Lufthansa InTouch, the customer service network of the Lufthansa Group, has marked a 20-year milestone in South Africa.
Acting as a central touchpoint between airlines, passengers and aviation businesses, the Cape Town office was one of the first international business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in SA.
Tobias Vögtlin, CEO for Lufthansa InTouch and head of customer servicing operations for the Lufthansa Group, says South Africa’s business growth has not been without its challenges.
“What has kept us rooted here and given us an opportunity to thrive is that Cape Town has an enormous pool of qualified professional talent. The country’s pricing is competitive, it’s in the same time zone as Europe, and there are cultural similarities along with a solid telecommunication infrastructure,” he says.
BPO is a business practice in which one organisation hires another company to perform a task that the hiring organisation requires for its own business to operate successfully.
The Western Cape’s BPO sector has cornered just over 60% of the country’s international BPO market share, with over 54 000 people employed. Travel, after financial services, retail and telecoms, makes up the fourth-largest component of BPO clients.
Lufthansa InTouch Cape Town operates a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week service centre, employing more than 260 Customer Service Consultants in its local office. They offer services in English, French, German, Swiss German, Dutch and Hebrew. It’s part of a seven-centre, seven-country international network, which is home to over 2 000 travel consultants, offering 200 services in more than 30 languages. They take care of all requests by passengers flying with the Lufthansa Group airlines.
“We remain highly positive about and committed to our operations in South Africa”, says Vögtlin. “Our aim is to increase our staff complement by a further 20% in the next five years, and to branch out and work with more airlines that would like to outsource their customer service operations. We hope that this, along with our philosophy of delivering world-class outcomes, will play a meaningful role in South Africa’s socioeconomic rebound.”