Opinion: Call Centers in Sierra Leone

Imagine that the next time you call customer service you catch a little whiff of something that sounds familiar in the background. Krio. You’re surprised. You look around you to see if it’s perhaps someone near you that said something even though you know that it’s not. You clear your throat and dare to ask, “Am I talking to someone in Sierra Leone”? The other person on the phone a pleasant sounding young woman says yes indeed. You’re happy and excited and for the next three minutes you two talk about the fact that you’re from Sierra Leone as well!

Sounds like a dream? Well it doesn’t have to be. After all one of the key inputs for a customer service center we already have in Sierra Leone. That is people. In Sierra Leone where youth unemployment is high, customer service centers can certainly help alleviate this unemployment. English is a major language in the world and educated Sierra Leoneans should be able to assist customers from US, England and other English speaking countries, especially where coaching and standard operating practices and scripts are involved. 

Additionally Sierra Leoneans are friendly and patient (patience being one of the acquired benefits of living in a country where there is corruption and a lot of red tape). Lastly if you think about the infrastructure that is needed for a call center, we can certainly find office space to house these employees. The phone, headset and internet technology that is needed can also certainly be procured if it doesn’t already exist in Sierra Leone.

There has been many call centers reported in Africa in countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Congo, Mali, and Benin to name a few. These countries are stealing business from India. Call centers created a lot of job opportunities in India, so why not Sierra Leone? 

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