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South Africa – a global destination for business

November 8, 2018 • Finance, Opinion

Brandon Aitken, CCO of Webhelp

Brandon Aitken, CCO of Webhelp

In October South Africa was named the Global Destination of the Year by the Global Sourcing Association. When you look at the rate of growth, this is hardly a surprise.

According to the international research firm Everest Group, the global services market in South Africa has grown at an unprecedented rate of 22 percent annually over the past four years. This rate is twice the overall global growth rate and three times that of other popular outsourcing countries such as the Philippines and India.

South Africa has firmly established its mark on the global Business Process Services (BPS) industry and is being recognised as a leading offshore BPS destination. And given the attractiveness of our country, this is set to grow even further. The United Kingdom – the leading buyer of South African Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services – and Australia and the United States of America (USA), are increasingly looking for destinations that offer high quality English speakers who can deliver excellent service at a reasonable cost.

But this kind of growth and development doesn’t materialise overnight and it’s only happening now because South Africa’s ‘climate’ is ideal. But what makes South Africa the perfect destination for global brands? Unsurprisingly, there isn’t only one answer to this question.

South Africa, from the government to the private sector, understands how important outsourcing could be for the development of the country, which is why there has been a concerted effort to improve on key selling points that this country already has in abundance.

First and foremost, we have a strong foundation in contact centres, and the specific services that characterise our industry. As a business, we are evolving these capabilities, leveraging technology advancements and a skilled workforce, to meet the requirements of the next generation of customer experience.

Omni-channel customer experience is already being supported and strategic CX transformation is increasingly the main talking point for companies that come to see what we have to offer. Last but not least, we’re investing heavily in ancillary capabilities such as financial services, healthcare and legal process assistance.

In addition to high quality service capability, as a sector we’re able to offer compelling cost savings in relation to comparitor geographies. The cost of operations in South Africa is at least 50 – 60 percent lower than in Australia and the UK, and our inward investment incentives help to further reduce costs in line with other low-cost markets.

In fact, the South African BPO sector enjoys one of the highest levels of government support globally. Our government is aligned with our industry’s drive to contribute to skills growth and development. In fact, in order to improve local GDP there is great support and a range of incentives are available to help with investment and skills development.

As an industry we should recognise that without the skills of the people in our sector we would not have achieved such impressive results in such short a time.

Our customer experience, quality and engagement levels set us apart from other geographies. We can provide our growing list of clients with great quality neutral accented English-speaking advisors across South Africa. This workforce has exceptional levels of empathy, a trait which is at the very core CX. Our workforce is eminently able to connect with upcoming generations. Based on our relationships and history, we also have a cultural affinity to the UK and Australia, and increasingly to the USA.

In short, the people in our sector are the very heart of the BPO industry and, inherent to South Africans, we are constantly curious and open to acquiring knowledge and new skills. Our DNA sets us apart today and will continue to position us ahead of competitor destinations. We’re open to new locations, fields and sectors of expertise. We have earned our stripes in the future of global CX and that’s something we should be proud of.

To conclude, as a country and a destination, we have a strong, credible and competitive offering. We have a talented labour pool and high levels of government support. We’re confident that all these elements will continue to make South Africa the leading global destination for customer experience and business process outsourcing. And that’s why Webhelp is reinforcing its investment in this world-class BPS destination.

By Brandon Aitken, CCO of Webhelp

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