Golden beaches, ancient cities, beautiful mosaics, friendly locals—Tunisia is known for many things. But call centers?
Aside from its reputation as a beautiful vacation destination just a few hours from Europe, Tunisia has also established itself as a business and technology hub in Northern Africa. Its numerous call centers already serve businesses across the Middle East, Europe and the US. Besides that, the strong focus on technology and innovation lend Tunisia’s call centers a strong infrastructure and innovative culture to develop better customer experience strategies.
But just because Tunisia is a strong location for call centers doesn’t mean it’s the right location for you. So how do you know?
In this article, we’ll walk through the advantages and challenges of outsourcing to Tunisia so you can easily decide if it’s the right location for your call center outsourcing.
Tunisia offers many advantages for outsourcing, including:
- close proximity to Europe
- a cultural focus on innovation and growth
- affordable staffing
- strong infrastructure and a global business focus
- ample scalability due to a large workforce
Perhaps most importantly, the Tunisian call center industry has developed in a culture with a global focus—situated as it is in between the Middle East, Africa and Europe—while also maintaining an emphasis on innovation and technology.
Tunisia has been ranked as one of the leading nations for innovation and business growth across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With innovation and technological support from both cultural and governmental influences, it’s created a strong sense of agency, innovation and development for call center solutions.
In addition, the strong Tunisian workforce—in terms of both size and education—results in ample scalability as well as affordable, quality staffing. As more businesses seek to expand operations into new markets, offer multilingual services, and scale without losing quality or proximity to their call centers, Tunisia rises up as a solution to many of these competing needs.
Digging Deeper: The Tunisian Call Center Infrastructure
The Tunisian workforce is a big part of why Tunisian call centers are so beneficial for companies looking to outsource. Consider that the Tunisian workforce offers educated, multilingual workers who are well-trained in providing quality customer service. Tunisia’s focus on education and strong universities develop workers who are well-versed in communications, technology, international business, customer service and other areas. What all of this means is you’ll be easily able to employ a well-rounded workforce for your call center.
In addition, many Tunisians are multilingual, not just in English, but also often in French and Italian. As such, Tunisian call centers often offer multilingual services which are perfect for serving—or expanding into—European audiences. For international companies, these languages are a must for customer support.
Alongside the human element, there’s also the technological backbone to consider. Tunisia has a strong ICT infrastructure, providing consistent and reliable support for international businesses. The well-developed infrastructure makes it a more reliable choice than many offshoring locations, while the governmental support means the ICT infrastructure is only growing and deepening.
Cost Perspective: Analyzing the Financial Implications of a Tunisian Call Center
From a cost perspective, Tunisia is also an effective and reliable outsourcing destination. Since the cost-of-living is much less than Western Europe or the US, the salaries and outsourcing costs are therefore lower as well, making it much more cost-effective to scale.
But while the operational and labor costs are more efficient when outsourcing to Tunisia, the proximity to Europe and advanced infrastructure and workforce quality—as discussed above—means that quality in Tunisia is higher than many other offshoring countries, such as India or the Philippines.
So, how does the cost compare?
|Offshoring (i.e. India)||Tunisia||Onshoring (domestic)|
|least expensive labor costs, with a drop in quality||affordable labor costs, generally with no discernable drop in quality||highest labor costs, with the most quality control|
|low overhead costs||low overhead costs||high overhead costs|
|easy and cost-effective to scale||easy and cost-effective to scale||scaling can be difficult or expensive, or both|
|multilingual agents may not speak languages familiar to your customer base||multilingual agents in languages that matter to your customers are easy to find, and affordable||multilingual agents are hard to find and command premium rates|
|the cost of traveling to your call center will be very high||traveling to your call center will be quick and affordable||traveling to your call center will be quick and affordable|
The final verdict? Outsourcing to Tunisia offers a balance of both affordability and quality.
Challenges and Mitigation Strategies
Of course, every outsourcing location has challenges that must be accounted for. By finding ways to mitigate these challenges in advance, you can develop a stronger call center, regardless of location. For example, if you’re onshoring, your costs will be much higher—but you can mitigate this in advance by setting up a hybrid team with some onshore agents for tasks that require high quality levels, and some offshore agents for more back-of-office or manual tasks.
What challenges should you be aware of when outsourcing to Tunisia?
For one, keep in mind that although Tunisia is located in close proximity to Europe, culturally it’s quite distinct. Tunisia’s culture has been influenced by a variety of groups across history, but today, it’s 99% Muslim, with strong values toward religion, family and hospitality. Tunisia is a very progressive and tolerant country, yet when visiting or working in Tunisia, you should be aware of Muslim norms and customs.
