Derby’s Easter Surprise for Sick Kids

There was an unexpected bonus for the young patients in Derby Infirmary when a team from the city's fast-growing customer experience company Webhelp UK turned up to give out some Easter Eggs to youngsters unfortunately spending their Easter in hospital.

The company who now employ over 1200 staff in their Pride Park operation are determined to make a positive impact in the Derby area and have elected a team of Engagement Ambassadors to forge positive links within the community.

The hospital visit was a perfect opportunity to reach out, although the team caused a bit of disruption in the Puffin Ward when their arrival, laden down with Easter eggs, coincided with lunch being served.

Next stop with the children's A and E where, thankfully, there were not too many youngsters waiting for treatment - but enough to appreciate the gesture.

"I'm really glad we managed to do this over Easter," said Abigail Matemazano, who headed up the team. "The eggs seemed to be very well received and we are looking forward to having more interaction with the Derby community."

Kerry Brady, Events and Community Fundraiser at the infirmary was full of praise for the gesture.

"I'd like to thank the Webhelp UK team for their visit and the Easter egg donation. It was nice of them to think of others at this time of the year. "

Webhelp UK Derby Volunteers


Glasgow makes a good call

The city is a hub that provides crucial information to customers of major organisations, says the Herald's Maggie Stanfield

This article by Maggie Stanfield was published in The Business Herald on 12th March, 2013.

FROM universities to banks, mobile phone companies to pet food providers, customer care services operations have become vital. Indeed, virtually every enterprise has an associated group of people answering calls about their products and services.

The global body for professional accountants, ACCA, (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) provides contact services for its entire global operation in 170 countries from its Glasgow centre. Raymond Jack is Executive Director for Finance and Operations at ACCA. "Our team of between four and five hundred people work with both our members and our students," he says. "Say a student in Shanghai wants to sit the next round of exams in June but isn't sure if he is eligible or wants more information about the exam centre and dates. Our staff will be able to explain the criteria applicable in the student's home country and to help him register correctly.

"Our staff need detailed knowledge of the ACCA Qualification and the exemptions available to prospective students holding a vast number of qualifications from around the world. This enables those answering calls and emails to provide first-hand information or be able to refer to a colleague for a rapid follow up." Behind the frontline service lies a complex IT infrastructure that ACCA has developed with its partners.

The technology has to take into account the logistics of different exam locations and different nomenclature around the world. For computer-based examinations provision has to be made to make sure students can't tap into answers or see what others are writing. The integrity of the process cannot be compromised. "Because we are constantly in close contact with the employers of finance professionals, we can help them to find the people they want in the right location," adds Jack. "Ideally, we want to be the preferred provider for employers seeking to recruit accountancy students. 

We can provide a bespoke offering to that individual employer on the one hand and we make sure that the mechanisms for recruiting those students is through a global ACCA qualification that is recognised everywhere. "With a global membership of 154,000 and 432,000 students, ACCA is uniquely placed to recruit and train new students around the world. We have strong leadership around different subject areas, a wide range of resources at our disposal and we can draw on solutions for particular markets who may not have that global expertise." Whether someone makes contact by email, text , on the desktop computer doesn't matter.

An efficient call services provider such as ACCA operates right across the available platforms. "We need to be in the vanguard of technology," says Jack. "We are spearheading that from here in Scotland, working with a range of partners. We are aspiring to offer exams and to mark digitally in locations around the globe, maintaining the exam integrity and security. "We already use British Council facilities a lot of locations, working with partners in digital mobile expertise who can provide the technology in the exam room. It's a big challenge to deliver examinations across all those different locations and the different nomenclature while making sure that all of the quality control checks are applied."

Why has ACCA selected to site its shared services centre in Glasgow? Historically, ACCA has always had a strong platform in Glasgow, especially when we saw rapid growth towards the end of the 1990s and into 2000," says Jack. "We had the office space, a regularly available talent pool and this was the natural place to extend. "We have potential growth room here in order to fulfil our strategy. We don't see either getting the right people or having the space as a problem in Glasgow. The strategy is, as an organisation, to go into markets that relate very closely to developing economies where there is a requirement – key growth

Africa, Russia and China where markets are at different stages of development." The market is growing all the time. Last month saw 6000 employees at Webhelp UK learning they were now working for French group, Webhelp. In a deal worth £77 million, the acquisition brings clear advantages to both partners.

David Turner, who has been Chief Executive at Webhelp UK for five years, continues in post. "The acquisition brings us a whole new input," he says. "There are a lot of synergies and potential for growth. Webhelp set out working online and added call centres later. We have a growing shared services market in the UK and we want a more global footprint while Webhelp has an exclusively French market that it would like to expand."

 

When Turner joined Webhelp UK, he took a careful look at the offering. Convinced that it was time to move away from a commoditised offering to something far more extensive, he began to change the nature of the business. While clients like T-Mobile moved their customer services to the Philippines to save on costs, Turner thought differently.

"I was looking at how we could provide outstanding customer care and I found the clue in our Vodaphone account," he says. "I put in time really looking at the analytics, finding out where the calls were coming from, what people were looking for, and bringing that information back to Vodafone.

