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South Africa outpaces competitors in BPO services

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South Africa has emerged among the top-ranked emerging markets for global business services (GBS), also known as business process outsourcing (BPO).

This is according to the latest results of the GBS World Competitiveness Index, which ranks and rates top countries across four globalregions in terms of certain GBS/BPO service categories.

Customer experience (CX) and back-office outsourcing and offshoring were the categories in focus, with a total of 360 interviews conducted with global enterprise executives from organisations that outsource and offshore services.

The executives were asked to rank and rate each country they outsource to, including service level delivery across various key business process areas. In addition, analysis was conducted on each country’s talent pools, skills development initiatives, enabling infrastructure, multilingual capabilities, labour costs, specialist business processing services and CX capabilities.

Overall, the index found that emerging offshore locations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe rank well in the GBS World Competitiveness Index.

South Africa, Egypt, India and the Philippines feature among the top rankings across the five key CX and back-office categories, namely customer lifecycle management, back-office, data management, customer support administration and digital contact centre channel services.

The Southern African country also took the top spot globally for customer lifecycle services, with a score of 6.60, closely followed by the Philippines (6.32) and Egypt (5.95).

The findings note SA’s ranking comes as no surprise, as the country recently claimed top spot as the most favoured offshore location for call centres worldwide, based on the 2021 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey.

After three consecutive years in second place, SA beat stiff competition such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Poland, Egypt and Northern Ireland to claim the top award for the first time.

The annual Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey, by global firm Ryan Strategic Advisory, was conducted with 628 enterprise contact centre decision-makers across the demand markets of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and US.

Turning to the back-office services category of the index, India took lead position, scoring 5.90, with the Philippines (5.73) and SA (5.24) close behind.

As to countries that came out tops in terms of customer support administration services, Malaysia (6.23) was rated as the top global delivery location, with SA (6.10) and the Philippines (5.98) taking second and third place respectively. All regions performed fairly equally for customer support administration services. Central and Latin America (CALA) and Africa have two countries each in the top 10, including Mexico (5.74) and Jamaica (5.64), and SA (6.10) and Egypt (5.73).

Furthermore is the emergence of Africa’s digital contact centre channel services, which the index says is driven by the continent’s growth in digital skills and bilingual capabilities in European languages, especially in English and French.

Egypt has the highest ranking with a score of 6.27, while SA (6.04), Morocco (5.34), Kenya (5.04), and Rwanda (4.47) scored well in this category. Kenya, Mauritius and Rwanda were ranked as the top proficient African countries, it states.

“Over 70% of enterprise executives and buyers interviewed for the survey and index noted they planned to diversify geographic delivery in 2022 to maintain and sustain business continuity. This includes outsourcing to more emerging offshore and near-shore locations in Africa, Eastern Europe and CALA, and establishing smaller, satellite business delivery hubs and outsourced centres with local service providers in each region.”

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