In addition, you’ll need to be aware of the regulatory hurdles and challenges that come with a Tunisian call center. Setting up your call center in Tunisia can create many obstacles, from establishing a business that complies with local and national laws, to understanding where to place your call center based on local politics, to staffing your call center and more.
The easiest way to mitigate both of these challenges, and others, is to work with an established call center in Tunisia used to working with international businesses, such as the Global Response Tunisian call center. Not only does it create more structure for your call center, with existing teams, processes, and expertise, but it also mitigates much of the risk you’ll encounter as an established business with a favorable reputation.
Businesses Thriving with Tunisia-Based Call Centers
Sometimes your business grows faster than you can—and while this is a good problem to have, it’s also an overwhelming one.
When ASICS contacted us at Global Response for a potential partnership and support with their customer service, they were experiencing a record 80% increase in inbound customer communications and were struggling to scale effectively—and quickly enough—to keep up with new demand.
We stepped in with a hybrid model—offering ASICS support from both our onshore and offshore teams—and began working through more than 25,000 backlogged customer email inquiries. After clearing the backlog quickly and efficiently, we were able to help ASICS continue to scale—from 20 Global Response agents, to 30 and then to 40—while expanding their customer service channels, preventing backlogs, meeting customer demands and improving service levels.
In short, we were able to:
- increase service levels by 130% in just eight months
- improve speed of answer by 40%
- fully clear the backlog and now respond to every customer inquiry within 12 hours
- develop and support a fully omnichannel support strategy
By using hybrid teams in multiple locations, ASICS was not only able to get the best of Global Response’s teams and services, but also take advantage of multiple time zones for extended coverage and support, but also increase scalability with a larger labor force and more affordable salaries.
Contrasting Tunisia with Other Call Center Destinations
Whether you move forward with a hybrid model, as our client ASICS did, or go all-in on one outsourcing location, every location has advantages and challenges.
Ready to perfect your CX?
Check out some of the main comparisons between Tunisia and other popular call center destinations:
How do Tunisian Call Centers Compare?
|Market Size||Large labor market makes scaling easy and cost-effective||Large labor market makes scaling and flexible solutions easy||Subject to ebbs and flows of US labor market and demands||Large labor market makes it possible to scale quickly, but with some quality issues||Large labor market makes it possible to scale quickly|
|Infrastructure and technology||Cultural focus on technology and innovation supports infrastructure and modern tech||Strong infrastructure and technology caters to a US market||Infrastructure and technology is on par for US norms||Infrastructure is often less sophisticated or consistent compared to other outsourcing locations||Infrastructure may be less sophisticated or consistent compared to other locations|
|Cultural or Linguistic Compatibility||Proximity to Europe heightens familiarity with Western cultures and languages||Proximity to the US means cultural or linguistic barriers rarely exist||Cultural or linguistic issues are rarely problems||Cultural and linguistic barriers are common issues, especially in customer-facing roles||Cultural compatibility with Western countries make connecting with customers easier|
|Multilingual Availability||Multilingual agents often speak French and English||Multilingual agents are very common, typically fluent in Spanish and English||Multilingual or bilingual agents are rarer and more expensive||Many multilingual agents, but may not be fluent in relevant languages||Many multilingual agents, but may not be fluent in relevant languages|
|Proximity||Proximity to Europe makes call centers more accessible for clients||Geographic proximity makes accessibility, collaboration and communication easy||Nearby call centers invite accessibility and collaboration||Geographic distance creates barriers to accessibility and collaboration||Geographic distance can create less control and collaboration available|
|Cost & Quality||Very affordable services with a high service quality||Very cost-effective option with a good balance of affordability and quality||High service quality, but more expensive services||Very affordable services, but often with a lower service quality||Very affordable services, but often with some language or communication barriers|
How to Set up Your Call Center in Tunisia
If Tunisia makes sense as a location for your call center, how then should you go about setting up your call center operations there? In short, it’s a four-step process involving scoping and planning, finding a local partner, staffing and training and deploying your technology.
While each of these steps involve numerous smaller to-dos, here’s an overview of what you’ll need to think about at each stage:
- Scoping and Planning.
At this stage, you’ll need to define the objectives and scope of your call center—what are you hoping to achieve or accomplish? What services will you need? How many agents will you need to hire to achieve your goals?
