Aug 30, 2011
Amazon opens new customer service centre in Cape TownBack
Cape Town|Africa|Amazon|Africa|Germany|South Africa|United Kingdom|Wembley Two Building|Christmas|Building|Retail Giant|Service|Services|Helen Zille|Marc Onetto
© Reuse this
The centre, in the Wembley Two building in the Gardens area, would employ about 1 400 people by the end of next year, with 400 of these positions seasonal, senior VP for customer service Marc Onetto said this week.
The customer service operation was established during 2010 and built up to a staff complement of 250 agents in temporary facilities in the Cape Town city centre until suitable permanent premises were found in Wembley Two. Amazon now holds five of the six floors of the new building.
The Cape Town customer service centre currently supports customers buying from the amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.de websites, which primarily cover the North American, UK and German markets.
South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, offered specific advantages for Amazon in setting up a customer service centre, Onetto said.
Key among these was the geographical location. He explained that weather could often disrupt Amazon customer service centres during the Northern Hemisphere winter, and so having a customer service centre in the Southern Hemisphere, especially during the peak Christmas season, is advantageous. The longitude of South Africa provides a time zone advantage and assists in Amazon being able to provide a 24-hour global customer service.
Onetto said that the quality of the South African staff was another key consideration. “When we offer customer service we make it from places where people are nice! We found that in South Africa,” he said.
Cape Town has been able to offer a unique language advantage to Amazon in terms of customer service. “Beyond just the people being nice to our customers there is the fact that there is a diverse culture here and we were able to find a lot of German speakers, which allowed us to offer customer service for Germany.”
Amazon is already operating a technical development centre in Cape Town. Over the past five years, this portion of the Cape Town business has grown to 50 development engineers and the company is now looking to expand the team even further, with talented computer scientsts to work on the ‘cloud computing’ aspect of Amazon’s business.
Onetto said that both the national and Western Cape governments have provided support for the establishment of the Amazon offices in Cape Town, assisting with obtaining the right authorisation and ensuring quality for the telecommunication service requirements.
Opening the new customer services centre jointly with Onetto, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said she was pleased to hear that Amazon has had a positive experience with the government structures, especially as her provincial government was putting special effort into reducing the barriers to entry for new businesses into the province.
“It warms me so much to hear the real reason you chose to be here was because of the service orientation, warmth and customer centricity of our people . . . if we as a culture get that right there is no limit to the number of major companies we can attract to our magnificent country as a whole,” said Zille.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.