Global Telesales - Lufthansa's Cape Town Call Center.

South Africa ideally suited as a Call Centre Hub for Lufthansa in the European time zone.

 A Case–story by Editor Niels Kjellerup February 21st  2001. This is a story and not a study as I have not had the opportunity to actually inspect the Call Centre. Instead the article is based on information kindly provided me by Global TeleSales and Managing Director Roman Zynga; my own comments and conclusion are clearly marked as my opinions.

Short Interview with MD Roman Zynga (click here). Visit Global Telesales website here.

 Background : Global TeleSales is the first International outsource Call Centre operating successfully in Cape Town. Setup in May 1999 after a feasibility study and a project was completed in late 1998. Lufthansa, the German national airline, created this out-source company to complete its ‘follow-the-sun’ 24/365 phone channel strategy. My assumption is that Cape Town primarily handles calls out to Europe , being in the same time zone, and that the cost advantage is the main driver of this strategy.

 The purpose of the Call Centre is stated as twofold :

1)     Generate bookings and ticket sales for Lufthansa Germany and South Africa

2)     Provide out-source services for South African and European non-Lufthansa related organisations.

 Strategically Lufthansa has consolidated its 142 Call Centres since 1990 and in 1992 its German Call Centres were consolidated into a core centre in Kassel with overflow to the Call Centres in Dublin, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, Cape Town and Berlin (opened October 2000). Call numbers are currently increasing by 8% and phone channel ticket-revenue is growing 15% annually.

 The feasibility study identified 3 vital targets –

1)     Availability of German speaking Sales reps

2)     Suitable Telecommunication Infrastructure

3)     Experienced System integrators who could provide the hardware & software solution need for the Call Centre operations.

 Recruitment -  Cape Town and the region has a multilingual population group and recruitment of qualified Sales reps is satisfactory.

Telephony Infrastructure -

A 64 K satellite link provides instant access to the current network of Lufthansa Sales Centres around the world. Note – one of the major barriers to South Africa adopting a Call Centre Hub strategy is the lack of deregulation of the Telephony market ( Telkom is still a monopoly with non-competitive International phone rates ). Lufthansa has overcome this ‘high call tariff barrier’ by using its SITA Service provider who operates a worldwide network for airlines.

System Integrators – surprisingly South Africa has a very highly competitive vendor Industry which has expanded Internationally to both Europe and the Pacific. ( Amvia, Dimension Data & PQ Africa are the some of the main players).

 Operational Facts about Global TeleSales South Africa

Monthly Call volume has increase from 30,000 in May 1999 to currently 100,000. Average Handling Time (AHT) per call is 4 min 27 seconds.

Number of staff is 115 with 7 teams of app 10-12 sales reps.

Staff turnover is app 20%, and every second months a recruitment drive is initiated with new hires adding up to 40-50 yearly.

Staff training is done in house and last on average 7 weeks. Most staff will visit the Seeheim Training Academy in Germany – so we’re obviously talking about quite high training costs.

The Call Centre has 107 seats plus a 24 seat training facility.

The telephony platform is based on Lucent switches & the reservation and flight information is on-line from Germany.

No information provided on Sales revenue figures, nor cost per sales or conversion rates, which are key figures for an Airline Ticket Sales.

Global Telesales is located at Picbel Parkade & has a beautiful atrium roof, used by staff for R&R. (click here for photo's).

Outsource Customers -

 I have not been given any indication of how successful Global TeleSales has been in signing up non-Lufthansa clients… but my own research in Germany indicates that at least one major Car-hire company, a partner of Lufthansa, has signed on and is diverting  overflow calls from Germany to Cape Town. I’m sure that as cost figures projections become documented more German clients will sign up.


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