How to start a call centre in South Africa?

How to start a call centre in South Africa?

Call centres are used by a variety of businesses that deal with a lot of customer support. Making this quite a lucrative business. This is a guide on how to start a call centre in South Africa.


Call centres are generally used by companies that are looking to outsource their call operations. These call centres handle all customer support and sometimes make cold calls to customers/clients. Other businesses are no well equipped to handle all their call operations, they outsource call centres to help them.

Decide the focus of your call centre

The structure of your call centre will differ according to your focus. You can either operate an onsite call centre or a virtual call centre or even from run it from your own house. An onsite call centre operates from a central location, this is usually an office where all work is done.

Virtual call centres are a bit different and they might be the future. With a virtual call centre, employees work from home. You will need to use tools to help you manage and measure the productivity of a remote team. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, an onsite call centre is way more expensive to setup, the overhead costs are off the roof. You will need to pay for everything, rent, water, electricity, broadband and a lot of other costs. The main disadvantages of a virtual call centre are that you can’t build team spirit or team morale, it’s just not practical.

You will also have to make a decision on whether you want to do inbound calls or outbound calls. Outbound call centres do cold calls for sales, they are mainly employed by insurance companies and other businesses that do a lot of cold calls. Inbound call centres don’t usually call customers, they handle customer support. You can also do a web-enabled call centre, the customer has to select “talk to person” after interacting with a machine that tries to solve their most common problems.

Buy the equipment

This should come after deciding whether you are going to run an onsite call centre or a remote one. It’s also important to note that you can start an offshore call centre, you can setup a call centre where the start-up costs are way cheaper.

You will need computers, headsets, office supplies, telephone lines, and a call centre software. Invest in software such as a customer relationship management system (CRM). This will make it easier for you to get all the caller’s details and assist them with their problems. You will also need performance monitoring tools; this will help out dramatically. This whole process may take anywhere between R60 000 and R200 000.

Hiring the right people

It’s very difficult to estimate the number of employees you will need; this puts you at risk of over-hiring or under-hiring. Start out with a number of employees that you can afford to pay for at least 3 months without any additional income from your call centre. This can range from 2 to 10 people; you will quickly see if you need more people and can hire as time goes.

You will definitely need an employee monitoring system. Employees can get carried away and access sites that they are not supposed to during work hours. These may be shopping sites and other types of sites, monitoring systems will help keep your employees working and productive.

It’s often better to get people with some experience when you are starting out. They will require a higher salary but they are a good investment for the business. This also depends on the type of call centre you will be running; you might need employees with specialized knowledge if you are going to be offering medical support.

Getting clients

Unfortunately, you won’t run digital ads and have clients coming towards you. We love digital ads but this business is different, you basically have to cold call your way into getting clients. You have to call businesses that may want to outsource their call operations, contact businesses with a huge sales department selling a variety of products. There are other call centres that may look for in-home help, contact them as well.


This was a guide on how to start a call centre in South Africa. Starting a call centre is hard and requires a significant amount of start-up capital. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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