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Rode Associates CEO Erwin Rode
July 29, 2016

Rode & Associates once again receives top honours in national survey

in Office, Retail, Industrial, Hotels and Residential
Property valuation firm Rode & Associates, has been honoured with top awards from the authoritative publication Professional Management Review (PMR.africa) in this year’s PMR.Africa rankings.
Office Stock vs Office Demand
July 29, 2016

Alarm bells ringing in the Centurion office space market

in Office, Retail, Industrial, Hotels and Residential
The Pretoria decentralized office market continues to suffer from the aftermath of overzealous development coupled with weak demand for space to rent.
Palm Brook
July 29, 2016

Construction of fifth Oasis luxury apartment block underway

in Construction, Energy and Infrastructure
Construction of Palm Brook, the fifth block of apartments in the Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort at Century City where 23 apartments have already been sold for more than R120million, has now commenced.
Black River Park
Jul 29, 2016

Black River Park cements its position as Africa’s largest integrated photovoltaic…

Redefine Properties’ Black River Park in Cape Town has cemented its position as Africa’s largest integrated…
Geoff Jennett Emira Property Fund
Jul 29, 2016

Emira Property Fund rejects Arrowhead’s expression of interest

The Board of Directors of Emira Property Fund has rejected Arrowhead’s unsolicited, non-binding, and highly conditional…
JT Ross Sydney Rd
Jul 28, 2016

Biggest brown fields refurbishment on track for October launch

The reinvention of Durban’s old Dunlop tyre factory into state-of-the art warehousing is on track and will be ready for…
Klaus Dittrich Chairman and CEO Messe München
Jul 27, 2016

EXPO REAL is Europe's largest real estate and investment trade fair

The real estate and investment industry are also concerned with Brexit and the question behind it: What does the future…
Norman Raad Broll Auctions and Sales
Jul 27, 2016

Challenging times see some of the best properties taken to auction in years

Exciting opportunities arise in uncertain and difficult times, says Norman Raad, CEO of Broll Auctions and Sales.

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Company Profile

Abacus DIVISIONS

Abacus DIVISIONS is a Centurion based property company with strong interests, services and a portfolio of properties in the commercial and leisure sectors of the market. We were founded in 2002 and is driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Our offices are…

Property Leader

Norbert Sasse

Norbert Sasse

 Norbert Sasse is a Chief Executive Officer at Growthpoint Properties.
Tuesday, 02 November 2004 02:00

SA holds its own in global call centre industry

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The South African call centre industry has doubled in the past two years, with major international firms outsourcing business here.

By Charles Jonker

The South African call centre industry has doubled in the past two years, with major international firms outsourcing business here.

In Gauteng, which already controls 60 percent of the industry, call centre operations are expected to grow by 40 percent in the next six months and to have doubled within three years.

India has 50 percent of all global offshore agent positions, but is facing stiff competition from South Africa, the Philippines, eastern Europe and Mexico. However, India sees significant staff turnover with some operators reporting 300 percent annual staff turnover.

In South Africa, by contrast, absenteeism and attrition are exceptionally low. At Call Centre Nucleus in Sandton, operations manager Tanya Smith reports that, in the past year, attrition has run at 4.55 percent, with absenteeism below 5 percent even though some of their centres run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Silicon.com, a UK-based website, noted recently: "The UK call centre industry is still showing strong growth despite the threat from offshoring, but problems still remain with high staff turnover rates. One in four staff left last year on average, with the average length of stay being two years."

South African staff are showing stronger job commitment despite significant call volumes.

The new SA Tourism call centre, which began operating in September, is logging 5 000 calls a month, handled by 14 staff who speak English, Mandarin, Portuguese, German, Italian, French and Dutch.

The call centre industry is becoming an important source of foreign investment and job creation in South Africa. At Dimension Data's large contact centre operation in Sandton, 850 people work on one major US account alone.

At the high energy Standard Bank call centre run by Dimension Data in central Johannesburg, 49 agents have made 175 000 calls in little more than five weeks to check on whether bank clients are complying with new financial services regulations.

The agents have made 53 000 updates to the bank's database. That centre will run until December 2005 and makes an average of 9 600 calls a day. It is also one of the most cost-efficient contact centres in South Africa, given the low rentals and hi-tech secure accommodation found in central Johannesburg.

The Standard Bank contact centre is run by Daryl Shapiro who has 15 years call centre experience in the US and South Africa. He says that most companies go offshore to spread risk.

"At Dimension Data, we haven't taken away any American jobs. During the recent hurricane season in Florida, as an example, the billing and management hub of a major US client went down for close to a week, all those calls were transferred to us, we worked overtime and helped them avoid what could have been a calamity."

At Absa's Johannesburg call centre, 20 agents handle around 12 000 calls a month, or 525 calls per weekday for a US client, TransUnion. Although absenteeism is a low 7 percent, attrition is about 65 percent, mainly because US "awake" hours fall during the South African night 

Absa's Ronnie Tonkin observes: "Not everyone wants to come to work and leave at 3am. Anyone who can withstand these hours for long has pretty good stamina."

