If you were to ask most people what the outbound call center capital of the world is, chances are, they would say India. Some people might hold on to the idea that the United States still holds supremacy in this area, while others might point to the increasing presence of the Philippines in the market. But more and more companies are taking their English-speaking call centers south – all the way to South Africa, that is.
Among the businesses that use South African call centers are Aegis and Amazon. Another company that has opened a call center in the country is Coracall, a British company which chose South Africa over India and the Philippines.
"The main reason for coming to South Africa was the pool of talent, with regards to the employees we could bring in," Coraccall’s CEO, Philip Lightfoot told CNN. “For the UK in particular there has been a stigma around the Indian accent. South Africa, as a destination, because it has such a neutral accent, especially Durbanites have such a neutral accent, means the UK population is receptive to speaking to individual from South Africa, and in particular, Durban."
For its part, the government of South Africa is trying to attract more call centers, introducing economic incentives in order to lure companies away from competing nations. So far, these tactics have led to an enormous growth in recent years. Between 2007 and 2010, the industry grew over 85 percent, and the number of call center agents in the nation is expected to quadruple in the next three years.
The call center industry brought in a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue from 2009 to 2010, and this has caught the attention of other African nations. It remains to be seen whether or not the region can challenge India for the top spot in the outbound call center space, but it certainly gives multinationals another option and can bring a much needed boost to local economies.
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