Platinum Africa International, an e-commerce enterprise involved in the Communication, Finance, Healthcare, Insurance and Lifestyle sectors, has reduced its annual marketing bill by more than 40 percent following the implementation of a call centre solution from Du Pont Telecoms.
Bob Lafite, commercial director of Platinum Africa International, which currently employs more than 650 people in South Africa and Brazil, says Du Pont is the only telecommunications company in South Africa able to supply the technology required by the organisation’s call centres.
“Du Pont is also globally competitive in terms of their pricing, and always has quick yet innovative solutions to our problems. These positive factors have translated to a significant saving on our marketing bill," he adds.
According to Du Pont CEO Graeme Victor, a key element of the solution implemented at Platinum Africa International is least cost routing (LCR).
“An analysis of Platinum Africa’s call centre operations – part of a technical survey we conduct at all clients – revealed at over 80% of its outgoing calls were made to a cell phone rather than to a Telkom landline. As everyone knows, landline-to-cell phone calls are expensive while ‘cell-to-cell’ calls are a lot cheaper. LCR takes advantage of this fact,” he explains.
“However, before we could recommend LCR as a solution for Platinum Africa, we had to check whether there was adequate bandwidth and accurate signal strength for the diverted GSM calls. A common problem with LCR is that the quality of the calls that are rerouted over the GSM network is questionable, adversely affecting the business’s reputation and productivity.”
Having established that the GSM network that would be used by Platinum Africa was of an acceptable quality, Du Pont analyzed the company’s full spectrum of telephone bills – from Telkom as well as from the different network operators. This allowed a solution to be tailored that would ensure the most cost-effective routing of calls.
Du Pont also determined the volume of calls that would be handled by the Platinum Africa, as well as the number that would be subjected to LCR, ensuring that the optimum number of LCR routers would be installed. The routers divert all outgoing calls to mobile numbers away from the Telkom network to a cellular network.
“It’s essential that the correct number of routers is installed. Each router can handle a defined number of calls. If too few routers are installed, the system could either route excess calls over the Telkom system – defeating the purpose of LCR – or it will simply block all outgoing calls to cell phones.
"Because the LCR contract involves paying a monthly rental fee for each installed router, installing too many routers will cut down on the savings the company should experience as the company will be paying for units and minutes it doesn’t need,” Victor says.
After installing the LCR system, Du Pont retains the responsibility for maintaining the routers to ensure they continue to operate correctly.
“If a router’s performance is not monitored, it could take months of high bills before the problem is picked up,” he adds.
“In addition we provide Platinum Africa with a regular report that highlights the cost per call via the least cost router verses the cost that would have been incurred should that call have been made via Telkom.
“We also continually search for ways in which to further optimise the performance of the company’s call centre operation,” Victor adds.