Outsourced To Africa? Customer Service With A South African Accent

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Up to 1,000 South Africans will be servicing international customers at new call centers in Cape Town and Johannesburg thanks to a new entry in the market by Paris-based call operator Webhelp Group.

Webhelp said it plans to hire a 1,000 employees in South Africa in the next year as it makes its first big investment in the country, according to TechCentral.

The investment will include opening an 80,000-square-feet call center in Cape Town and a 48,000-square-feet facility in Johannesburg.

The plans come after Webhelp secured a major contract with an unnamed telecommunications company, the report said.

“The South African venture will give the company the ability to service international contracts, operating a blended onshore and offshore model from the site,” the company said in a statement.

The CEO of Webhelp South Africa is Craig Gibson, who established Vodacom’s retail presence and also worked at Ernst & Young and Dimension Data.

Webhelp has sales of $505 million with 35 call centers worldwide serving about 100 business clients, TechCentral reports.

Webhelp U.K. CEO David Turner said the South African investment is “complementary” to its English language call center operations in Eastern Europe.

“We have seen a trend over the last 12 to 18 months of organisations repatriating work from other offshore locations such as India and the Philippines as a result of poor customer experience,” Turner said. “All of our research tells us that South Africa can deliver an equivalent customer experience to the U.K. for certain processes.”

Gibson says South Africa is able to offer a “far higher standard” of customer support than some traditional business process outsourcing markets such as India and the Philippines, according to TechCentral.