SA contact centre industry gains traction

Read time 2min 10sec

The growth in the South African call centre industry is expected to continue, fuelled by international companies choosing to place their contact centres in the country.

This is according to Wynand Smit, CEO at INOVO, speaking to ITWeb, who notes other drivers of growth are the increasingly demanding customers.

According to industry body BPeSA, the local call-centre industry in the Western Cape has grown by about 8% a year since 2003, employs about 54 000 people today and contributes 0.92% to South Africa's gross domestic product.

Smit points the contact centre industry is a dynamic industry that grows and changes direction with customers' requirements changing the whole time.

Therefore, with technology continuously evolving, companies and call centre providers need to be willing to adapt to changing market requirements, he says.

According to Smit, the South African market has been slow to adopt some of the advances made in worldwide markets.

However, now that there are more options available that can provide more efficient customer service, the SA contact centre market is changing rapidly to meet with these industry developments, he adds.

Small and medium enterprises are well-placed to adopt operational changes, while the "giants" are more resistant to change, especially since the outlay costs for a larger organisation are much greater, says Smit.

"SA is a growing market, a company can survive with an inadequate investment in a business solution, but it makes sense that with an improved application of an efficient solution a more profitable environment is created as well as more loyal customers."

Contact centres are complex environments with the expectations of customers dealing with contact centres continually rising, says Smit.

Customers expect personalised, efficient, effective service, delivered by knowledgeable and skilled employees, he adds.

Smit points out the growth in the contact centre industry has also placed pressure on contact centre business environments when it comes to human resources.

The personal aspect of agents engaging with customers is essential to get right - these interactions are closely monitored, but often factors such as low pay within some contact centres leads to poor service, says Smit.

"It's tough to find and keep good quality agents. No matter what you do on a process or technology the agent in the end determines the quality of the interaction."

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