Tonkin says South Africa is becoming a preferred call centre destination because "ours is a service-orientated culture. South Africans will go out of their way to help. In India, 'agents' are very often little more than data-capture clerks."

Recent research by Deloitte UK estimates that in 2003, there were 80 000 full-time equivalent contact centre-seat positions in South Africa of which 10 percent to 15 percent represented offshore work, but represent 55 percent of revenue.

The most commonly offered foreign languages by South African contact centres include German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin and Hebrew.

South Africa's pluses include a strong English-speaking population with a clear accent, a sound skills base, good standards of education, sophistication, a strongly motivated service culture, cutting-edge technology and geopolitical stability.

Dutch companies are interested in our contact centres because of the similarity between Dutch and Afrikaans. With brief training, Afrikaans acquires a distinct Dutch accent.

Outsourcing to call centres is popular because of a high rate of first-call resolution. Smith notes: "We have a major internet service provider (ISP) client and have an 85 percent resolution rate on the first call. If the person who takes the call cannot resolve a technical query, he passes it on to a more skilled person. If no solution can be found, they may go to see the client. With the top 500 clients of that ISP, we monitor their networks and may pick up a computer glitch before they do, we will then alert them and find a way to resolve it."

Gauteng call centres are among the most technologically advanced in the world. Further deregulation is helping. In September, the government announced that South Africa's value-added network providers will now carry voice and data through leased lines.

By February, prices will be lower. The Deloitte study shows that in 2003, there was a 39 percent increase in the number of European financial institutions with offshore operations, and an estimated 500 percent increase in offshore jobs. By 2010, more than 20 percent of the industry's global cost base is expected to have shifted offshore (from Europe or north America).

Agents' starting salaries are on average a third less in South Africa than in the UK, but within competitive local rates.

An article in Newsweek (October 18) notes that "experts say [outsourcing has] actually helped save western European companies by improving their global competitiveness".

From the time of the industrial revolution, exploration, new machines and innovation have seen markets spread and grow - and that change has encouraged dramatic advances for the benefit of all.


Charles Jonker is the chief executive of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency


Publisher: Business Report
Source: Business Report

Listed Property, REIT, Real Estate Funds

Geoff Jennett Emira Property Fund

Emira Property Fund rejects Arrowhead’s expression of interest

July 29, 2016 Listed Property, REIT, Real Estate Funds eProperty News
The Board of Directors of Emira Property Fund has rejected Arrowhead’s unsolicited, non-binding, and highly conditional expression of interest to acquire all of Emira’s issued share capital on the basis that it has no benefit to Emira’s shareholders.

Office, Retail, Industrial, Hotels and Residential

Rode Associates CEO Erwin Rode

Rode & Associates once again receives top honours in national survey

July 29, 2016 Office, Retail, Industrial, Hotels and Residential eProperty News
Property valuation firm Rode & Associates, has been honoured with top awards from the authoritative publication Professional Management Review (PMR.africa) in this year’s PMR.Africa rankings.

Green Building and Sustainability

Black River Park

Black River Park cements its position as Africa’s largest integrated photovoltaic plant

July 29, 2016 Green Building and Sustainability eProperty News
Redefine Properties’ Black River Park in Cape Town has cemented its position as Africa’s largest integrated photovoltaic (PV) plant when it turned on phase 3 of its PV installation earlier this month.

Commercial Property Auctions

Norman Raad Broll Auctions and Sales

Challenging times see some of the best properties taken to auction in years

July 27, 2016 Commercial Property Auctions eProperty News
Exciting opportunities arise in uncertain and difficult times, says Norman Raad, CEO of Broll Auctions and Sales.

Africa, International Property News

Klaus Dittrich Chairman and CEO Messe München

EXPO REAL is Europe's largest real estate and investment trade fair

July 27, 2016 Africa, International Property News eProperty News
The real estate and investment industry are also concerned with Brexit and the question behind it: What does the future of Europe look like with national barriers?

Construction, Energy and infrastructure

Palm Brook

Construction of fifth Oasis luxury apartment block underway

July 29, 2016 Construction, Energy and Infrastructure eProperty News
Construction of Palm Brook, the fifth block of apartments in the Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort at Century City where 23 apartments have already been sold for more than R120million, has now commenced.

Most Popular

Listed property groups struggling to find takeovers

Jul 06, 2016
Maurice Shapiro
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Jul 05, 2016
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Attacq and Sanlam announce Waterfall joint venture development

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Morne Wilken CEO Attacq
The joint venture has acquired 28ha of Waterfall land from Attacq and an additional…

South African property sector is worth a whopping R5.8 trillion

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Portia Tau Sekati CEO Property Charter Council
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Emira Property Fund signs WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for the first phase of its major R795 million redevelopment of Knightsbridge, Bryanston

Jul 12, 2016
Knightsbridge Manor
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