Albania – The Next Hot Outsourcing Destination?
Sara Call Center
Derek Gallimore talks with Armando Muca, co-founder and CEO of Sara Call Center. Seated in Albania, Sara Call Center provides optimized customer service and lead generation solutions to global companies.
Albania is one of the rising destinations for businesses in terms of costs and quality services. In this episode, Derek and Armando will take a look at Albania as an outsourcing destination, its strengths, and competitive edge in providing outsourced functions.
A short introduction to Albania
The OA podcast features Armando Luca, co-founder of Sara Call Center, a BPO company based in Albania.
Located in the heart of Europe, Albania is a tiny country located east of Italy and north of Greece. Per Armando, out of 20 million Albanians around the world, only 3 million live within the country while the rest live overseas.
Being a former communist country, a lot of Albanians sought new opportunities after its government fell in the ‘90s. Armando explained that the majority of the citizens during communism “had to work for the [communist] party” and a few were allowed to go to college.
Nowadays, according to him, meeting an Albanian that speaks up to four languages “is very common. This is since they are required to learn “at least two foreign languages” so they can “interact with the world.”
The massive cultural influence in the country came from English-speaking countries, especially the US. The citizens have even adapted the American accent from their relatives that live there, making it easier for them to practice their English.
Doing business in the country
Per Armando, the Albanian government prioritized making Albania a business destination.
The country boasts its highly-skilled, multilingual employees and “easy” process in setting up a company that “makes business opportunities thrive.”
As a result, foreign investments are booming in different industries, especially in tourism. Armando said the country “doubled its number of tourists” every year “in less than a decade,” even higher than its neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, its capital Tirana is a “great destination for business and [living].” People can “have an above-average standard of living” in the city with only 600 Euros a month.
Aside from this, Albania became “the destination for digital nomads” especially during the pandemic. Unlike its European neighbors, the country “did not close its borders,” opening its doors to digital nomads while implementing preventive measures against COVID.
Albania as an outsourcing destination
Armando explained that Albania is “a new entry to the BPO industry” with its first call centers established 15 years ago. However, the outsourcing scene in the country ”has been exploding” for years now.
The country is most known for providing customer service for European companies. The majority of their clients (85%) are Italian companies.
Per Armando, there are 800 call centers in Tirana alone with around 12% of the capital’s population (180,000) as workers. Most of these call centers are known brands such as Teleperformance.
He described the country’s condition as being “at a switching point” in terms of its roles. Five years ago, most call centers in Albania use European languages such as Italian, French, and German while only 10% operate in English. These English-speaking providers led the development of the industry further.
Like in top offshoring destinations, Albanians slowly “realized the benefits of working in [call centers].” They realized they could earn “double of what employees get in other industries.”
Also, they get to have better job security since the government is “strict on how [call centers] treat their employees.”
About Sara Call Center
Sara Call Center started as “a small project” 10 years ago. Being in the BPO industry since 18, Armando and his business partner decided to build their own business and use their industry expertise.
The company was named after Armando’s business partner’s daughter named Sara. Per Armando, they want to apply the “family touch” into the business, taking care of their clients “the way [they] take care of Sara.”
Sara Call Center ensures to “take good care of [their client’s] interest, help [them] make money, and [provide] good service.”
How Sara Call Center presents outsourcing to their clients
Armando sees outsourcing as “a great opportunity and [great] risk at the same time.” While outsourcing can make a business thrive, outsourcing done wrong “can make [a] business suffer.”
This is why he recommends companies know what they want to delegate before integrating outsourcing. To his experience, a lot of companies that reached out to him faced this challenge similarly.
Sara Call Center usually “takes on a project and develops it” to give more value to their offerings. According to Armando, businesses making money have the chance to entrust more of their functions to outsourcing providers.
The company thinks of ways to solve the problems their clients face. For instance, their lead generation functions usually start with utilizing social media to attract prospects.
Once gathered, they will “switch to text messaging” then to final calls and appointment-setting once a lead shows interest. This approach usually works for their clients instead of having a set lead list to call.
Interested parties can reach out to Armando and Sara Call Center through their website: https://saracallcenter.net/.