About Us

Better Experiences

Our Vision is to be the first truly digital outsourcer with global capability, providing multi-lingual, omni-channel customer experiences through the deployment of world class expertise and cutting-edge technology to create the right experiences for our people.

As experts in service excellence, we set the standards for global customer satisfaction, client delight and employee engagement.

Merchants is a leading customer management partner specialising in business process outsourcing (BPO) that delivers customer experience and customer interactions. We believe that people matter, so we focus on using the right technology to create the right experience for people.

We have been creating and managing contact centre operations around the world to blue chip clients since 1981. Our services and solutions are built on tried and trusted models, systems and processes that are based on best practice standards in the contact centre industry.

We are passionate about people. Our ability to attract the best talent, coupled with our rich history of success and innovation across different industries around the world, is what differentiates us from our competitors.

People Matter

Our success is built on our people and we’re proud that we’ve helped change the lives of thousands of people through job creation and sustainable career growth. We recruit people with a passion for great service and a drive to succeed.

Our facilities are innovative and set the world standard for clever design, to ensure our people are comfortable and happy. We care about our people and we understand that customer care environments can be stressful, which is why we have break rooms, noise cancelling initiatives and in-depth training and mentoring to grow our people to be the best in the business.

We’ve grown our customer service capabilities from simple inbound voice to multi-channel customer journeys that include outbound calling to drive sales, and technical client service through our service desk. Our BPO (business process outsourcing) is the smart way to ensure technology helps put certain tasks on autopilot while our people focus on their talent and energy on ensuring the client has the right experiences so that you can focus on your core offering.

A promise of excellence

We listen. To understand your needs, and to deliver on our high-quality service standards, we treat your business as if it was our own. Customer listening, communication and quality management come standard with every engagement you have with our team, and we provide workforce management, quality and management information to help you make better business decisions.

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History And Milestones

Merchants was born in 1981 in the United Kingdom and was the first private UK telemarketing company. We were the first to publish The Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report in 1997. We are the pioneers in the Contact Centre industry and our experience lies in designing, building and operating Contact Centres around the world on behalf of blue-chip clients. We’ve broadened our geographic reach and expertise by acquiring Millennium 1 Solutions in Canada.

Watch our timeline video to understand us better.

Our Business Partners

We are wholly owned by Dimension Data – a global systems integrator (SI) and Managed Services Solutions provider, and NTT – one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the world.

Dimension Data

In Middle East and Africa, Dimension Data is a $1,3 billion African born systems integrator and managed services provider that designs, manages, and optimises today’s evolving technology environments to enable its clients to leverage data in a digital age.

Founded in 1983, and headquartered in Johannesburg, we are a proud member of the NTT Group, one of the world’s leading information communication technology (ICT) companies, comprising a group of global technology companies.

Employing over 15 000 employees across 15 countries on three continents, we invest heavily in innovation to bring together the world’s best technologies, from consulting, technical and support services to a fully managed service, to our global client base.

From 1 July 2019, Dimension Data’s global business is now fully integrated with NTT Communications, NTT Security and 25 other companies to form a new global operating company, branded NTT. In Middle East and Africa, Dimension Data remains an independently branded affiliate of the NTT Group and retains the Dimension Data brand.

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NTT

NTT Ltd. is a leading global technology services company bringing together 28 brands including NTTCommunications, Dimension Data and NTT Security. We partner with organizations around the world to shape and achieve outcomes through intelligent technology solutions. For us, intelligent means data driven, connected, digital, and secure. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 40,000 people in a diverse and dynamic workplace that spans 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries. Together we enable the connected future.

Visit us at our new website www.hello.global.ntt.

Meet our leadership team

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George Todd

Chief Executive Officer

With more than two decades of customer management experience gained across a variety of industries. George has a clear vision for growth. Since taking over the reins of the Merchants business 6 years ago, George has led an unprecedented period of success and expansion in the business, including the acquisition of the M1S business in Canada and the Philippines. As CEO of the Merchants Group, George is passionate about Merchants’ people and culture and ensuring that the technology we use serves people, not the other way around.

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Hilton Michels

Managing Director, MyCalling

As the Managing Director of MyCalling, Hilton is a True Entrepreneur at heart having founded and built MyCalling among other successful businesses, Hilton brings with him experience encompassing BPO, FinTech, Financial Services, Digital and Direct marketing and Customer Experience Management.

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Darren Arnold

Chief Operating Officer

Darren was appointed as Chief Operating Officer at Merchants in April 2018. His dynamic mix of strategic consulting expertise and operational understanding comes off the back of 20 years’ customer management experience across a broad range of industries, as well as customer management and strategic consulting experience in the UK, Middle East, US and Africa.

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Steven Taylor

Chief Financial Officer

An entrepreneur at heart, Steven Taylor is the Group Chief Financial Officer at Merchants Group with over eighteen years’ experience in the BPO, consulting and medical industries in South Africa and the UK. Qualified as a chartered accountant, Steven is a financial expert. But it is his insights into broader operational and commercial improvements that make him a highly valued member of the team.

