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Article : Transformation In The Cards For The Business Process Outsourcing Sector

As corporate South Africa digests the impact of the new B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) codes which come into play on 1 April 2015, a new debate is emerging. This is one of transformation versus job creation and is by no means an easy challenge to resolve. This is the view of Zain Patel, Operations Director: Domestic at Merchants, Southern Africa’s largest and oldest business process outsourcing (BPO) and customer experience specialist.

Under the new codes, it will be more difficult for organisations to improve their ratings without taking the necessary steps towards transformation. In addition to that, according to the new mandate, wherever a government incentive is paid out, it will now become a requirement that the codes are taken into account. This will have a significant impact on the offshore industry as an organisation’s B-BBEE rating will have a direct impact on whether their clients qualify for the incentives.

The need for transformation and job creation in South Africa is a reality that cannot be ignored. "As Merchants the approach we have chosen to take is that of transformation," says Patel. "While we acknowledge that some people will be negatively affected by the required transformation, we do believe job creation will follow."

"Transformation is not just about process, but more so about the people affected by it," he says. "It’s about driving change that has a positive long term and sustainable impact on lives, creating opportunities for more individuals to become economically active."

Patel believes this is an extremely complex issue that cuts across industries and which might be easier for some organisations to overcome than others. "As an established business in South Africa, we have a strong foundation in building an environment that allows people to grow through the ranks with our reputable skills development programmes. Through these programmes we are continuously fast-tracking the development of individuals to move them into leadership positions."

Merchants has also successfully partnered with Harambee, an organisation which sources, trains and places unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into first-time jobs. This partnership allows young people to acquire the skills they need to enter the workplace, while growing the local talent pool for the industry. "This goes a long way in bridging the gap between our unemployed youth and the needs of our organisation. If more organisations took this route we would see tremendous improvement in our country’s unemployment statistics and it is a responsibility that should be shared among corporates in South Africa."

According to Patel, those hardest hit will be the big international outsourcers, which is a challenge as the increase in outsource providers in the country has had a positive effect. "The increase in the number of outsource service providers not only lends more credibility to South Africa as an offshore destination of choice, but also increases the number of people marketing the country to potential investors and provides choice to those customers already considering South Africa," he says. "All of these are great for job creation and developing a healthy, sustainable BPO sector. This is critical in enabling the industry to have a long term impact on the country’s economy and drive down unemployment."

"While we may not have all the answers just yet, we cannot afford to pitch transformation against job creation. We know that transformation is necessary, therefore it is up to the industry as a whole to find that middle ground that allows us to transform while still creating much needed jobs for the country," Patel concludes.

About Merchants:
Company LogoMerchants, a Dimension Data Group company, is a provider of bespoke outsource contact centre solutions and has a 25 year track record of delivering customers contact centre solutions for a variety of blue chip organisations, globally.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Keep Your Options Open

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, January 2, 2015

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2021 Buyers Guide Knowledge Management


Combines knowledge management with call support as continue improvement.

eGain Corporation

eGain Knowledge + AI
eGain's knowledge management software, powered with Case-Based Reasoning, an Artificial Intelligence technology, lets you provide intranet or extranet access to the common knowledge base, enabling contact center agents to provide distinctive, productive, and brand-aligned experiences in every interaction, across all channels and touchpoints.


FuzeDigital offers an affordable yet comprehensive knowledge base to answer your consumers' and staff questions. When assistance is needed, our email management system ensures your timely and accurate delivery of responses. Used by companies large and small that seek to deflect common questions while providing exceptional support.
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Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

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Knowmax is a knowledge management software for enterprises. Customer service of any organization can leverage this tool to create, curate & distribute the knowledge at assisted as well as digital channels promoting self service.


Knowledge Management software
livepro are experts in Customer Experience Knowledge Management and are passionate about improving customer experience. livepro is feature-rich yet easy to use, delivering answers to agents – not long complex documents to dig through. This makes customer service quicker, easier and more efficient. Staff require next to no training on complex procedures thanks to livepro’s intuitive design, which brings confidence up and training costs down.
PH: 18442077999


ProcedureFlow is a step by step visual guide that supports agents as they navigate company processes. With a knowledge management solution that simplifies complex information, employees can spend less time searching and focus on what they do best. ProcedureFlow’s simple and intuitive platform enables contact centers to quickly and easily create, maintain, and update company processes in real time. With ProcedureFlow, teams can work more efficiently, better serve customers, and drive results that matter most to their business.
PH: 1-888-827-3918


Knowledge is your company's most valuable asset. An intelligent Knowledge Base can harness that asset, supporting your customers and empowering your agents.

Purpose-built with your users in mind, the knowledge base stores all information your customers need and search for, from policies to product details. Integral to CX, an intelligent knowledge base allows customers the freedom to self-serve whilst delivering them great results at their convenience.

Internally, the centralised knowledge base equips your employees with all the knowledge they require to assist customers, enhancing not only the way agents work, but the impact on CSAT.

Knowledge can be seamlessly integrated with your customer service tools to ensure complete coherence of information, even when it's updated.
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