DHL centralises regional sales operation in Jamaica
Neville Graham, Business Reporter
Courier company DHL has consolidated its regional sales operation in Jamaica under a new telesales centre which went live on Monday.
From its base in New Kingston, a team of 20 agents will sell the services of the courier company in 26 English-speaking markets across the Caribbean, as well as handle customer queries emanating from any country within the service area.
The DHL country manager for Jamaica, Donovan James, is also commercial director with oversight of 30 regional markets; however, the telesales operation does not include French- and Spanish-speaking countries.
DHL aims to grow what already appears to be a dominant market share across the region. It claims 49 per cent of the market, while FedEx is said to have 42 per cent and the rest is shared by small players.
The sales team in Jamaica is expected to reach out directly to businesses and other potential customers with pitches on DHL's services, as it positions to tap business from what it sees as rising e-commerce activity in segments that go beyond documents and packages.
"We've seen a lot of new business development" but "we're not sure just how quickly, how big the market is gonna grow," said the managing director for DHL Express Caribbean, Reiner Wolfs.
"There are a lot of additional opportunities coming for courier companies out of e-commerce, especially for retailers that will offer free shipping, for example, into the US but not beyond those borders -- we can provide some solutions from those locations to the Caribbean," Wolfs said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner.
He adds that DHL's business in the Caribbean has been characterised by inbound traffic, or imports, but that they are seeing a definite shift to more than just business documents and packages on the outbound side.
"We've seen some development as well where high-tech companies come and consolidate parts and send them out again. We've also seen it in the medical field where companies make very high-end lenses and export them globally," said Wolfs.
DHL is targeting low double-digit growth in business for 2015 on the back of "high double-digit" growth in 2014, but pressed for specific numbers, neither Wolfs nor James would speak to the precise targets.
DHL has invested $30 million in the 20-seat telesales centre, which has bumped the DHL country workforce from 73 to 93. With the consolidation, DHL has eliminated about 14 sales positions across the 26 markets. Previously, the major DHL Caribbean markets had two to three operators, said the courier company's regional head.
"The reason we picked Jamaica is because we have access to a well -educated workforce here and a strong management team, so having the centre in this location just makes good business sense," said Wolfs.
"We also discovered that there is a good work ethic here and that makes it very important for us."
Under the centralised telesales structure, the team of 20 comprises 16 telesales agents; two lead qualifiers, whose job is converting business information and tips into usable business intelligence; an analyst to convert the business intelligence to case management; and a sales supervisor. Each of the 26 countries will be served by two specially designated team members who, in turn, will each have at least two countries under their portfolio.
James said that as it relates to Jamaica, the telesales operation was really another channel aimed at expanding market share with an eye on small businesses.
"We will be targeting new business in the SME sector. When that client grows sufficiently, then we turn them over to our relationship channel that always handles the medium- to high-value businesses," the country manager said.