Call centres becoming big business

James Vos (centre) with Teleperformance staff at the Observatory contact centre.PHOTO: Supplied

James Vos (centre) with Teleperformance staff at the Observatory contact centre.PHOTO: Supplied

The opening of new call centre sites in the past year in Cape Town underscores the city, and the country’s, standing as a favoured location among international Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.

For the second consecutive year, 700 executives from the demand markets of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) gave South Africa the accolade of being “the most favoured offshore CX (customer experience) delivery location in 2022” in the annual Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey.

According to James Vos, Mayco member for economic growth, among South Africa’s provinces, the Western Cape, and in particular Cape Town, continues to be the most sough-after location for offshore CX delivery in the country and in the past year has improved its market share to 65% of all delivery in South Africa.

“Together with domestic-facing clients, more than 70 000 people now work in the sector in Cape Town. Last year, the international BPO market in Cape Town contributed around R14 billion to the metro’s economy,” says Vos.

In September last year, Scottish firm Ascensos also announced its plans to launch a new contact centre operation in Cape Town.

Teleperformance, one of the biggest BPO companies in the world, is another example of an international company choosing Cape Town as the location for its new office space. At present, its Observatory site boasts 1 500 staff servicing four clients from the UK. By the end of the year, that will expand to 2 500 employees managing client companies in the UK and USA. The company is set to open a second Observatory workplace later this month.

Vos visited the new office space for Teleperformance earlier this month.

He says the rapid expansion of business in Cape Town’s call centre market is a testament to the City’s investment in skills development and job placements, for example the City’s Employment Accelerator Programme, in its high-growth industries.

“To date, almost 1 500 unemployed and previously disadvantaged individuals have been trained for call centres and each one of them has been offered permanent employment upon successful completion of their training,” says Vos.

These newly upskilled Capetonians now work across call centres in and around the metro.

“Realising the potential of Cape Town’s high-growth industries will further boost the local economy and extend job opportunities to even more Capetonians,” he says.

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