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Why South Africa is ideal for CX outsourcing

Posted August 23, 2023
Photograph of Cape Town, South Africa at night

Brands considering customer experience (CX) outsourcing locations are turning their attention to South Africa. And for good reason.

Offering a favorable time zone for nearshore and global operations, modern infrastructure and a skilled workforce with a high level of English proficiency, South Africa presents itself as a strategic choice not to be overlooked.

If you're weighing up options for contact center outsourcing, read on to learn more about the advantages of outsourcing to the Rainbow Nation.

Perfect timing: South Africa's advantageous time zone

Increasingly, brands need to think globally when it comes to customer service delivery.

The thinking goes that if you want to offer truly empathetic support, you need to be available when your customers need you. To put it simply: No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to make a customer service call or to wait hours for a response. In fact, according to HubSpot Research, 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question.

This underlines the need for favorable time zones in CX delivery, and the potential for South Africa as an outsourcing destination. South Africa has three capital cities, yet only one time zone — South Africa Standard Time (SAST). Just two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), SAST is aligned with many countries in Eastern Europe.

As a result, brands can extend daytime support to markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and after hours support to markets further east or west. What's more, being only six hours ahead of Eastern Time, sites in South Africa are well-positioned to maintain alignment with offices along North America's east coast.

Strong infrastructure supports South Africa's CX potential

South Africa is a large landmass, and as a result, travel by road or by rail between major cities tends to take a long time. This reality has motivated South Africa to invest in strong transportation infrastructure within its cities, as well as a network of 22 international airports.

Cape Town — the South African city where our center of excellence is located — is striving to provide 80% of its residents access to public transit within 500 meters of their residence, per Deloitte's City Mobility Index. The legislative capital has also invested heavily in rail lines and bus routes, and is the first city on the continent to use electric vehicles in public transportation.

Beyond transportation, South Africa boasts world-class facilities, data centers and real estate that is ideally suited to accommodate the complex needs of today's global businesses. It's this combination of infrastructure, as well as its bright and determined workforce, that has led to budding tech communities across the country. Cape Town shines in this regard as well: The city is one of the continent's foremost tech clusters, with notable centers like iHub Africa and Silicon Cape.

South Africa's skilled, multilingual workforce

English. Zulu. Xhosa. Ndebele. Afrikaans. SiSwati. Sepedi. Sesotho. Setswana. Tshivenda. Xitsonga.

South Africa has eleven official languages, to say nothing of the countless languages spoken by those who have migrated there from abroad. If you're looking to offer support in English, South Africa has to take up a prominent position on your list of options. Data from Statista indicates that English is the second most spoken language outside of the home in South Africa, and according to not-for-profit Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), the country has 16.5 million English speakers today and adds over 400 thousand annually.

The workforce in South Africa has much more to offer beyond multilingualism, however. The workforce in South Africa is well-educated and has a high degree of technical aptitude, thanks in part to government initiatives like The Skills Development Act, introduced in 1998.

Today, the nation is home to countless modern facilities, and capable workers, specializing in data management, digital IT and customer experience delivery.

Cape Town's potential for talent sourcing

When evaluating outsourcing locations, brands today are thinking critically about impact sourcing. It's a practice that brings together high-potential talent from marginalized communities and professional opportunities.

Impact sourcing can introduce tremendous social good while also being good for business. One of our clients, for example, leveraged impact sourcing to assemble a diverse workforce perfectly suited for a business challenge related to mitigating data bias. Among other highlights, the initiative had a team member retention rate of 80%.

Opportunities for impact sourcing abound in South Africa in general, and in Cape Town specifically. The city of nearly 5 million inhabitants has a deep pool of talent that has previously been in the periphery. Moving forward, brands who implement impact sourcing in Cape Town have access to the talent they seek, and the potential to foster highly engaged teams.

Considering outsourcing to South Africa?

The location. The infrastructure. The people. South Africa brings together a blend of ideal attributes and presents itself as a choice outsourcing destination.

Our delivery center in South Africa fosters high team member engagement and environmental good, with full amenities and biophilic design. Plus, with delivery capabilities across customer experience management, AI data solutions and trust and safety, there are endless opportunities for your brand to explore as you consider your outsourcing needs. Contact us today to learn more or to set up a site visit.

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