US firm’s CT call centre to boost job creation

EXL, a Nasdaq listed business process solutions company, celebrated the opening of its new call centre in Cape Town on Tuesday. By Carin Smith, NewsAgency

The centre will support all regions that have customer relationships or processes conducted in English, particularly relevant to companies in the UK and Europe given cultural similarity and time zone advantages, according to Rohit Kapoor, vice chair and CEO of EXL.

The centre, situated in Cape Town’s tallest building, the Portside Tower, currently employs 60 people, but this is expected to increase up to 3 000 jobs over the next three years.

“We’re committed to growing this centre and will continue to invest in new ways to partner with our clients to improve business outcomes,” said Kapoor.

The facility, which was inaugurated on Tuesday by Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, is also able to support organisations with customers in South Africa.

EXL provides operations management, analytics and technology platforms to insurance, healthcare, banking and financial services, utilities, travel, transportation and logistics companies. In 2015 Forbes recognized EXL as one of the 100 most trustworthy companies in America.

“Cape Town is the latest addition to our expanding footprint and we are excited to tap the rich talent pool within the country,” said Pavan Bagai, president and chief operating officer of EXL.

“South Africa is a key extension of our global delivery model, which offers greater choice and flexibility as part of our operations management services. We’re delighted with the support we have received from our anchor UK client, local partners and advisers.”

According to Gareth Pritchard, CEO at BPESA (Business Process Enabling South Africa) Western Cape, BPO capabilities are evolving to include highly specialised industry services, and South Africa is attracting new investment because of its growing infrastructure, skilled workforce and cultural affinity with the UK market.

“We have been working with EXL to build its own infrastructure in Cape Town, and are delighted to see its dedicated expertise and investment result in such a high value team and operation. The investment further adds to South Africa’s credibility as a mature destination that is able to provide high quality BPO services,” said Pritchard.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies has congratulated EXL on the launch of its Cape Town delivery centre, which follows an evaluation of global locations in Central Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Davies said the arrival of EXL Services into the business process services (BPS) sector is a welcome addition, not only as a new investor, but also because of the value added jobs created that further moves South Africa up the value chain.

“The announcement reaffirms South Africa’s position as a credible Business BPS destination and follows on from the country’s recent nomination at the UK National Outsourcing Association (NOA) awards in the category, Best Offshore Destination of the Year,” said Davies.

The BPS sector is one of the dti’s priority sectors, attracting investment from English speaking source markets, in particular the UK. For Davies a key aspect of the sector is the ability to create jobs in the 18 to 35 year old youth age group and provide skills transfer.

The dti expects to see continued growth in the sector over the next five years as more international companies realise the quality of work delivered in the South African sector, associated cost savings and the ability to deliver complex processes.

He added that government support in the form of incentives and investment promotion further enhances the offshore BPS offering. – Fin24


  1. The EXL Cape Town internal staff is following in the footsteps of Webhelp Cape Town. They are generally a bunch of incompetent idiots. The agencies that recruit for them have such a tough time dealing with these 2 companies because the staff is just so stupid. The best candidates sent by the agencies are generally rejected in what I can only explain as jealousy and being intimated that the incoming staff will unseat the old incompetent staff.

    At Webhelp, call centre agents are not paid in time and not their full monies. This has been going on for over a year at least. So much so that so many excellent call centre agents have left. I personally know friends who have been paid only 65% of what is due to them without any explanations. Only for the monies to be deposited with the next month’s wage, again without any explanation or apology. Imagine that financial chaos for the whole year. It does damage to paying your bills on time.

    Once these guys are so fed up and leave, Webhelp is most often than not uncontactable for references by other call centres and agencies who want to hire these guys. I know of friends in recruitment who could not get through Webhelp Cape Town for literally the whole month. They even called Webhelp Johannesburg to get to try their Cape Town office. They were also unsuccessful. This is not because the lines were busy. They were not working at all! We later learnt that this was done on purpose because payroll did not want to be disturbed as they were sorting out the wagebill.

    EXL is following in these footsteps. I have known about them from December. The stories I hear are that they have wonderful premises but the stuff just sucks balls! They are generally very bad at their jobs, have no customer service spirit even though this is a customer service centre, are cold, aloof and rude on emails and Facebook correspondence. Are even worse at communicating their wishes to the agencies that recruit for them. Please go and ask these agencies. And the best agents who apply at EXL are rejected because the staff that is already there is intimidated that they will be found out and replaced, and therefore are protecting their jobs.

    I have 6 friends who are brilliant agents. They have extensive background in international call centres and impeccable communication, customer service and problem solving skills. They worked for Mindpearl and other top call centres. EXL and Webhelp rejected them without any explanation at all. Only that they can reapply after 3 months. Two of the friends have responded via email to ask why they were unsuccessful so that they know where to improve. None was given. Also, the spelling and grammar in the emails they got shows that these are not the best people for the job.

    A girl I dated I dated last year told me how bad things were at Webhelp that when they were in training, the team leaders were just as clueless as them. She told of this one time that she asked a team leader for assistance with the call. The TL told her bluntly to “just lie man because I also don’t know”. I have heard many stories from many people. Over 12 people actually.

    These new businesses coming into Cape Town are great for the economy and job creation. But someone has to intervene regarding the recruitment criterion being properly adhered to and the best people being installed in the right places, internal staff and team leaders being good enough to deal with the challenges of the job and the best candidates not missing out. Because some of my friends who were rejected without explanation in Cape Town later went to the Johannesburg Webhelp and made it easily and are now best agents there. Please call the reception of Webhelp Johannesburg and ask how many times they got through to Webhelp Cape Town. Johannesburg KNOWS for a fact that their Cape Town staff in unprofessional, incompetent, poorly trained and rude. But since it is the same company, they won’t dare say that in public. But they have said it to me on the phone when I called them because I could not get through to Webhelp Cape Town.

    I know that this passage may be brushed aside as slander or whatever. But it is sooo true. I welcome the international call centres in to Cape Town with open arms. But the people in charge of them may make them fail due to their lack of skills and a bad attitude. And this may affect many more people job-loss wise.


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