Personal View of The Coming Call Centre Boom in South Africa

Personal View of The Coming Call Centre Boom in South Africa.

 By Niels Kjellerup, Editor & Publisher of The Call Centre Managers Forum. Dated 20th of February 2001.

 Here’s a new born country – rich in minerals but richer in its wonderful people. Yes, after two visits to South Africa I have returned home to Australia with a great future vision for its Call Centre Industry. Johannesburg and Cape Town are fighting it out to become the Call Centre Industries home. Every week new Call Centres are set up. Banks, Insurance Companies, Government have all embraced the alternative distribution concept of Call Centres. CRM implementations are underway to Internet enable Call Centres. Several international/local Outsource Companies already in place. My best guesstimate is that SA has 12-1500 call centres employing probably 20-30,000 people. Very similar to Australia before deregulation in 1996.

I have a dream for South Africa – “ to become the preferred Call Centre Outsource Location  for the European Time-zone “.

The key here is the large unemployed black work force – most speak a very understandable English , and though some linguistic training would be necessary – the natural friendliness and empathy of these people would make customer service training a breeze. Both the German and Dutch language is well covered.

The new technology is already in place – what is really lacking is the Telkom de-regulation and obviously for the Government to examine the feasibility of creating probably 50-100.000 new jobs in the customer service industry by copying what the Irish Development Board did to create the Call Centre boom in Ireland in the mid 90’s or for that matter a study of how Australia created 150.000 new jobs in the customer service Industry from 1997-2000.(for more read here).

All experience from other countries show that the SA Government must realise that by holding on to the Telkom monopoly, its stifling job creation for its own people and even worse by keeping the price of Bandwidth and International Call Rates outside competition stifling the uptake of eCommerce. Lack of competition in the Telecom-area is holding back development, no matter how its justified. Note that President Mbeki in his State of the Nation speech on 14/02/03 acknowledged the importance of the Call Centre Industry to South Africa.

Currently I have located one  Call Centre operating very successfully in SA handling calls from Europe at probably 60% of European cost. The Case Story (not a case study) of Global Telesales handling 100-120,000 call a month for Lufthansa in Germany is an eye-opener of the potential of South Africa. ( click here to read ).

Today 14.02.03 President Mbeki in the "State of the Nation" address to the South African Parliament added the Call Centre Industry to list of growth sectors to receive specific Government attention. President Mbeki further advised that the process of setting up a Government-wide Call Centre to improve services will be speeded up. (read extracts of the speech here).

Today 27.11.02- CEO  Nallie Bosman of Absa bank (South Africa's largest) opened the most modern state of the art Call Centre building in the Southern Hemisphere and committed Absa bank to  become a leading force in  making South Africa a hub for Call Centres. (read here).

Today 15.05.02  - On May 10th at CCNG SA Yearly  Ball Rod Jones gave this powerful overview presentation, documenting the rapid growth and maturity of the SA Call Centre Industry (Click here to read his presentation).

Today 19-03-02 I found the first UK outsource company Active Contact Solutions to setup shop  in Cape Town  and I added The Call Centre Institute of South Africa , which is tasked by the Government to certify training and education of Call Centre people.

 Today, 16-3-01, I learned that Swiss Air owned Qualiflyer Customer Call Centre is opening up an Outsource Call Centre in Cape Town. (Read Press release here). Renamed Mindpearl (15.05.02)

 South African call centre links


Dimension Data

Autrix Integration

Contact Centre Industry links

Active Contact Solutions 

Call Centre City

The Call Centre Institute of South Africa 


Dialogue Communications 

Global Telesales 


Prime Consulting

Commercial Websites supported by Contact Centres

Absa Direct 

Standard Bank

Solus Telemarketing


 Pls contact me to add more Call Centre related links.

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