Kenyan business processing outsourcing (BPO) firms are diversifying to skilled services such as software development and consumer research to grow sales as competition from foreign businesses deepens.
Multinational outsourcing firms from India, Mauritius and Philippines have had a grip in Kenya handling big ticket contracts firms in Europe and United States, leaving the smaller contracts to fledgling countries such as Kenya.
But the onset of the financial crisis in 2008 has tilted the market landscape as companies in western nations cut back work referrals to the big outsourcing in an effort to cuts costs and protect their profit margins.
This has prompted the large outsourcing firms to turn to the small contracts that had emerged as a sales and profit driver for Kenya’s BPO’s, which has forced them to review their business plans.
“The established BPO are going for this kind of work to sweeten their proposals to the companies they had big contracts with before the economic slowdown, causing a ripple effect on young industries like ours which largely depended on such contracts,” said Eunice Kariuki, deputy chief executive officer, Kenya ICT board—a government agency in charge of marketing Kenya as a BPO and contact centre destination.
To counter the increased competition, local BPOs led by Kencall and Techno Brain are scouring for deals in Kenya with insurance, media, Non governmental Organisations (NGOs) and banking sectors.
Paynet is one of the local companies that has used Kencall to conduct a survey on how to improve sales in the various target areas.
“We used KenCall recently and we were astounded at how quickly their turnaround time is on market research.” Bernard Mathewman CEO, Paynet Kenya, said.
“We had questions to ask our customers and they undertook this and got feedback from the customers in real time about their sentiments of the products and services offered and how we could design efficient products and services for them.”
Techno brain on the other hand is offering an emergency helpline for children and young people in difficult situations to access essential services such as trauma counselling, medical services and legal services; public education programmes on child rights and child protection among other to Childline Kenya under Department of Children Services (Ministry of Gender).
Kencall says it has increased its activities in securing local contracts as it pursues the international ones which not only take time to seal but are also proving hard to get.
Nick Nesbitt, the chief executive of Kencall says getting international contracts is quite slow but the firm is relaying on the domestic companies such as insurance, media and NGOs to remain afloat.
Source: Business Daily