OUTSOURCIABLOG-Par Youssef Chraibi-


Le 25/07/2013 



Master of Morocco's outsourcing industry 

Youssef Chraibi's young problem-solvers helped Outsourcia win favour with french clients, writes Borzou Daragahi.


Outsourcia, the company he co-founded, has also distinguished itself despite setting up in a crowded business environment where the entry costs are minimal. In 10 years, the outsourcing group has grown from scratch to a business with 600 employees in Africa and Europe and $14.6m in annual revenue.
Clients include Carrefour, Total and Renault, as well as the number two Moroccan mobile carrier, Meditel. Even in 2010, at the height of the financial storm, Outsourcia purchased Ascom, a call-centre operator based just outside Paris, in a rare instance of a north African company swallowing up a European business.
“It has been hard work but we had a good team from the beginning,” says the softly spoken 36- year-old Moroccan. “We have a central management committee of young but very talented people and this is one of our main strengths.” He says one reason Outsourcia has continued to win business from Europe is that it treats even junior employees as valued specialists and potential leaders.
Thanks to market reforms initiated about 15 years ago, Morocco is considered more business- friendly than other countries in the region. The corridor between Casablanca and Rabat is home to hundreds of companies, employing
about 55,000 people, providing call-centre and other outsourcing services to European companies, and forming a north African version of India’s Hyderabad for the francophone world.
But as the financial crisis has gripped Europe, this nascent sector has come under threat. Growth in Morocco’s outsourcing sector has slowed from 17 per cent in 2010 to 10 per cent in 2012 and a projected 5 per cent this year. Last summer Mr Chraibi and other Moroccan outsourcing executives prevailed against a French government plan to scale down overseas call-centre operations to bring jobs back home from Morocco.
All along, Outsourcia’s strategy has been to emphasise the quality of its outsourcing work rather than the price. Despite the belt- tightening mood of most clients, Mr Chraibi boasts that he tells them his is not the cheapest shop in town.
“We have a different approach to the market,” he says, sipping a cool drink. “We can do it for half the price of [a supplier in] France, but we are not the cheapest in Morocco. We are doing offshore outsourcing in terms of value and value-creation for our clients and for the customers of our clients.”
Mr Chraibi began his business career while still in school at the prestigious HEC Paris. There, in the late 1990s, he and a fellow student set up Marketo, a business-to-business online platform designed to connect buyers and sellers of small and medium-sized enterprises. They sold it to Vivendi, the French media conglomerate, in 2001 for an undisclosed sum.
Then, while working at the French telecommunications company Orange, Mr Chraibi teamed up with his colleague Franck Polizzi to set up Outsourcia in 2003 with about €100,000 in seed money from their own savings. Mr Polizzi, founder of a small telecoms company that had been bought by Orange, knew the call-centre business, and Mr Chraibi specialised in telecoms. As one of the first call-centre ventures in Morocco, they established a brand and wooed clientele before others piled in.
Outsourcia has also taken care not to hitch itself to a single sector, let alone a single client. "We have 50 clients, so it means 50 small operations," Mr Chraibi says. "But also means that there is no dependence on one". 
Outsourcia's emplyees soon progressed beyons simply fielding complaints and inquiries to developing close and continuing relationship with the clients. 
"Many companies in Frace prefer to work with a company like ours and not a company that is one of the biggest players because we have this consulting approach. For instance, we created a "laboratory" offering a client tailor-made test-and-learn platforms that give it the opportunity to test new cistomer-relations management approaches," he explains. "After analysing the results we made recommendations on whether the new approaches (worked), and whether to do it insourced ou outsourced, onshore or offshore."
Two years ago Outsourcia launched a social media service to help clients deal with customers via Facebook and Twitter. "We were the first ones in Morocco to say social media is a new channel for customer relationship management," he says.
A typical OUtsourcia specialist employee is a problem-solver who manages cases for multiple clients across multiple platforms, he says.
Somme of the web-savvy men and women assigned to this social media work have been hired through Outsourcia's own recruitment and training agency, Offshore Academy. The agency manages a database of 30,000 CVs that is constantly updates, says Mr Chraibbi. "Recruitment of young talent today is one of our core businesses. When we hire someone, we are maintly focused on these kinds of capabilities - autonomy, creativity, integrity and flexibility."
Trainees at the academy in Casablanca even include employees of competitors, who need to learn to handle claims, write proper emails or soothe irate callers. 
Mr Chraibi acknowledges that the management ethos and practices at Outsourcia feel more American than French. senior managers are affered partnerships and equity stakes in the company - there are now several partners in the business - so long as they stay for five years. Rather than punch the clock after eight hours, many stay longer.

Mr Chraibi says he works at least 60 hours a week. 


The main headquarters occupy four floors in a trendy sector of central Casablanca, where smartly dressed men and women, mostly under 30, are drinking coffee at their desks as they operate phones and computers. Its offices near Paris are decorated with signs emblazoned with catchphrases such as "efficiency", "active listening" and "conviction". 

Although most of Outsourcia's clients are French business, it also sells outsourcing to Moroccan clients, wich now represent about 15 per cent of its revenues. The persisting economic downturn in Europe, and is looking at fast - growing francophone sub-Saharan African countries.


"That could be really interesting, to do business in a low-cost country in Africa," he says. 


Sources : Financial Times - par Borzou Daragahi - le 23 juillet 2013


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Youssef Chraibi
Président Fondateur du groupe Outsourcia

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