Africa: A Rising Hub for Call Center Business Process Outsourcing
by King White, on Jul 10, 2023 8:00:00 AM
When it comes to offshoring call center operations, Africa might not be the first continent that comes to mind during the site selection process. However, in recent years, the region has emerged as a promising destination for call center outsourcing and the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. With its skilled workforce, competitive costs and rapidly improving technological infrastructure, Africa is carving a niche for itself in the global offshore BPO market.
Both large and small BPO providers have successfully entered the region with billable rates being competitive with traditional offshore locations such as India and the Philippines. In this blog post, we will explore the potential advantages that Africa offers for call center business process outsourcing.
Rapidly growing educated workforce
Africa has a rapidly growing and highly talented workforce with a large pool of young, educated and tech-savvy professionals. Many African countries are investing heavily in education and vocational training to nurture skilled individuals capable of delivering call center services. The region boasts an increasing number of university graduates, particularly in fields like IT, business administration and communication. By leveraging Africa's skilled workforce, companies can tap into a vast talent pool and access dedicated and competent customer service representatives.
Cost-effectiveness and competitive pricing
Operating costs are a crucial consideration for businesses exploring BPO options, and Africa offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional outsourcing destinations. Compared to other regions, such as India, Eastern Europe and the Philippines, Africa provides competitive pricing for call center BPO services. The lower labor costs, combined with a favorable exchange rate, make outsourcing to Africa an attractive proposition for businesses seeking cost savings without compromising service quality. Billable rates for BPO services range between $9 to $14 per hour depending on the type of hour, hours of operation and size/scale of the BPO provider.
BPO service provider presence
Africa is much more of an emerging region so the depth of BPO service providers doesn’t compare to mature markets like the Philippines and India. Countries such as South Africa, Egypt and Morocco have attracted the majority of BPO service providers. There are both large and mid-sized BPOs operating in Africa including Teleperformance, Webhelp, Afrishore, iContact, CCI, Alorica, Majorel, Xceed, Raya, Concentrix and others. There are new BPO operations expanding into the next wave of countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.
Technological advancements and infrastructure
Africa has made significant strides in technology adoption and infrastructure development. The rapid expansion of mobile and internet connectivity across the continent has facilitated the growth of the BPO industry. It is still critical to have backup generators to support a site given electrical grids can often be unreliable. You need to carefully evaluate the infrastructure within the city and at the site during the site selection process.
Cultural affinity and accents
One often overlooked aspect of outsourcing is cultural affinity and accents. Customers tend to respond positively when they can relate to the call center agents' cultural backgrounds, accents and communication styles. African call center agents possess a natural affinity for Western cultures due to historical, cultural and linguistic ties. This cultural familiarity helps in establishing rapport, reducing communication barriers and enhancing the overall customer experience.
Time zone advantages over other offshore locations
Despite being located so far from North America, Africa is generally six to eight hours ahead of North America which is a bit more attractive than nine to 12 hours ahead in India and the Philippines. Outsourcing to Africa allows companies to provide 24/7 customer support by leveraging the time zone difference effectively. For example, African call centers can handle overflow calls during off-peak hours for businesses based in North America or Europe.
Africa is fast becoming a global player in the call center BPO industry. With its skilled workforce, competitive pricing and advancing technological infrastructure, the continent offers a compelling alternative to traditional offshore geographies. By tapping into Africa’s multilingual capabilities, cost-effectiveness and favorable time zone advantages, companies can provide excellent call center services, expand their reach and gain a competitive edge in today’s globalized business landscape. As Africa continues to develop its BPO capabilities, the future looks promising for call center outsourcing on the continent.