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The rapid expansion of UK-based customer experience company Webhelp UK has continued with the opening of its first two centres in South Africa.
The company will open a 7,500 square metre state of the art facility in Cape Town, and a 4,500 square metre site in Johannesburg. The South African operation will be known as Webhelp South Africa and has plans to recruit 1000 people in the country over the next 12 months.
The Webhelp Group, one of Europe’s largest customer experience providers took over the former HEROtsc business earlier this year. The re-branded Webhelp UK has already won new contracts and boosted people numbers at many of its UK sites.
Webhelp UK, which employs 6,000 people across 10 sites and works for brands such as Sky and Vodafone, recently reported revenue growth of 36 per cent in the 12 months to 31 March 2013 to £111m.
While still confident of continuing UK growth, this South African venture will give the company the ability to service international contracts, operating a blended onshore, offshore and near shore model.
Craig Gibson will join Webhelp SA as CEO. Craig joins Webhelp SA with significant experience in the customer management sector. In his 20 year career, he has been responsible for establishing Vodacom’s retail presence in South Africa, growing Ernst &Young’s JD Edwards enterprise resource planning (ERP) practice and winning new clients for Dimension Data’s Customer Interactive Solutions, among a range of blue chip financial institutions.
The Webhelp Group has revenues in excess of 400m Euros, with 35 centres serving more than 130 clients across the world. Webhelp UK runs 10 UK centres – and has created jobs in the UK over the past 12 months following contract wins with PhotoBox, Now TV and Mobile by Sainsbury’s.
David Turner, CEO, at Webhelp UK, said: “This represents a significant milestone in the continued development of our business, by giving us the ability to support our customers across multiple geographies and is complementary to our existing English language, eastern European, nearshore locations.
“We have seen a trend over the last 12-18 months of organisations repatriating work from other offshore locations such as India and the Philippines as a result of poor customer experience.
“All of our research tells us that SA can deliver an equivalent customer experience to the UK for certain processes. We firmly believe that our UK, Romanian and South Africa capability gives us the best possible blend of off, near and onshore capabilities.”
Peter Ryan, Industry Analyst, at Ovum, said: “The similarity of the professional qualifications and the compatibility of the data protection laws make South Africa an excellent partner location for Webhelp UK. The country is particularly attractive because, alongside a stable regulatory environment, there is a talented workforce with high standards of customer experience knowledge. “
Craig Gibson, CEO of Webhelp SA, comments: “South Africa successfully delivers BPO services to the domestic markets of Australia and the UK. The language and culture is closely matched, enabling us to offer a far higher standard of customer service than some traditional BPO markets such as India and the Philippines.
“The arrival of the Webhelp Group in South Africa is another great development for the BPO industry in the country. In recent years we have seen some big brands choose South Africa and the country is establishing itself as a BPO destination of choice.
“I am delighted to lead Webhelp SA and be part of such a progressive global organisation”