By Ali Elaalaoui
Casablanca – Due to higher offshore activities in European countries mainly France and Spain, call centers have become one of the fastest growing businesses in Morocco.
A wide number of international companies have chosen Morocco as their best site for new call centers for many good reasons: Moroccan agents handle high-volume calls effectively, credit card problems and conduct customer satisfaction surveys in several languages. Besides, there are more benefits due to a cheap workforce and close time zones.
The Moroccan government has been conducting tremendous efforts to attract foreign investors in telecommunication by liberating the infrastructure sectors and providing cost-effective call center outsourcing services. Moroccan local phone companies also started in 2005 important cuts in its tariffs of up to 13-percent in “Maroc Telecom”. The large number of these centers is concentrated in the Casablanca-Rabat region and provides some 30,000 jobs.
Although the call center industry in Morocco is considered one of the fastest growing industries that has helped reduce the unemployment rate and an important source of external financing, the industry, however, has undergone a number of trials, particularly when the global recession hit the European market.
The French ministry of labor, in 2010, declared that they are likely to bring French call center jobs back home. I remember that day when some of my associates were shocked and increasingly disturbed by the news. Moroccan officials negotiating with French ones, I bet, took a deep breath too!
The fact that France is the primary foreign investor of call centers in Morocco, means this service industry will always remain under the mercy of business decision makers in Paris, unless the kingdom urges all potential companies to host call centers in several languages, particularly English.
Morocco has a large qualified workforce and an increasing number of English speaking college graduates, especially since the kingdom decided to set up a call center training academy. Morocco has indeed intrinsic strengths that can make it one of the best outsourcing destinations for English speaking countries.
Working in the call center industry in Morocco means good starting salaries, overnight promotions and much more benefits. However, it also means serious stress problems; call center agents are asked to have patience and remained focused as they deal with customer calls and meet their daily objectives, otherwise, they will gain markdowns that must be avoided.
In the various Moroccan call centers I worked for almost two years, call center managers fix operation objectives that agents find hard to meet. They must work the phones for the entire duration of their shifts and rarely take breaks. Many qualified agents thus quit their jobs after a short period of time.
Also, working on weekends or night shifts with no days off affects one’s life in many ways. Months or years under such stress can even cause heart problems and nervous breakdowns, especially since agents have to rotate their meal times and sleeping hours.
To meet the demand of a competitive outsourcing industry, the Moroccan ministry of labor should make sure all call center employees enjoy the same, high level working conditions; medical care, health insurance and are being valued and paid fairly.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Ali Elaalaoui is an E-Commerce Coordinator at “IFM”, an international company based in Cairo, Egypt. He also joined the American organization “Peace Corps” as a trainer of American volunteers. He obtained his bachelor degree in English studies from Ibn Zohr University, Agadir. Mr Elaalaoui published a number of articles in different publications. His main areas of interests are Telecommunications, Webmarketing, Politics and Cultural studies.
© Morocco World News