Changing the Assumptions Around South Africa

By Anne Bibb

In November, I attended the BPESA GBS Investor Conference in South Africa. BPESA (aka, Business Process Enabling South Africa) is doing some amazing work. This not-for-profit promotes South Africa as the new go-to place for offshoring business processes, spurring foreign investment in the country’s global business services sector. In addition to celebrating South Africa’s status as a top offshore CX destination, the conference also included a range of panels and presentations from professionals in the CX space (yours truly facilitated a panel on the standardization of remote work and what it means for EX, UX and CX!).


While there were near-endless valuable insights presented at this event, there was one big observation I walked away with. Stateside, decision-makers in companies looking for offshoring and outsourcing solutions hold a huge number of misconceptions regarding South Africa — and these incorrect assumptions are standing in the way of what could be a highly beneficial and profitable decision for your organization.


Here are just a few of the actual facts regarding South Africa’s GBS value proposition.


South Africa is Open for Business — and Has the Tech and Infrastructure to Prove It

Regardless of criticism surrounding South Africa’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2010, it’s inarguable that the international event benefited the country’s infrastructure in a big way. Associated work on airports, roads, and event venues has positively impacted South Africa’s tourism sector, and also its overall economy.


Whereas infrastructure is certainly important for offshoring, tech is a huge consideration for both offshoring and outsourcing. CX centers in South Africa are already equipped to provide inbound and outbound CX service 24-7 via multi-channel digital formats, with evolving IT-enabled capabilities that stretch into AI, cyber security, and more. Regardless of how you want your CX teams to communicate, with whatever sensitive information involved, South Africa is equipped to make that happen.


South Africa Boasts a Growing, Young Future — That Stands Apart as a CX Solution

South Africa’s youth population, those ages 18 to 35, sits at approximately 18.6 million and growing. There are nearly a quarter of a million university graduates in the country per year, with high focuses on business and management, as well as engineering, technology, and science.


However, while South Africa’s workforce is young and growing, any leader who’s struggled with CX in the past knows providing CX is about far, far more than just putting a body in a chair and expecting that individual to care for your customers. Luckily, CX is exactly where South Africa’s young workforce shines.


More than 400,000 English-speaking workers are added to the South African workforce every single year, for a current total estimated 16.5 million English speakers. Unlike what you’ll find in other popular offshoring destinations, these English speakers’ neutral accents and high level of spoken and written communication skills make them superior for working with U.S., British, or Australian customer bases. (And if your company needs multilingual talent, you’ll find that, too.)


Additionally, South Africa touts its CX teams as high-ranking in emotional intelligence skills, something that’s becoming more and more important not just in CX, but in every area of business. 


This talented workforce puts its skills to use in a variety of verticals already, with South Africa’s most common vertical industries serviced including telecoms, banking and financial services, insurance, retail, utilities, and energy.


South Africa Gives You Options

Thanks to South Africa’s unique positioning, companies looking to move their CX to this wonderful country have options. If you want to build your own offshoring site, you can do so. Want to outsource your CX to existing providers based in South Africa already? That’s an option, too.


Whatever route you go, you’ll find attractive government incentives and policies to help, such as foreign investment grants that compensate for certain costs for moving operations from abroad into South Africa; grants for companies that implement initiatives to improve technology; and governmental policies that protect foreign investors in line with the South African constitution.


Still not sure about South Africa? Just look at the household name brands that have found CX solutions, in one format or another, in South Africa: Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volkswagen, MasterCard, T-Mobile, Spirit, Sprint, Bank of America, Samsung, Toyota, Amazon, Air Canada, & Kellogg’s. Brands like these — and many, many others — have overcome the false assumptions that much of the world holds for South Africa and its GBS value proposition. Will you?


Where to Go From Here

The above information really only scratches the surface of everything South Africa has to offer organizations looking for a CX solution.


In the meantime, it’s also worth checking out the plethora of other resources available. Also, check out my new podcast Unexpected Journey™, which launched in January 2023, where we feature related thought leaders like Zanele Njapha, founder of The Unlearners, who presented at this year’s conference, on helping organizations build cultures of learning, UNlearning, and relearning.


Don’t need any other info and are ready to start putting your South African CX outsourcing initiative into action? Talk to our team at Remote Evolution to see how we can help ensure a fantastic experience for you, your employees, and of course, your customers, through every step of the process.


#southafrica #bpesa #CX #BPO #business #businessprocessing #offshoring #technology #sourcing #FIFA #tourism #IT #futureofwork

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