Dubai emerges as Mideast call centre hub

DUBAI - Dubai's Dh100 million call centre industry, thriving on account of the Emirates' advantages in terms of higher cost-efficiency, ready availability of a multi-lingual workforce and modern infrastructure, is better-positioned to emerge as the hub of the region's burgeoning customer relationship management services sector.

By Isaac John

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Published: Mon 12 Apr 2004, 9:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:36 AM

"Dubai has all the key factors in the making of successful call centre hub, thanks to the support the government has been extending to this fast developing service sector," said Ahmad Tahlak, one of the pioneers of this fast growing industry in the UAE.

"Given the vibrant nature of this industry and its tremendous growth potential, it is a dream of those in the sector that Dubai, which has successfully implemented several bold new initiatives, sets up a "Call Centre City" to offer a whole range of customer relationship management services (CRM) globally and regionally," said Tahlak, the owner and chief consultant at TeleServices Company (TSC), and the recipient of two awards. A rare feat, Tahlak was honoured twice at the first 'Mohammed bin Rashid Awards for Small and Medium Sized Enterprise' recently. He won 'Best Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Male)' and the 'Best Consulting & Professional Business Award" instituted by Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders.

"Besides the ready availability of multi-lingual personnel, advanced communication technology and low operational cost, what gives Dubai the strategic edge is the instant accessibility to all type of service or expertise to support you," pointed out Tahlak, an industry veteran with 14 years of expertise in the industry

With some 130 call centres, most of which in-house facilities, already operational in the Emirates, this sector, estimated to be more than Dh100 million per year, is poised for a dramatic growth over the next several years. "This year, the industry is set for a 30 per cent growth, a trend which is to sustain for the next several years, he said. "And if Etisalat allows the use of voice-over IP, the industry will see dramatic growth."

The outlook for the industry worldwide is quite upbeat. Spending on CRM services, such as call centres and on-line computer help desks, are expected to rise at least 20 per cent, to more than $40 billion, this year. And it should more than double that figure in the next four years. Last year, firms worldwide spent $90 billion a year on CRM. This, in contrast to a 1998 worldwide CRM total of $33.2 billion in spending. CRM is defined for these purposes as "a variety of services used to design and operate customer-care systems that help companies attract, retain, service and expand customer relationships to generate business and improve the consumer experience." In 1997, some $700 billion in products and services were sold through call centres in 1997 and this figure is expanding by 20 per cent annually, he said.

Tahlak, who was also awarded the International Call Center Management Association's (ICCM) 'Global Call Center Manager of the Year' for two consecutive years in 2001 and 2002, said companies and organisations in the region are increasingly getting aware of the vital role being played by call centres in enhancing their operational efficiency.

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