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Laurent Leclerq

Chief Technology Officer

In 1999 he joined as Programme Manager, was appointed as Group CIO in 2007, where he was instrumental in establishing the framework behind what we now know as ‘Simplify to Accelerate’. In 2011 Laurent joined the MEA region as CIO and drove IT service synergies across all Dimension Data brands within South Africa. He then spearheaded the turnaround of the Advanced Infrastructure business (formerly Plessey) as CEO, before returning to his current role of CIO for MEA. Laurent epitomises the Merchants culture of service leadership and reflects our passion for our people.

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Mathew Conn

Chief Revenue Officer

His significant experience managing large operations to deliver award winning customer service spans across 20 years including leading Australia’s second largest ISP to deliver operations that provided industry leading and best practice customer experience. Mat’s experience in outsourcing to regions including Asia Pacific, India, Americas and South Africa in addition to his experience consulting on the impacts of digital solutions on operations and customer experience helps provide Merchants clients with a clear direction on the ultimate solution for their business.

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Donna McNicol

Chief People Officer

Donna has over 20 years’ experience in senior-executive Human Resources positions in the contact centre and Telecommunications sectors. She has extensive experience in executive and leadership succession planning and wellness programs and holds the CHRE designation.

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Tom Band

Chief Administrative Officer NA & PHL

Tom is a highly respected and recognized leader within the BPO and Services industry, with over 25 years of leadership experience that is deeply rooted in the telecom and financial services sectors.

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Zain Patel

Managing Director S.A.

Zain aims to build valuable partnerships with our clients and provide opportunities for our people. This purpose allows us to develop our talent pool and grow our South African business. Within the contact centre environment, the aim is to develop bespoke approaches for businesses across various industries, improving on existing processes to retain their customer and client relationships in a sustainable manner.

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Zain Patel

Managing Director S.A.

Zain aims to build valuable partnerships with our clients and provide opportunities for our people. This purpose allows us to develop our talent pool and grow our South African business. Within the contact centre environment, the aim is to develop bespoke approaches for businesses across various industries, improving on existing processes to retain their customer and client relationships in a sustainable manner.

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Sandra Galer

Operations Director

As the Service Desk Director for Merchants, Sandra’s broad operational expertise combined with an analytical mind enables her to offer unique insights and practical solutions to clients that need to optimise customer service to achieve their goals for growth.

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Gerald Terblanche

Operations Director

Gerald’s experience within large-scale global and locally based captive and BPO operations across diverse industry sectors allows him to identify and execute opportunities for refinement in operational performance, optimise delivery and ensure a high rate of return for our clients and at the same time; enhanced service experiences for customers who interacts with the multitude of interaction points across these enterprises.

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Chris Blignaut

Commercial Optimisation

Originally from a financial services background, Chris has been a valuable and integral part of the Finance Team at Merchants, for the past 7 years. He has a B.com from the University of Pretoria. His focus spanned across leadership, finance, commercial, systems and reporting. Chris has been instrumental in his commercial insight and planning on various accounts in his tenure. He has an ability to stretch his thinking beyond his current capability and with his commercial and financial understanding, combined with his holistic thinking, enjoys improving and challenge current ways of work.

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Devendra Govender

Principal Commercial Optimisation Specialist

Deven has been with Merchants over the past 15 years. His experience and skill sets are primarily within the Telecommunications, Retail, Aviation, and ISP sectors. Deven has fulfilled many Roles within Merchants over the years including Key Account Management, MI Management and Support Services Management. Deven thus has a diverse skill set which strengthens his operational management capability.

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Sydwell Shikweni

Transformation Director

Sydwell champions and drives the achievement of the transformation journey for Merchants by providing guidance and direction to key stakeholders on the implementation of initiatives that focus on improving the B-BBEE scorecard, including Corporate Social Investment, Employment Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

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Tom Band

Chief Executive Officer

Tom is a highly respected and recognized leader within the BPO and Services industry, with over 25 years of leadership experience that is deeply rooted in the telecom and financial services sectors.

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Eddy Barwick

Vice President, Contact Centre Operations, Millennium 1 Solutions, Merchants Group

Eddy has over 20 years senior leadership experience in the Contact Centre industry within Financial Services, Credit Card, Risk Control, Retail/eCommerce, and Sales and Service.

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Leslie MacDonald

Vice President of Credit Card Services

Leslie has over 20 years’ experience in the payments industry supporting consumers, businesses and financial institutions. Her breadth of experience includes merchant payments & processing, retail payment products and loyalty & reward.

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Jit Lahiry

Chief Legal Officer

Jit is an experienced Corporate Lawyer with over 11 years of experience, private practice and in-house in corporate / commercial, IT, securities and mergers and acquisitions. Jit ably provides advice on controlling risks for the organization in balance with the need for efficient process.