Rising capacity in South Africa allows remote contact centres to flourish

The concept of the remote contact centre worker is nothing new in the global market, and now thanks to the greater availability of bandwidth and associated lower cost, it has also become a viable option in South Africa.

"In the past lack of infrastructure and high cost made this concept unfeasible," says Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion. "Now that the capacity to enable remote agents is available, contact centres in South Africa will be able to take advantage of the numerous benefits to both business and agents that this delivers.”

Although South Africa still has some last mile obstacles to overcome, in the metropolitan areas bandwidth is making its way to the home and office. This enables remote workers and doesn’t only save on the potential cost of agents - it also means that the catchment area for staff suddenly becomes far bigger. Contact centres can now hire people regardless of where they are located in the country – or indeed the world.

"Employees can also be hired on a more flexible basis, so they can have hours that suit them or can be hired part time to save costs for the contact centre. This flexibility aids with agent retention, reduces travel time and decreases the costs associated with running a physical office, in terms of both space and equipment," Fick adds.

Aside from the dramatically reduced cost of bandwidth and the improved reliability of the same, which has enabled high speed access to be easily and cost effectively brought into homes, the evolution of technology has played a significant role in enabling the possibility of the remote contact centre agent.

"Higher standards of voice and customer interaction and quality offerings such as new web-based applications contribute to making South Africa a more attractive destination for BPO", says Araceli Aranda, CEO of Presence Technology. "The contact centre industry in South Africa is perfectly poised to take advantage of this evolution, enhancing its position as one of the main economic sectors of the country".

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