Mr Nallie Bosman’s speech – Contact Centre Launch 27 November 2002



Mr Nallie Bosman CEO of Absa


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  A heartily welcome to this official opening of the Absa Contact Centre.


As part of Absa’ quest and strategy to become a fully fledged customer centric business with a dedicated and committed customer focussed model, Absa will introduce you today to another initiative.


The face of banking has changed dramatically over the past few years and this is attributed to the ever changing market, client sophistication, technology and the continuous growing competiveness.


With customer centricity being a core driver for our business, Absa is relocating its contact centre operations into this state of the art facility, a facility costing in excess of 100m.The Contact Centre is designed in a way to encourage productivity with 24/7 services.  At peak times 1450 trained staff will be available to promptly answer telephones and provide expert assistance and advice to callers. Modelled on international standards and designed to support Absa’s business model, the added value client experience will no doubt be to the best advantage to all our stakeholders.


Many of the services include Internet, Telephone Banking, Internet Access, and Collections, Small Business loans as a well as Staff Support Services such as HR related, IT desktop and Policy and Procedure support, which will now all be housed within this state of the art venue.


The main objective of this initiative is simply to make banking more convenient and accessible to our clients. Convenience being of utmost importance. Clients can now be serviced from a platform, which will be available 24/7/365. The call routing will also be sensitive to the customer’s segmentation, language preference and the advisor skills.


Absa has a proven record by displaying its leadership in the contact centre field having recently competed against 45 call centres in South Africa in various industries, Absa Telephone Banking service team won the 2002 Call Centre Network/ Ask Africa Call Service Excellence Award. All the countries major financial services call centres participate in this competition.


The Mitial South African Call Centre Country report, ( to be launched in London on the 3rd December at the South African High Commission, benchmarks the SA call centre industry with countries internationally that have become call centre hubs.  John Every, Director of Location Services, says ‘The Mitial research predicts that South Africa will be the leading investment destination for call centres in the EMEA region’. One of our challenges though is providing skilled resources.  An innovative resource model piloted by ABSA, has the potential to be expanded so as to address this gap, thereby supporting foreign investment.


§                    We are in discussion with GEDA to establish a section 21 company to become the resource “pipe” that supplies young people with potential and winning attitude, that will attend a life skills programme, and accelerated development programme and then customised contact centre fast track training.


§                    We are also in discussion with a number of US companies who are keen to bring their contact centre requirement to SA – This represents a ‘win-win’ as we will increase our thoughput during off-peak periods, and they leverage high tech, operationally excellent yet cost competitive contact centre solutions.


Ladies and gentlemen I am sure that you will experience that this chosen banking solution will enhance service excellence and quality so as to ensure that our clients receive only the best.


Is it because of innovation that this year Absa achieved a list of accolades.  Please allow me the opportunity to list some which can be regarded relevant to this event. 


§                    Markinor Sunday Times – Top brand survey voted Absa as the most loved financial Services Brand – In the same survey Absa was voted 7th amongst the top 10 most admired companies in SA.


§                    As you are also no doubt aware, Absa was also voted best company to work for.


§                    International publication “Competitive World” ranks Absa IT as the best employer in the world for IT professionals.  Absa was the only bank listed amongst the top five American companies acknowledged.


§                    Nielson Net recognised as one of the top five sites in SA.


§                    Research results by Gartner International - Absa’s mainframe was rated as one of most cost efficient in the world.


§                    Absa reached the 2000.000 mark with the issuing of Visa Electron debit card.


§                    Absa launches Mark Shuttleworth on a tour across the country on his Hip2B square tour.  200 Schools, starting in the Western Cape when visited.


On the 18th we announced our half-year interim results for the period ending 30 September 2002. These results reflected:


§                    Headline Earnings 15,7% (excluding Unifer 22,5%)


§                    Earnings per share up by 15,2%


§                    Return of Equity 19,2%


§                    Return on average assets 1,22%


Absa is also actively involved in the community:


§                    Supporting JHB as internationally competitive city (contact centre is state of the art – fact sheet in media brief/release) – Investment Gauteng.


§                    Socially responsible (accessing young people from disadvantaged areas, plus creating jobs with international focus) but with clinical business motivation (reduce payroll cost).


In closure I would to thank our clients, members of the media and our staff for their continued support and commitment towards the success of this project. I am confident that this landmark will be a hallmark in banking and that in years to come we will recall this day as Banks in SA move even closer to their clients and proving even more added value service.


To those who are celebrating Christmas may I wish you a blessed Christmas and those who will be going on holiday may you have a restful and safe vacation.


Thank you




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