Interview of Bénédicte Bathurst: “We are true call centre craftsmen”

Since its creation in 2001, ProContact, a pioneer in call centres in Mauritius, has become specialized in BPO. With its two other sites in Madagascar and Rodrigues, the professional activity of the call centre goes beyond Mauritian borders. It is now a key player in the Indian Ocean. Bénédicte Bathurst, ProContact’s General Manager since 2008, talks about ProContact’s BPO practices.

Mrs Bathurst, can you briefly refresh our mind of ProContact’s field of activity?

ProContact is a generalist, diversified call centre. We work on various and different types of missions. In terms of BPO, for example, we deal with appointments, customer service, inbound or outbound calls, payroll management, back office… But we also do other things such as logo or website creation or sales assistance. Similarly, with the purchase of the company Pongo, we are working on digitalization.

In BPO, what are the three sectors where you have the most requests? Why?

At the first position, we have appointment setting. Customers are delegating more and more of the appointment setting service to us because it saves them time. It allows them to focus 100% on selling their products and developing their business. They also understood that with specialized companies like us, they would gain in productivity and reach more customers. And at the same time, the people who were responsible of making these calls will be switched to higher value-added missions. The second task that customers outsource the most is the management of incoming calls. When it comes to this, we allow them to minimize the loss of calls from their prospects by extending their hours. For example, we will take calls at times when the customer would not have been able to do so. This could be early in the morning, after 5:00 p.m., or even on Saturdays. Then, the third request that we handle the most in BPO is lead management. To put it simply, we will help the client to manage the requests of their prospects on their platforms in an immediate manner. In practice, we need to be responsive to every lead request and refer them to a salesperson quickly. All this allows our client to optimize the number of requests processing.

According to you, what is the upcoming trend in the area of BPO?

For me, lead management is a sector that will explode in the BPO field. Indeed, there are more and more regulations around sales prospecting and the strengthening of these rules will force companies to change their strategy. For example, in France, from January 2023, we will no longer be allowed to display a number starting with 06 or 07 when calling individuals. This will only be possible if the consumer has given his consent. Just with this new law, we realize that telephone canvassing will be more and more complicated to achieve. Hence grows the need for companies to reinvent themselves and turn to digital. In addition to lead management, the two other sectors that are likely to explode are remote sales and customer support. These outsourcing requests are already growing strongly at ProContact.

What is the particularity of ProContact in its outsourcing practice? How do you differ from other call centres on the island?

In Mauritius, most call centres work only for themselves or with one to three large clients. On the other hand, we stand out by working only with small and medium-sized companies, i.e. small businesses. We are true call centre craftsmen. In total, we have about fifty customers. We treat their requests with as much attention to detail as if they were from large companies. We offer them the same expertise and the same treatment. We have well-trained teams with experienced managers and supervisors who are able to interact directly with clients. This is where ProContact draws its strength. Also, offering different services helps us reach more clients. Looking at the larger picture, what makes ProContact stand out from the crowd are the values that are transmitted. There is a real corporate and benevolent spirit in the company. The employees say it themselves: we are a family. Personally, I know each of the names of my 250 employees. Everyone is on the same level and everyone helps each other out.

What is your outlook for ProContact over the next five years?

In five years, our teams will normally have doubled in size. The same should be true for the number of clients. I think that we will have reinforced the quality of the training given to the teams and that there will be more continuous training on the new positions that will emerge. But more than anything, it is certain that ProContact will open a fourth site, because the goal is not to increase the size of existing sites, but to create new ones. We don’t want to become a factory but remain a company on a human scale. This fourth site would be a real added value. It will increase our chances of recruiting the right people and will guarantee our customers an even better service. It remains to be seen where we intend to locate our activity. Will it be in Reunion Island? In the Comoros? In Portugal? Only time will tell us!

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