Delta shifting US calls away from South Africa

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by sobore, Jun 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/06/04/delta_shifting_us_calls_away_from_south_africa/

    Delta Air Lines Inc. says it will stop sending US calls to a call center in South Africa, as it continues to shift that work back to the United States.

    Starting July 1, calls about Delta promotions will go to a Delta facility in Dallas. On Aug. 1, general sales calls will go to various Delta call centers in the United States. Delta says the South African center will still handle some calls coming from outside of the United States. It also uses a call center in Jamaica.

    Delta has about 4,000 call center workers around the United States and says that number won’t change after calls shift away from South Africa.
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    So are the call volumes lower such that they can shift the work back without changing the number of employees or should we just expect longer hold times now?
     
  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Shifting calls back to the US...good (although SMS is already in the US anyway)
    Not upping staffing along with this...dubious.
     
  4. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Most of the Delta call centers in the US aren't exactly gems. Of course, part o fthe problem is Skyteam and partners can't come up with aligned booking classes. But training tends to be poor, how many times do I have to be told that "Vietnam Airlines isn't part of Skyteam anymore" or "we only partner with Air France"...?

    I do not have a problem with outsourced call centers as such. It's the level of investment in those call centers that is key. In any labor market you can get better or lower quality employees, you can create a culture that is service-oriented or where the objective is to get folks off the phone, ("I'm sorry, I am only allowed to do 3 award searches per call."), and you can provide enough training for yur employees -- or not.
     
  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Outsourced call centers are great, as long as they get the training and investment you mention and have a service-oriented culture. The other important requirement is an ability to communicate effectively - and this is where US-based call centers (in general) have an advantage - familiar accents, idiomatic expressions, and even cultural experiences go a long way. Calling in is a lot more enjoyable when the person on the other end of the line "loves it when a plan comes together" or similar.

    Priority 1 is of course having proper training (and culture/policies) in place, and having at least adequate communication capabilities (this is where for example Indian call centers, regardless of the quality and training of the employees, often fall short. Unfortunately the Indian accent doesn't tend to mesh well with US ears). Getting past that minimum, there's a lot to gain from being able to deal with someone with a somewhat similar background. When I get Chisholm, I'm talking with someone practically just down the road from my parents. I find that sort of familiarity comforting, plus the agents are generally quite good.

    Of course, I don't deal with call-centers nearly as much as I expect you do, but I get a lot of tangible benefits when dealing with good, US-based employees. I also expect that you have a lot more experience with the non-Medallion side of things booking travel for others.
     
  6. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Chisolm is outstanding, but they're the exception. I guess my point was 'don't get excited about insourcing' because Salt Lake City ain't Chisolm.

    Further, not all outsourced call centers are in India, as this thread shows (reference ending the South African centers). I almost always had great experiences with United's Manila call centers.

    And sometimes it's helpful to work with outsourced call centers, I don't think I've ever had an outsourced agent document a record when saying they wouldn't do something for me....
     

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