As more and more UK brands are turning to South Africa for offshore CX support, Keith Gait MBA CCXP, Chief Executive of the Customer Experience Foundation has recently visited a number of his members – who are BPO’s in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa. Here is a summary of what he saw with a link below to a free copy of the Outsourcing Guide to Durban and Cape Town 2023.
How the UK is calling on South Africa
Many UK CX executives are aware of the growth of the BPO industry in South Africa. At the Customer Experience Foundation (CXFO) we have a number of our members in the UK who have invested in CX centres in Cape Town and Durban, and many of our Brands who wish to know more about what’s involved in going there, so I was very keen to learn more about its credentials as a favoured offshore location.
During my visit I explored the exceptional service ethos and operational advantages that Cape Town and Durban have to offer. I have always known of the breathtaking landscapes, but it was a revelation to see just how much this location is doing to deliver outstanding customer experience and how deeply ingrained it is in the local culture.
This service-oriented approach extends to the business world and plays a pivotal role in the success of offshore operations. One of the prevailing myths is that offshoring operations must be managed from the UK due to concerns about capability. However, our visit to Cape Town and Durban shattered this misconception. Both cities boast a high level of capability in various industries, including customer service. The time difference of 1-2 hours to the UK has always been advantageous however we found that businesses do not have to manage their offshore operations from afar; there is a wealth of local talent and leadership.
While cost reduction is a significant driver for offshoring, it is not the only consideration. Cape Town and Durban have demonstrated that they are not just about labour arbitrage; they focus on delivering service excellence. Many offshore sites in South Africa match the service standards of onshore operations, and this is a key attraction for businesses looking to expand their offshore presence.
Infrastructure and Labour laws
One of the concerns often raised when considering offshore locations is infrastructure reliability. In Cape Town, there are scheduled power outages lasting two hours each day for load sharing. However, these outages are well-managed, with all providers having backup generators in place. Power interruptions typically last for only about five seconds, and many employees work on laptops with batteries, ensuring no loss of productivity.
Businesses contemplating offshoring to Cape Town will be pleased to learn that the labour laws are quite similar to those in the UK. Drawing from the UK’s TUPE regulations, South Africa offers a comparable legal framework, which provides stability and familiarity for international businesses. Moreover, the focus on fairness to employees aligns with the values of responsible outsourcing.
Training and Quality
Training and quality assurance must also be adapted to align with the local culture and customer service expectations. Businesses should not assume their way is the right way to deliver service within the local culture. A tailored approach to training and quality assurance is essential for achieving excellence. Collaboration with local partners is the linchpin of success. Businesses are encouraged to work closely with their South African partners, leveraging their knowledge and support to create a thriving customer operation. This partnership-based approach fosters mutual understanding and ensures consistency in the delivery of service.
By embracing the unique attributes of Cape Town and Durban, businesses can not only achieve cost savings but also deliver exceptional service. Businesses should adapt their processes to fit the local culture, ensuring that they resonate with the values and work style of the South African workforce.
A one-size-fits-all approach does not work; instead, customisation is key.
We know customer experience is a key differentiator in today’s competitive market, the winners will be the ones with CX strategies looking at locations best suited to the type of work, matching business outcomes to customer expectations.
Keith Gait MBA CCXP is Chief Executive at The Customer Experience Foundation (CXFO) – For additional information on the Customer Experience Foundation visit their Website
To download a free copy of the Outsourcing Guide to Cape Town and Durban 2023 Click Here