Most outsourcing businesses have large offices, and long term leases in locations like Manila or Cebu, Philippines. At VirtualStaff365, we don’t believe in putting all our eggs in one basket. That’s why we’re not 100% invested in just one geographical region alone.
As VirtualStaff365 grows, and develops, opportunities are presenting that we could never have foreseen 12 months ago. We did not expect to see such growth in our clients needs, and this has opened up new opportunities in new regions.
Case in point: South Africa.
A short while ago, one of our clients asked us to help with outbound B2B calling.
To be honest, I didn’t have much experience with outbound calling campaigns. And I don’t like being called either. I can get quite irate, especially between 6-8pm at home – I’m sure almost everyone can!
We all have had similar experiences, and for me it almost always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Success with outbound calling campaigns is therefore hard to achieve.
So I felt wedged between a rock and hard place – He’s a fantastic client, and I wanted to help him, but I don’t want to be offering an outbound calling campaign that’s doomed to fail. I had to think outside the box to ensure a great chance of success for my client… or let this opportunity pass.
And then it came to me at about 4 am one morning- my old stomping ground as a child and student: Cape Town, South Africa.
The rand (ZAR) is on a downward spiral thanks to political instability and corruption. Unemployment is at 27%, with youth unemployment at 54%.
In spite of all that, the country has a great education system in parts. Plus BEE, ie Black Economic Empowerment is an affirmative action policy that is making it harder for white middle-class South Africans to find work.
And they speak English better than any other outsourcing nation.
7 Reasons for the Perfect Storm in South Africa:
- Declining currency
- High rate of unemployment
- Affirmative action policies
- English as a 1st language
- Good to excellent education system
- Reasonable internet connectivity (could be improved)
- Part of the Commonwealth
That got me thinking: wouldn’t this be the perfect opportunity to help my client out on his problem? First impression matter, and if we get a cold call from a fluent English speaking person, the simple fact is many of us would be more willing give them more time.
And for someone running an outbound B2B phone campaign, more time means greater chance of success.
So we have now started working in Cape Town, and the experience is mixed – our client is getting positive results, but there’s the obvious teething problems. We’re working through the teething problems and our client has now given us the go ahead to increase the headcount.
So we’re pushing ahead.
And here’s the best bit: the cost is no higher than our Philippines virtual staff. In fact, in some respects it’s even cheaper!
The Next Hot Spot
With these factors in play, South Africa is poised to be the next hot spot region for outsourcing, especially for companies where where language is an important factor.
I don’t see South Africa taking over from the Philippines quite yet, especially in the virtual assistant arena – inconvenient time differences and unreliable internet in the suburbs make working from home almost impossible, but I do see the following industries making a greater shift over to South Africa:
- Inbound and outbound call centre work. (iinet, iselect, Foxtel are already using South Africa)
- Copywriting, Social Media and Digital Marketing – where language can make a critical difference
- Professional skills like engineering, accounting and graphic design which do not have to be done during Australian working hours.
Watch this space, as we’re going to be hearing a lot more of South Africa as an outsourcing location in the future.
Talk to Melbourne’s Virtual Staffing experts
If you want to know more about how outsourcing can help your business, don’t wait – give me a call on 0402 116 606 or touch base with us here and together, we’ll start saving your business time and money.
*The writer provides full disclosure of his emotional attachment to his birth city of Cape Town.