Hugo
August 7, 2023

The Advantages of Outsourcing Customer Support to Africa

Author: Sainna Christian

When outsourcing customer service and support, most companies immediately think of India or the Philippines. While these are viable options, outsourcing to Africa provides unique benefits that make it a location worth considering. Here are some of the key advantages of outsourcing customer support to Africa for your business:

Fast Growing University Graduate Talent

Africa is seeing rapid growth in university graduates, creating a robust talent pool for outsourced customer service roles. According to UNESCO, between 2000-2016, university enrollment in Africa increased by 200%. Leading economies like South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt produce hundreds of thousands of university graduates yearly. This youthful and highly educated talent pipeline brings energy along with advanced skills.

Cultural Alignment

Many African countries offer cultural alignment with markets in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. The predominant languages spoken across the continent include English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and Spanish. There is greater familiarity with Western business norms and consumer expectations than in other offshore locations. This facilitates better customer interactions and brand experiences.

Lower Costs

Outsourcing to Africa provides significant cost savings over mature outsourcing destinations like India and the Philippines. While average wages in those countries remain competitive, other factors contribute to lower costs in Africa:

  • Real estate – The average monthly base rental rate for office space in Nairobi is $12/sq ft compared to $22/sq ft in Manila and $14/sq ft in Bangalore (Colliers).
  • Employee retention – African BPOs tend to have lower attrition rates than India and the Philippines, reducing hiring and training costs.
  • Government incentives – Countries like Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco offer various incentives to promote the growth of the Information Technology BPO sector and attract foreign investment.
  • Scalability – Abundant talent availability allows for quick scaling of operations without spikes in cost.

According to NASSCOM, the total cost per FTE in African delivery locations can be 15-25% lower than in top Indian tier 1 cities. When factoring in time zone alignment and cultural affinity, outsourcing to Africa provides significant cost optimization over leading Asian sites.

Scalability

Countries like Nigeria and South Africa have rapidly growing BPO industries focused on supporting customers worldwide. According to Statista, Africa’s business process outsourcing market is projected to grow at over 8% CAGR between 2022 and 2026. There is a ready availability of agents to support you no matter how quickly your business scales.

Cultural Nuances

Agents in Africa often have a better understanding of idioms, tonalities, and cultural nuances that may be lost through outsourcing to other offshore locations. This helps ensure more natural conversations during support interactions. A more profound grasp of Western culture also allows for better customer empathy and connection.

Faster Tech Growth

Technology adoption and growth are accelerating faster across Africa than in established outsourcing destinations like India and the Philippines. With a young and growing population, Africa is investing heavily in digital infrastructure, connectivity, cloud, AI, and other innovations needed to support global brands.

Nearshore Timezones

One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing to Africa is the overlapping or nearshore time zones with Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Countries like Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Mauritius provide the same or overlapping time zones with these major regions. This allows for real-time support and interactions during regular business hours. It starkly contrasts outsourcing to India or the Philippines where significant timezone gaps can cause delays or poor communication.

While India and the Philippines continue to dominate the outsourcing landscape, Africa is emerging as a hidden gem. The unique benefits around time zones, culture, scalability, costs, and security make Africa an advantageous location for customer support and CX outsourcing.

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