Traditionally the BPO sector has been dominated by Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – however, this is beginning to change, with call centres opening in new areas across the country.
Eden Connect call centre, the brainchild of Dr Colin Katzen and Gerald Mentor is a 100% black-owned SME catering for businesses in the Eden Municipality. The group's clients include Total Computer Solutions, Altech Autopage and the Eden District Municipality.
"Entering into the call centre industry especially as an SME is not easy, but we have been fortunate to have the assistance of the Western Cape Provincial Government and CallingtheCape to guide us. Both these groups have been committed to us from the start and the results are really starting to show now," says Mentor.
Despite the economic downturn, the group is expecting to grow during 2009, bringing jobs and investment to the garden route.
"The recession is affecting everyone in the call centre industry, but where there are threats, there are also opportunities. As a result, we are also looking abroad for new clients and are currently in talks with a Dutch Call Centre over a proposed partnership," says Karin Kruger ,Eden Connect manager.
Eden Connects services the Eden District Municipality, assisting with both inbound and outbound requests and deals with both local and international tourism queries.
With George, Knysna, Oudshooron and Mossel Bay all being accredited by Fifa to host touring sides during the 2010 World Cup, tourism in the area is expected to boom.
"The expected influx of tourists will put added pressure on our tourism centre, which is why we need well trained professionals who can deal effectively with any requests we receive via our tourism hotline, says Morne Hoogbaard, manager of economic development & tourism for the Eden Municipality.
"By having a tourism hotline we not only deal with requests, but can gather important data, including where people are from and what they are interested in. Having access to this information is vital in ensuring we can offer all those coming to the region a quality experience they will never forget," adds Hoogbaard.
The Eden Municipality region stretches from Stillbaai to Plettenberg Bay and is home to a number of highly trained individuals, across various different job sectors.
"The World Cup is a great opportunity for the entire Eden Municipality and will help showcase not only the beautiful scenery, but the quality of BPO facilities in George," says Kruger.
In a market that is looking more and more towards cost savings, BPO has become a buzz word across South African business. With low attrition rates, overheads, quality infrastructure and a qualified labour force, George is quickly developing into a respected BPO provider.