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Webhelp expands local footprint with Durban BPO centre

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 29 Oct 2021
From left: Brandon Aitken, Webhelp SA CCO; Khanyisani Shandu, TIKZN; David Turner, Webhelp CEO for SA, UK and India; and eThekwini Municipality councillor Nkosenhle Madlala.
From left: Brandon Aitken, Webhelp SA CCO; Khanyisani Shandu, TIKZN; David Turner, Webhelp CEO for SA, UK and India; and eThekwini Municipality councillor Nkosenhle Madlala.

Global business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Webhelp officially opened its KwaZulu-Natal-based office this week, marking its fourth South African base.

Located in Durban’s uMhlanga Ridgeside office park, Webhelp announced plans for the KZN-base in August, saying it would bring 300 employment opportunities to the region.

According to the global consultancy and customer experience firm, it was inundated with applications from people looking to work as customer service advisors in the contact centre.

“We’ve had such a fantastic response from Durbanites from the start, and have been truly overwhelmed by the high-quality of candidate applications we’ve received to date,” says David Turner, CEO of Webhelp South Africa, UK and India.

“We’re really excited to be extending Webhelp’s footprint into the great city of Durban, and to witness first-hand the difference we’re able to make. Our latest recruits are joining an extensive global community and will be embarking on a long and successful journey with Webhelp.”

Sine Majozi, a contact centre associate at the new KZN base, comments: “I’m very grateful to be a part of Webhelp because it’s caught me at a time where I stepped out of my comfort zone and know what I want in life. I see growth opportunities for every individual who’s willing to work hard. The new office is stunning and also comfortable to be in. It’s more like a home and it makes me feel important and wanted by the company.”

Paris-headquartered Webhelp offers data-led customer service and contact centre services as part of its role in the BPO field.

The firm says it has more than 90 000 agents working across 190 locations in over 55 countries. In South Africa, it already has branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, with 5 500 agents working across all three locations.

According to Webhelp, Durban is a key site in building its local capacity, with the office environment reflecting the “cutting-edge quality” found in one of the country’s key hubs. The new building features green energy and water recycling features.

The facility prioritises mental, physical and spiritual health through an on-site health and wellness centre in partnership with Momentum. The centre includes in-house nurses, on-site COVID-19 vaccinations, annual health assessments, lifestyle information and education, and counselling for employees.

“With its wonderful climate, ocean views and our well-equipped work space, this is definitely the ideal environment for our passionate game-changers to thrive,” notes Turner. “This is just the start of Webhelp’s operations in Durban and we look forward to discovering new opportunities for growth so we can continue to welcome more Durbanites to our family.”

The African continent has recently been declaredthe outsourcing sector destination of choice, with SA noted as the nation with the highest contact centre manager monthly salary among its African counterparts.

Within the South African context, the BPO sector has witnessed rapid growth, with international companies like TransUnion and Amazon making key investments.

The sector is targeting 100 000 new jobs by 2023 and 500 000 by 2030. The country has also claimed top spot as the most favoured offshore location for call centres worldwide, based on the 2021 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey.

Business Process Enabling South Africa’s Andy Searle previously told ITWeb the local BPO sector has 271 850 people in its employ, with over 70 000 of those employees working for the international or offshore segment of the market.

In Cape Town, BPO has been identified as a high-growth sector due to the job opportunities and investment potential it creates. In May, the city said over the last three years, its BPO sector attracted R3.4 billion worth of investments, fuelling economic growth and employment in the city.

The Western Cape capital city also launched the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project to fuel further growth in this sector. The project will direct R55 million in funds towards training, paying stipends and doing job placements in the BPO, clothing and textile sectors.