Salaries in the contact centre industry are rising, especially in the higher-echelon job categories.
Kelly's inaugural Contact Centre Survey results for 2008/9 reveals that, overall, Gauteng salaries within the industry are higher than in Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal.
"South Africa boasts an intrinsic quality in potential agents that makes us competitive globally," explains Kelly's director: strategic business solutions Diane Capazorio. "The 2008/9 survey findings reveal that talent in this growing industry is well rewarded in the higher job categories, with expertise being recognised and rewarded the higher up the ladder the talent climbs.
"We also need to bear in mind that this year inflation has come in significantly higher than expected which could have a bearing on these results."
Entry-level staff, defined as those who conduct inbound and/or outbound calls, and respond to, or communicate with customers on a variety of products and services, start with a salary of R3 000.00 in Gauteng, ahead of Cape Town's R2 600.00 and KwaZulu Natal's R2 500.00.
The earning range for this category across all regions is narrow. In Gauteng top earners can receive up to R4 100.00, while Cape Town's upper bounds are R3 800.00 and in KwaZulu Natal it is R3 600.00.
Inbound agents – those agents who facilitate inbound calls by providing expert response to complex customer enquiries, and who therefore need to have product knowledge and customer service experience – command far higher salaries. Gauteng, Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal start with a salary of are R4500.00, R4 200.00 and R3 300.00 respectively.
Outbound agents differ from inbound agencts in that they initiate specialised contact with targeted and/or selected customers to facilitate specific outcomes or indicators. Perhaps reflecting the more proactive effort required in this role, salaries are higher than for inbound agents.
Category top earners in Gauteng can earn up to R16 000.00, followed closely by Cape Town on R15 500.00 and KwaZulu Natal on R15 000.00, while lower-end salaries range from R4 200.00 in KwaZulu Natal to R4 600.00 in Gauteng.
Average salaries for IT support staff, whose role it is to facilitate inbound and outbound calls from first level support by providing expert assistance to complex IT enquiries/issues, are similar to those of outbound agents.
Upper earnings are lower than for outbound agents, however, at R14 000.00 in Gauteng, R13 800.00 in Cape Town and R13 500.00 in KwaZulu Natal.
Starting salaries in this role are higher than for the agents, with Gauteng IT support staff looking to start on R6 000.00, those in Cape Town on R5 800.00 and in Durban R5 500.00.
Opportunities for staff in an administrative support role to greatly increase earnings are limited. Top earners command R7 500.00 in Gauteng, R6 800.00
in Cape Town and R5 500.00 in KwaZulu Natal.
A team leaders function is to manage the day-to-day planning, operation and problem-solving of a team of agents to meet with the required service level components, standards and sales targets. Top team leaders can look to earn R15 200.00 in Gauteng, R15 000.00 in Cape Town and R13 500.00 in KwaZulu Natal. In something of a trend reversal, entry level team leaders in KwaZulu Natal, at R6 200.00, earn more than in Gauteng (R5 800.00) and Cape Town (R5 500.00).
Trainers deliver training interventions to improve specific areas and overall performance of agents. Top trainers can earn up to R16 000.00 in Gauteng and Cape Town, and around R15 400.00 in KwaZulu Natal. Entry-level trainers start at anything between R7 200.00 and R8 000.00.
Among the top earners in this industry are schedulers, whose role it is to monitor the call and skill set volumes that impact service levels and allocate the available resources accordingly. Schedulers in Gauteng have a healthy salary range earning between R13 000.00 and R32 000.00, with KwaZulu Natal and Cape Town just slightly behind earning between R11 000.00 and R29 000.00 and R12 000.00 and R30 500.00 respectively.
The role of quality assurer is to monitor call quality and conduct analytics for improving the level of service provided to customers. The highest paid quality assurers earn R15 000.00 in Gauteng, R14 000.00 in Cape Town and R13 500.00 in KwaZulu Natal.
Senior operational directors nationwide earn, on an annual basis, around R1025-million, with the range being between R750 000.00 and R1,3-million. Call centre managers earn slightly less than half this amount. Nationally the average is R490 000.00 with the range between R360 000.00 and R670 000.00 per annum.