Call centre industry looks beyond Covid-19

Source: Call centre industry looks beyond Covid-19 | Herald (Business)

Business Reporter With the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacting on Zimbabwe’s call centre industry, the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe (CCAZ) says the adoption of virtual call centre could save the sector. Call centres are typically centralised offices used for receiving or transmitting large volumes of enquiries by telephone, and an inbound call centre is o

Dr Mambondiani

Business Reporter

With the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacting on Zimbabwe’s call centre industry, the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe (CCAZ) says the adoption of virtual call centre could save the sector.

Call centres are typically centralised offices used for receiving or transmitting large volumes of enquiries by telephone, and an inbound call centre is one operated by a company to administer incoming product or service support or information enquiries from consumers

CCAZ president Dr Lance Mambondiani — who is also BancABC chief executive — said current challenges facing the sector can be overcome through the adoption of remote working systems.

“In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the local call centre industry, which currently employs over 9 000 people, is facing significant challenges in protecting its workers and bottom-line.

“The pandemic has brought about extreme levels of uncertainty. But the sector does not have to fold. Quite on the contrary, increased uncertainty tends to be accompanied by a jump in the volume of calls fielded by call centre teams,” he said.

“Service-oriented businesses have had to review workforce locations, but for the call centre industry in particular, the adoption of virtual call centre systems is essential as it will allow for remote working and business continuity.”

Virtual call centres are typically geographically dispersed, rather than being situated at work stations in a building operated by an organisation.

He added: “Virtual call centres are actually an attractive arrangement for Zimbabwe, even beyond COVID-19, because of the flexible working hours, reasonable equipment costs, and lower employee turnover rates compared to physical call centres.”

Zimbabwe has around 43 in-house call centres and six companies providing business process outsourcing (BPO) services targeting European and American markets, which are already feeling the impact of Covid-19 pandemic as both local and global markets stutter.

The CCAZ has been pushing for the establishment of a national call centre, and its secretary-general Mr Rinos Mautsa says such an entity can help in times of crises.

“In our view, the State should seriously consider the development of a national contact centre. It can provide services to ministries, tourists, private players and the general public.

“And in situations like we are currently facing, the national call centre can cater for the provision of critical citizen information, as well as assist in the provision of mobile health services when required,” he said.

Encompassing over 90 members, the CCAZ is the country’s main body driving the growth of the local contact centre and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Zimbabwe has over 1 000 inbound call centre seats in the telecommunications, insurance and banking sectors.

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