Based on its recent analysis of the business process outsourcing (BPO)-contact centre market, Frost & Sullivan recognises Merchants (SA) with the 2015 South African Frost & Sullivan Award for Company of the Year. Merchants has established a strong reputation in the BPO industry by leveraging its vast experience to provide exceptional value-added services (VAS) in a dynamic and intensely competitive BPO market.
“Merchants has developed a solid understanding of the global market, which has enabled it to deliver the right service at the right price, as well as empower clients with insights into different aspects of the market,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Pieter Nel.
Merchants believes in its ability to increase productivity of the client, either by enabling them to save costs or by offering a VAS that enhances their operational efficiency. In the case where the service does not deliver on the agreed upon target, the company will deduct the shortfall from the client’s bill.
The BPO market employs Net Promoter System (NPS), a service provider-agnostic global metric to measure contact centre customer service experience. Although this score metric is used globally and across leading brands, some companies misuse it to artificially boost their ratings. Merchants has a deep understanding of what an exceptional customer experience looks like and delivers world-class NPS, which ensures it receives repeat contracts.
Furthermore, Merchants has created a six-month programme named, ‘Future Leaders’, wherein it trains individuals to fulfil their potential and prepare them for the position they would like to acquire after the completion of the program. In 2014, 46 percent of all promotions were for candidates from ‘Future Leaders’ programs. Additionally, the company works with Stellenbosch University Business School on an intensive nine-month Management Development programme to hone middle and senior management skills.
“Merchants lays special emphasis on corporate social responsibility and transformation, and is making great progress towards achieving it,” observed Nel. “For instance, it is paying its dues to society while simultaneously addressing the issue of skills shortage by partnering with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerators, an organisation that sources, trains, and places unemployed youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in first-time jobs.”
In 2014, the number of jobs in the South African contact centre market was approximately 41,000. In the same year, Merchants expanded its seat pool by 1000 to reach 4500 seats nationwide, effectively making it the market leader. Between 2013 and 2014, the company grew by approximately 17 percent, and since 2010 the compound annual growth rate was estimated to at approximately 21 percent.
Significantly, in a cost-conscious market, Merchants has employed a blended approach to pricing models, as it believes that clients should pay for the value they receive rather than the service. Merchants builds bespoke experiences for clients, making the most of its 30-plus years of experience in creating and managing contact centre operations to blue chip clients all over the world.
Merchants has built its value proposition on a large and growing international footprint, advanced expertise, and established system and infrastructure. By leveraging these attributes, it has become the dominant player in the South African BPO industry.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in terms of growth strategy and implementation. The award recognises a high degree of innovation with products and technologies and the resulting leadership in terms of customer value and market penetration.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
Merchants (merchants.co.za) is a leading Customer Management Outsourcing solution provider specialising in business process outsourcing (BPO) that delivers customer experience and customer interactions. We focus on people, process and technology to create exceptional customer experiences.
We are pioneers in the contact centre industry with over 30 years of experience in creating and managing contact centre operations around the world to blue chip clients. Our services and solutions are built on tried and trusted models, systems and processes that are based on best practice standards.
We are passionate about people. Our ability to attract the best talent, coupled with our rich history of success and innovation across different industries around the world, is what differentiates us from our competitors.
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