— US Companies Turning to South Africa for BPO/GBS Solutions
As more American companies look to outsource in South Africa, we thought we would share some of experiences and findings, and what’s behind the significant growth of South Africa as a major global outsourcing and offshoring contender for US businesses.
South Africa’s GBS sector has grown 7x. The US is one of the largest international source markets, comprising over 20% of South Africa’s international GBS market. OKIN Process is proud to be the BPO partner of choice for businesses ranging from telecommunications to financial services, healthcare to utilities, and education to retail.
Here is our take based on recent client engagements from the US in South Africa.
Flexibility and Responsiveness are Key for BPO/GBS Providers
Recession, hyper-inflation and socio-political volatility remain top of mind and across the board there is a need to reduce costs and limit risk as priorities. It is very clear that US businesses looking to outsource right now are looking for BPO partners that can help them build adaptive, responsive, and resilient customer service models that can upscale and downscale in line with uncertain and challenging economic environments and markets, and without taking on more risk.
US Labor and Skill Shortages are Severe
The US, as in many developed markets, is experiencing serious skills and labor shortages. Finding skilled people to work in contact centers, as well as in most customer service roles, is massively challenging. It can currently be challenging to recruit in the US given that the country is sitting with less than a 3% unemployment rate. Compared to a country like South Africa which is grappling with a youth unemployment rate of nearly 70%, the contrasts are stark. On the upside though, this means that South Africa, as a BPO destination, offers a deep pool of labor and great talent for rapid scale as and when needed. South Africa also has:
- Awesome English proficiency
- Established and enabling communications infrastructure
- Full redundancy built into our operations
Customer Service and CX are Dominating Outsourcing
There is a distinct preference by US organizations to outsource more of their customer service, technical support and back-office processes to South Africa. Our US clients find tremendous value in South Africa’s BPO offering. We are not the cheapest in the world, and it is not our intention to be. Instead, we bring together:
- Unrivalled value through our experience
- Great people skills, empathy, and labor arbitrage
- Excellent English language proficiency
- Data and analytics capabilities
- Multichannel service technologies and platforms
- Very competitive cost
Multichannel and Omnichannel BPO Providers are in Demand – and available in South Africa
BPO providers that can bring together digital channels, data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), automation and cloud services to work in tandem with traditional voice-based BPO services are in demand. We’re likely to see significant redesign of BPO services that incorporates more tech and AI, automation and hybrid work models with the traditional voice-based, people-led engagements which remain key for all clients that we engaged with.
Demand for Niche or Specialized BPO Services on the Rise
Demand for niche BPO services is growing in areas such as back-office/virtual assistants, finance & accounting, medical/healthcare and debt recovery and collections. Our take is that this level of specialization of required BPO services also requires that agents are suitably experienced and trained in these industry sectors to deliver a far more professionalized and qualified service. It’s an area where South Africa has tremendous opportunity to upskill and professionalize the role of agents to suit sector specific requirements through on the job training, executive training, mentoring, and coaching. It’s one of the areas where OKIN Process has a distinct advantage through its group Learning and Development partners – SA Business School, the Future Fit Academy and the Impact Sourcing Institute of South Africa – as well as collections and recoveries BPO provider, Shapiro Shaik Defries and Associates. Leveraging the capabilities across OKIN Group and Alefbet Holdings companies really delivers efficiencies for our clients that are greater than the sum of all our parts. Our clients get to benefit from the power of an effective and diverse team working together, versus having to work with different BPO entities operating in isolation from one another.
Location is No Longer Relevant
It’s really very clear than when it comes to quality BPO services, location and proximity are more irrelevant than ever. Rather, our US clients are looking at our solid track record and experience in managing, training and supporting their operations remotely, no matter where we find ourselves in the world. Proximity is becoming less of a consideration than ever before and South Africa has the track record that came with being one of the shining lights at the height of the pandemic in reconfiguring its BPO models to handle remote and hybrid work models.
Onward and Upward
These are truly exciting times for OKIN Process and South Africa’s GBS sector to shine a light on our amazing industry and people capabilities.
We remain steadfast as OKIN Process in being your GBS partner of choice based on value, quality delivery, outstanding service and results that impact your business bottom line, every time.
In addition to Offshore solutions in South Africa, we can also support Onshore solutions from the US, and Nearshore solutions from Czechia.
If you would like to find out if we would be a fit for your company, contact us today.