Adil, you have a long history in the sector and the region, having been involved in building Majorel’s local operation and also in the extension of capacities and locations, spanning over a time of almost 20 years. Could you give us a short insight into the story of Majorel Senegal?
AB: Majorel’s journey in Africa began indeed 20+ years ago, and the first milestone was in Morocco in 2000. We enjoyed growth and success in this pioneer location in Northern Africa, setting our stronghold in the continent which will pave the way to expand in new countries in Western Africa 10+ years later.
When Majorel started looking at new locations to expand in, Senegal erected as one of the most obvious choices thanks mainly to its secular stability and large talent pool adapted to our business requirements.
As with any new locations, we started small and kick off with a 30 employee pilot in late 2013, which led to the first top 10 international BPO player to enter the Senegalese market at the time. One success leading to another, we were able to gain our first clients’ full trust and grew significantly across the years, which led to more clients and more business pouring in.
Today, we are 1,500+ employees strong in 2020 in 3 service centers (Teranga, Jambar, and Baobab), and are considered as one of the biggest private employers in Dakar.
STF: What type of clients and industries do you currently serve from your center in Senegal and Ivory Coast? And what type of services you pre‐dominantly deliver from those locations?
AB: In Senegal, as well as in Ivory Coast, we have a large portfolio of international clients representing more than 10 countries in Europe, America, and Asia. These clients are large-scale companies and operate in various industries such as telecom, utilities, high-tech, e-commerce, banking, media, etc.
We support the complete customer journey through all main touch-points, from client acquisition to retention, passing by account management, claims management, or
technical support. We do offer also full multichannel support including chat and social media which are trending amongst our clients’ consumers’ favourite ways of communication with the brands.
The more experience and tenure our operations gained, the more we were able to leverage our expertise to cover a wider range of highly demanding sectors like Banking or Utilities, in which specific legislation
requires a high level of compliance and technicity and a strong emphasis on data protection and security.
Other industries we support include Telecom, e-commerce, and media.
STF: Majorel is a major player in the global business process services sector. What were the key aspects that lead to the decision to extend operations to Senegal and Ivory Coast?
AB: Majorel has always been considered a leader in its field, a recognition provided by renowned rankings the latest of which is the 2021 Everest Customer Experience Management Peak Matrix. Being a leader implies having the ability to expand its footprint to include favourable geographies garnering an array of assets that enable it to be considered as “BPO friendly”locations.
These reasons, which are the same that led both to Senegal and Ivory Coast, are designated through 6 key factors:
• The size and quality of the talent pool
• The reliability and sustainability of the infrastructure
• The political and security outlook
• The business environment and government incentives in the service sector
• The accessibility from other locations especially Europe
• The overall production
For the French market, and whilst we already have existing operations in France and Morocco supporting the French market, adding Senegal and Ivory Coast to our footprint provided us with extra depth in our offer for this market, empowering our location solutions with scalability and flexibility while being cost-efficient at the same time. Quality-wise, we were able to deliver the same level of KPIs as we do in other locations, sometimes even better thanks to our ability to attract young skilled talent.
Western Africa has been one of the most dynamic regions for the off‐shore French market in the last four years. This trend has more than ever reinforced our strong belief that we made the right choice to be the first mover in these two countries amongst the global BPO players.
STF: With your very unique experiences in growing and managing local operations, what would be your general advice to clients and investors that are evaluating the region for working with local service providers or for investing in their delivery centers?
AB: My general advice to future clients or investors is to surround themselves with the relevant partner network who understand the market inside out and have the experience and the knowledge.
Knowing the market is key to drive performance in a new location. Having a strong partnership with a telco operator to get the best SLAs for reliable connectivity, mastering the most efficient recruitment channels to attract the best talent, partnering with facilities specialists to set up and run the best center endowed with international standards, having the proper counsel to get a grasp of local regulations. To drive excellence, you need to be fully synced with the local ecosystem.
At Majorel, we can support both clients willing to outsource to a global BPO leader and looking for premium services, as well as companies studying implementation plans for setting up their own delivery centers.
We have even developed specific solutions for the latter, in the form of the BOT model (Build Operate Transfer), where Majorel takes care of building the operation, managing it for a defined period, and then transferring it eventually to the client who takes over the operations and all the assets. This model enables a smoother transition to a new country with fast time-to-market and mastered risk with an experienced partner.
Covid-19 provided major challenges for desk-based work and we know from many European service providers how they reacted to the situation. But from what we learned the pandemic has probably a lower impact in African countries. What were your measures to ensure uninterrupted service delivery and maintain workers’ safety?
Our motto at Majorel has always been the #One Team. This stems from a deep belief that the health and well-being of our employees are paramount. After all, our teams are our primary resource and it is only natural to protect them. From the very first hours of the pandemic, we anticipated the risks with a fast-response strategy on operational and health fields, this strategy has been actioned through a business continuity plan (BCP).
In a remarkably short amount of time, we set up a work from home system (54% of our employees are still on WFH) and enforced a health and sanitary system (reorganization and daily disinfection of employee transportation, fumigation, and limitation of the occupancy rate of the workstations, installation of disinfection systems one site, training and awareness-raising programs for staff, plexiglass separations…).
The pandemic is still lingering, this is why our Covid19 response is still ongoing, we intend to keep it on for our employees as well as our clients to whom we continue to provide consistent and professional services regardless of the dire circumstances.
You can read the full interview in the Outsourcing Destination Guide for Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org