Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe, next week.
CCAZ executive secretary Mr Rinos Mautsa contends that Zimbabwe has a strong value proposition for the global BPO and Contact Centre market and is set to increase to over 2 000 seats by 2014 with over 10 000 people employed directly in the sector.
According to Mr Mautsa, the executive team of CCAZ is made up of local call centre experts and owners, including international contact centre experts from India, Egypt and South Africa.
A call contact call centre is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone.
It is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers.
Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, product services and debt collection are also made.
In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre.
It is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations.
Currently, Zimbabwe has over 1 000 inbound call centre seats in the telecommunications, insurance and banking sectors.
There is, however, need for local companies to keep abreast with global trends and establish own call centres or even outsource.
Global customer service expert Mr Rod Jones, who is also Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe executive advisor, says Zimbabwe has all the requirements to be a preferred call centre destination.
Mr Jones said he has received numerous calls from American and European companies who wish to outsource their services to Southern Africa, sentiments similarly expressed by CCAZ vice president Mr Owen Vere.
“Zimbabwe is a strategic location and competitive market as a global contact centre destination given its highly educated populace with a neutral English accent, and salaries that are much lower than countries such as India, South Africa and the Philippines, which are the leading contact centre outsource/off-shoring destinations. Additionally, Zimbabwean workers have an excellent work ethic that enables first time resolution of customer queries and improved turnaround times, which means Zimbabwe can guarantee 40 percent to 50 percent cost saving to United Kingdom, European and United States outsourcers,” Mr Vere said.
He added that Zimbabwe also has the advantage of cultural fit between it and the UK and South African markets, and the growing local telecommunication sector opens up opportunities for the local contact centre industry.
The contact centre industry has immense potential to contribute to economic growth and employment creation in Zimbabwe.
For instance, the industry is raking in billions of United States dollars globally and has created over two million jobs in the past few years.
In 2009, the Philippines earned more than US$8 billion from BPO and Contact Centres.
In 2007, South Africa had 1 362 call centres generating 160 000 direct jobs and contributing over US$13 billion to the economy in 10 years.
Despite its significance, it has traditionally received little support, especially from Government.
Mr Mautsa also revealed that the CCAZ is conducting a survey which represents the first large-scale attempt to place an economic value on the lost revenue from customer service across all channels when businesses do not measure up to consumer expectations with call centre solutions.