing Their Bags and Heading to South Africa
December 06, 2012
By Jamie Epstein
, TMCnet Web Editor
While India and more recently the Philippines have been highlighted as go-to regions for new call center businesses, it is likely these countries will soon see some stiff competition from South Africa, as the government there is now looking at ways to boost its call center industry.
Both Amazon and Aegis currently run call center businesses within South Africa, an area located at the southern tip of Africa and boasting many diverse cultures and languages. An interesting fact about this country is that although it has eleven official languages that are recognized within its constitution, English is the most used dialect within both public and commercial life. Thus, it makes complete sense why businesses are bringing their call centers here rather than to India, where strong accents can quickly infuriate consumers trying to quickly resolve a problem or make a complaint.
"The main reason for coming to South Africa was the pool of talent, with regards to the employees we could bring in," according to Coracel CEO Philip Lightfoot. Coracall is a British company that has seen great results from relocating its centers to this region with a major factor being the neutral accent exuded by those who live in the South African region of Durban.
Lightfoot added, "For the U.K. in particular there has been a stigma around the Indian accent. South Africa, as a destination, because it has such a neutral accent, especially Durbanites have such a neutral accent, means the U.K. population is receptive to speaking to individual from South Africa, and in particular, Durban."
Coracall is just one example of organizations looking to expand within the bustling country, with its current plans to continue to expand over the next three years. In fact, South Africa has launched various financial incentives as of late with the goal of bringing a large number of call center businesses to it.
"We can now compete with other offshore locations, such as India and the Philippines, much more favorably. It has lowered the barriers of entry into the market and it really has given the industry that competitive edge we have been looking for," commented Suleman Shaikh, a call center manager based in Johannesburg.
It looks like statistics agree with Shaikh because South Africa’s national association reports that the business process service and outsourcing market has grown a dramatic 85 percent from 2007 to 2010. While nearly 10,000 people now hold jobs within this rapidly expanding space, that number is forecasted to increase by nearly 40,000 by 2015.
"The industry has grown exponentially over the last 10 years," Shaikh said. "I have seen the industry grow from a few thousand agents to tens of thousands agents. I have seen it grow from just pure domestic operators to at least six new entrants from the U.K. entering South Africa over the last 24 months."
Additionally, robust technology has also helped to drive the success of call center businesses whether they are in Africa or anywhere else in the world. Voicent, a major call center business solutions provider, has an array of intuitive communication solutions such as a Call Center Manager, a Call Center Agent Dialer, and a Call Center Broadcast Suite.
When partnering with the company, it doesn’t matter where you are located because each and every offering is feature rich and extremely easy to use. So, while the South African call center business industry may be growing abroad, you can simply grow your call center business here with reduced complexity.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo