Western Cape Business News

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CALL CENTRES: R60m iiNet Investment a Milestone for Cape Town


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The recent launch of a new customer support contact centre for Australian internet service provider iiNet is a vote of confidence in Cape Town and the Western Cape as a destination for offshore contact centres, says CallingtheCape CEO Sipho Zungu.

Designed, built and operated by customer contact solutions company Merchants, the 150 seat contact centre is iiNet’s first outside Australia and New Zealand. It will enable the company to offer 24-hour customer service, with South Africa taking over from centres in Auckland, Sydney and Perth at the end of their working day.

Apart from Cape Town’s time advantages, Merchants marketing director Vanda Dickson says iiNet was attracted by the company’s “design-build-operate-transfer” or DBOT methodology. “They wanted to work with a service provider that would allow them to take the contact centre back in-house,” explains Dickson. “There is always an element of risk in the decision to outsource offshore, and the DBOT option offers additional comfort and security.” Merchants will run the contact centre for a minimum of 12 months, after which iiNet will decide whether to take over control or renew the current agreement.

Coupled with this unique methodology, Dickson says Merchants’ ability to get the operation up and running within a very short time – between February and July this year – helped to clinch the deal. “The time frames were very tight, but we able to set up the operation and infrastructure, train people and have them working in a new building within a couple of months.”

Merchants has previous experience in delivering customer support solutions for ISPs, adds Dickson, and the cultural fit between the organisations is good.

This was also a reason for considering Cape Town, says Zungu: “When people have to work together across great distances and different time zones, having a culture in common can make a big difference.  The cultural similarities also make it easier for iiNet to project a consistent corporate identity to its customers – and if any iiNet managers and staff ever need to relocate, Cape Town is an attractive option.”

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