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Unlocking Global Markets: Outsourcing to South Africa

The following was originally published on LinkedIn as part of our Beyond BPO newsletter and has been edited for this platform.

There’s no doubt that South Africa has rapidly emerged as a leading destination in the global outsourcing landscape in recent years. There are so many reasons for this and the great thing is that our advantage is unique and not easy to compete against.

Unlocking global markets is the key to the BPO sector’s ongoing success and growth, so the numerous opportunities we offer to international businesses, backed by attractive government initiatives, are strong differentiating factors that will continue to make potential clients interested in South Africa as an outsourcing destination of choice.

The Outsourcing Landscape in South Africa

In 2021, the Annual Front Office Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Omnibus Survey crowned South Africa the global leader in BPO destinations. In the GBS World Competitiveness Index, South Africa is ranked first in the Customer Lifecycle Management category and within the top five in the categories of Customer Support Administration, Back Office Processing, Data Management Services and Digital and Contact Centre Services.

Further to this, in the context of job opportunities and investment potential, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) identified the BPO sector as a priority, especially in relation to youth unemployment. The government has also been committed to our growth and expansion on the world stage, rolling out various initiatives to support the industry through its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA). Thanks to these incentives, our cost per seat is on par with other popular offshore destinations, including the Philippines, Kenya, Egypt and India, while offering much more in the way of value, especially in English-speaking and Western markets.

The South African Difference

South Africa offers a wide range of incredible advantages as an outsourcing destination, including but certainly not limited to:

Language and Cultural Affinity: South Africa ranks 12th out of 100 countries in the English Proficiency Index. This means our people adapt seamlessly to different accents and can effectively communicate with clients from the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. According to Genesis Global Business Services, an estimated 760 000 qualified South African youth are proficient B2 English speakers and will be readily available to work in the BPO sector after undergoing work-readiness training.

Always-on Service Capability: South African BPOs excel in delivering 24/7 services thanks to our time zone alignment with Europe and America. This ensures efficient workload distribution, seamless service across different time zones, round-the-clock support and responsiveness, as well as easy accessibility via direct flights to major global business destinations in the US, the UK, Europe and Australia.

Customer-Centric Focus: Our outsourcing environment places a strong emphasis on delivering exceptional customer experiences to create lasting customer relationships. As reported by Genesis, South Africa delivers 18% better CX quality, resulting in 4% to 5% higher annual customer retention compared to competitors in offshore markets. Customer Experience Magazine from the UK published stats which showed that 87% of consumers are willing to buy more products if they have an exceptional CX, with 81% of them going on to recommend the company to others.

Robust Connectivity: South Africa offers smooth, reliable connections to international clients and customers via 144 terabytes per second fibre optic capacity, made up of over 380 000 kilometres of fibre optic cables and six undersea cables. South Africa also has seven Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Industrial Development Zones (IDZs), offering world-class ICT and physical infrastructure to international partners and investors.

Highly Skilled Workforce: South Africa boasts a vast pool of highly skilled and educated professionals. The BPO industry is expected to create 500 000 new jobs by 2030, ensuring a steady influx of skilled people entering the workforce. The impact sourcing initiatives within the country have also contributed to the availability of skilled employees, with estimates putting the number of impact sourcing workers currently employed in South Africa’s BPO sector between 78 000 and 90 000.

Data Security: South Africa diligently adheres to local and international data protection regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) for local outsourcing business along with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for US initiatives. These regulations safeguard the security and privacy of sensitive information, offering reassurance to businesses outsourcing their operations to South Africa.

The Destination for Business Transformation

South Africa is undoubtedly a competitive outsourcing destination, presenting numerous opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations, reduce costs and grow both their customer bases and return on investment. By forging partnerships with leading BPO companies like Rewardsco, businesses across the world can also harness the transformative potential of outsourcing.


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- Dylan Koen
 Rewardsco Sales Commercial Director

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