In addition, you’ll need to account for the regulatory side of things as well as the vision and operations of your call center. For example, you’ll have to establish a legal business in accordance with local laws and regulations, as well as determine and implement the appropriate legal structures for your call center.
- Finding local partner(s).
Next, you’ll need to choose a location for your call center and/or choose a local partner to house your call center team. The vetting process for this should be thorough, whether you’re working with a partner or operating independently. Understand what you need from your call center (refer to stage 1) and where the best places are to be for those. To do this effectively, you’ll need to understand local politics and geography as well as population distribution, city infrastructure and more, so it’s most effective to work with a local partner whenever possible.
- Staffing and training.
For many, this is one of the most difficult stages to get right. You’ll need to determine what types of agents and employees your call centers, how many of each type to hire, the appropriate staffing ratio, and so on—and then hire accordingly. You’ll also have to manage recruitment, onboarding and training for each staff member.
- Deploying the right technology.
Finally, with all of the other pieces in place, you’ll need to develop and implement the day-to-day operations of your call center. This involves everything from purchasing and implementing software and telephony systems, setting up the physical workspaces and equipment of your call center, managing staff and protocols, and so on.
Of course, all of this is just a brief overview—which highlights how much complicated work goes into starting your own call center. All of this leads to many companies resorting to hiring teams in-house, since it’s easier. However, if you work with a partner like Global Response, you can mitigate a lot of these challenges and hurdles. With teams already in place in Tunisia ready to expedite your call center outsourcing, you can be up and running in just weeks, with little administrative work needed from your team.
Ensuring Success: Measuring and Improving Call Center Performance
Whether you build your own call center or outsource to an existing Tunisian call center, you should stay actively involved in ensuring the quality and success of your teams.
This begins by identifying—and tracking—core KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), or metrics for success and quality—amongst your team. Which KPIs are most important to measure depends on your team, goals, services and objectives. However, most call centers would benefit from tracking at least:
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)
- AHT (Average Handle Time)
- FCR (First Contact Response Rate)
- CRR (Customer Retention Rate)
Whatever key metrics you choose, ensure that they include a mix of both operational metrics—to ensure operational efficiency and productivity— and experiential metrics—to ensure customer satisfaction and a positive experience. For more ideas on key metrics to track, read our breakdown of most important KPIs for call centers.
With the right partner, all of this becomes easier, as reporting and analytics can be done for you by your call center team. If you’re managing your own call center, you’ll have to measure, analyze and report on all of this yourself.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Tunisia’s Call Center Industry
As Tunisia’s call center industry continues to grow, we expect to see a continued focus on innovation and technology amongst this segment, making Tunisia a great location for outsourcing for companies who either:
- have a strong technology focus and need help desk or product support, or
- want to take advantage of modern technology to expand or enhance your call center.
Tunisian call centers are already taking advantage of modern innovation and technology such as automation and AI to speed up processes and improve customer experiences. For example, call centers can use automation to reduce manual data entry and repetitive tasks, which not only reduces errors but also improves worker satisfaction and retention. In addition, AI can be implemented to create chatbots, self-service tools for customers and more expansive and useful knowledge bases for agents.
All of these innovations are set to expand the Tunisian call center market, as well as deliver better results, increased efficiency and reduced cost of services to clients.
Conclusion: Is a Tunisia-Based Call Center Right for You?
So, is Tunisia the right location for your outsourced call center? You should consider outsourcing to Tunisia if:
- you’re an EU-based business looking for an affordable nearshoring destination
- you’re a US-based business looking for affordable scalability
- you’re expanding into new markets and need multilingual customer service in languages like French, Italian or German
- you need an affordable call center supported by strong technology, infrastructure and innovation
Ready to see how outsourcing to Tunisia can help your call center scale and provide superb results? Connect with an expert from Global Response today to see how our Tunisian call center can help support your goals.
Still have questions? See some frequently asked questions about Tunisian call centers below, or feel free to connect directly with an expert from our team—we’d be happy to answer your questions about Tunisian call centers in general, or how they relate to your business needs.
The official language of Tunisia is Arabic, but most call centers in Tunisia employ English-speaking agents. Many agents may speak a third language as well, such as French, German, Italian or Spanish.
Tunisia’s infrastructure places a strong focus on data privacy and security. As Tunisian call centers are used to working with European and American businesses, data privacy and security regulations often align with US or European standards.
- contact center solutions
- customer service
- help desk support
- multilingual customer support
- multichannel / omnichannel solutions
- and more!