The local call centre industry continues to grow and is now a significant platform for corporate sales, service and support, with an increasing number of multinationals relying on South Africa as their destination for call centre operations.
This is according to Andrew van Niekerk, MD of Teleforge Communications, a company providing a range of solutions to debt collection companies,  including call centre solutions.
“The South African contact centre industry has progressed to the point where it is seen as a major international competitor. The country – and companies – have certainly made it attractive to those businesses that want to set up an offshore contact centre.”

A weakening local currency
Additionally, a weakening local currency and an ICT market that is conducive for growth, mean SA will remain a good investment opportunity for overseas companies.
New trends are also emerging and, during the rest of 2016- and over the next few years – factors like cloud computing, data analysis and outsourced managed services will be pivotal for local contact centre growth.
Cloud computing – which is noticeably on the increase – brings with it cost savings and a host of other efficiency benefits.

Multichannel contact centres
The age of the one way communication methodology – where brands controlled the manner in which their customers communicated with them – has gone. Today’s customers are more vociferous and want to communicate using a channel that suits them – and this could be Facebook, Twitter, Skype, video calls, SMS, email, fax or regular phone calls, depending on the demographic profile of the customer.
Van Niekerk says that companies unable to understand the communications needs of their customers – and develop appropriate channels – are likely to lose ground to more nimble players. This emerging market has seen marked increase in multichannel contact centres.
The objective is to provide a seamless customer experience across all company touch points. This, fundamentally, is why the contact centre can be an important contributor to – or detractor – of customer loyalty and therefore requires consistent monitoring, maintenance and enhancement.
“There is also an increasing focus on data growth and this means that companies – and their executives – are relying on more advanced tools to analyse data and what they have at their disposal to maintain or gain marketshare.
“By mining and extracting real-time data intelligence, they can move beyond just monitoring the performance of a contact centre into having meaningful, high-level information, Van Niekerk says.
Additionally, as companies face increasing cost pressures- and as all areas of the business come under greater scrutiny- costs are also under the spotlight. This has created the mindset of creating leaner call centres.
This has consequently given birth to the virtual or decentralised contact centre, with more companies believing that this is a more attractive option.
Companies and their executives cannot risk falling behind on market developments. “They do this at their own peril,” says van Niekerk.