I recently returned to the US from a whirlwind tour of the outsourcing industry in South Africa, a trip that really marked me personally and professionally.
South Africa clearly brings a host of opportunities for an expanding company like Redial BPO, given the complementary nature of our Tijuana-based business model with more far-flung offshore delivery.
More on that in a bit, but first some background on the visit itself.
A few months ago, industry analyst and friend of Redial BPO Peter Ryan contacted me with an interesting proposal – a familiarization visit to South Africa. It would comprise site visits in Johannesburg and Durban, as well as attending the country’s industry association conference and gala.
Considering Redial BPO’s ongoing expansion, the chance to see a new potential delivery point seemed like a good idea. So, in late November, I was off on my first trip to Africa.
The Journey Starts
After a series of flights that originated from San Diego, I landed in Johannesburg’s international airport ready to learn more about this exciting opportunity. Two days in South Africa’s busiest city were punctuated with a tour of SOWETO and an inspirational visit to the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, which uses impact sourcing to find labor for the contact center sector. It provided a chance to see a few local outsourcers in action, and also network with local BPO executives.
Flying to Durban a couple of days later, the action really kicked off with the annual BPESA GBS Summit, attended by both South African and global contact center executives.
It offered people new to the country a good sense of what the future holds for this offshore location.
A few takeaways were quickly apparent to me. The first is the warmth of South Africans, and how that comes across in the services space. From the time that I landed, I felt a great sense of sincerity in every interaction.
English skills are also very apparent. With English being the dominant language across South Africa, servicing US consumers from South Africa is a real possibility.
It’s also interesting to note that South African offshoring for the UK and Australia has been happening for years, proving the value of this business model.
Does This Could Be A New Beginning?
The good news is that this can be done in large numbers. One of the biggest challenges we see frequently in many English language support locations is a small workforce, which means higher costs related to labor.
South Africa has more than 50 million people, many of whom live in major cities. This is a good talent base to draw from, which I saw with my own eyes on many occasions.
And the fact that it has a first-rate industry association, run by executives that really know the business and who can lobby for the best possible business environment, also means a lot.
So, where does this leave Redial BPO in terms of South Africa? Well, it is still early days. But, I am pleased to report that I forged many great relationships during my week on the ground in Johannesburg and Durban.
With so many South African outsourcers looking to get into the US market, Spanish-language capabilities are crucial and have never been so important.
This is why partnering with Redial BPO is an excellent way for this hungry BPOs in South Africa to make headway into the US.
Equally, with Redial BPO expanding the way we are, working with a partner in South Africa to provide English- language skills at the ready have the potential to be a strong way forward.
Fact is, as a US / Mexican operator, Redial BPO is constantly looking for value-driven opportunities. After my visit, South Africa certainly appears to fit that bill.