The Customer Service Director said because we were engaging directly with customers, our people better understood their needs than the company did. "Scotland has always had a great reputation for call centre skills. Our people have moved on and become experienced advocates but the reputation hasn't changed because the Scottish psyche has always been to have an honest, upfront conversation with the customer. All the research shows a high majority of customers regard the conversations they've had as being trustworthy and feel the people they talk to are prepared to go the extra mile to find a solution." At the Customer Contact Association (CCA) in Glasgow, Chief Executive Anne Marie Forsyth, is well aware of the shift in call centre culture. 

She said: "There has been a lot going on and our outsourcing group is looking at growth and opportunities, especially in the public sector. "Our latest research shows there are around 90,000 people in Scotland employed in customer services centres, about 31,000 of them in the Glasgow area. A lot are outsourced while others, like Esure and Scottish Power, operate in-house. The culture has changed and providers are getting bigger so as to provide more. "Big operators like US-based Teleperformance, a worldwide leading provider of call centre operations, with 135,000 employees across 260 contact centres in 49 countries, are well aware that the business model has changed."

This article by Maggie Stanfield was published in The Business Herald on 12th March, 2013.


Customer Experience Innovators – Webhelp UK Understand The Art of TUPE

Harry Hogg, Webhelp UK Director of HR explains the Core Elements of a Successful TUPE

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, known informally as TUPE, is the United Kingdom's implementation of the European Union Business Transfers Directive.  It is an important part of UK labour law, designed to protect employees whose business or work is being transferred to another business.

Historically, TUPE occurs when a business transaction takes place leading to the movement of work.  In our industry TUPE tends to be at play whenever work is moved between a client and a supplier and vice versa , clearly TUPE becomes prevalent where we are acquiring other businesses as part of our M&A strategy.  Overall TUPE is often at the heart of any growth initiatives the business is involved in, and is a regular occurrence in the outsourcing arena.

The fundamental concept of TUPE regulations is to protect employees as they transfer into or out of our business and one of the overarching principles is that the employee’s contractual terms are protected.  Webhelp UK ensure that meticulous due diligence is conducted in the very early stages of any transaction allowing the scoping of the transfer and the identification of any measures we would anticipate having to make.

One of the key initial considerations will be to identify any individuals whose role is to be transferred under TUPE.  There are rules that help define those individuals who are to be transferred as a result of the movement in work. Delivering clear, open and honest two way communications with staff throughout the consultation process and as early as possible is essential, with both the transferee and the transferor getting involved in that process wherever possible.

Often organisations concentrate understandably on the legal and technical issues at play in a TUPE transfer.
In our experience, whilst this is clearly very important, it’s equally critical that the organisation shares its company vision and values to give people a sense of belonging and direction – embedding our business culture as soon as possible.  At the end of the day, this is about making people feel comfortable, giving them a sense of belonging and ensuring they feel welcomed into our business as quickly as possible.

Where we are moving business into Webhelp UK, we will typically engage with the existing employer throughout all stages of the process.  We of course have the benefit of our standard methodologies which we have developed over the last decade which ensure legal, HR and Operational teams engage at all the right points in the process.  Further details may be required to consider, for instance, home workers, whether they are legally defined as workers or employees, and the legal implications on TUPE.

In the early stages, an important feature of the initial consultation setup is the nomination of employee representatives who will play a crucial role in the process.  In our experience, it’s important that the representatives fully understand the importance of the role they will play throughout the consultation process.  Ultimately they are both the voice of the employees and the people responsible for delivering very important messages arising from the consultation process itself.

When we transfer people into our business, one of the important pre-transfer obligations is the timely delivery of a measures letter, clearly outlining any measures (amendments) we anticipate having to make as a consequence, for example, changes in the work content that the employees are expected to carry out.

Webhelp UK is particularly experienced in TUPE situations, not just in the technical challenges they can present but also the human element in a process like this.  Within the UK there is much case law that suggests that TUPE regulations have been either not entirely understood or misinterpreted to some degree.  I would strongly advise, as the law surrounding TUPE is so complex, that having access to seasoned experienced subject matter experts is a must.

Another piece of guidance is for organisations to always approach TUPE with confidence.  There will always be complexities in TUPE as no two situations are the same, but a confident approach and a “can do “attitude when leading employees through an unsettling time will go a long way to ensure your people are happy and the process in itself is a success.  As much as anything, it’s about ensuring that you do exactly what you said you were going to do.

Webhelp UK is people focused – the happiness and success of our people is reflected in our business – an investment in our people is an investment in our future.”

Harry Hogg - HR Director
Webhelp UK

 

This article has also been published in Contact Centre LIVE! on 15th March, 2013

 


Mike Purvis joins Webhelp UK as Sales and Marketing Director

Executive board bolstered as Mike Purvis joins to drive global growth.

Mike Purvis Sales and Marketing Director Webhelp UK

With more than two decades of experience in Executive level general management and business development roles within the BPO sector, Mike joined the Webhelp UK board in February 2013.

"Webhelp UK has an approach that, I believe, sets the business apart from its rivals... it’s an incredibly exciting time to join the company." - Mike Purvis, Sales and Marketing Director

Mike, who was born in the north east of England and educated in Zimbabwe, joined Webhelp UK from Transcom Worldwide, where he held the post of Managing Director of the BPO firm’s UK operations. Prior to Transcom, Mike was Managing Director of Vertex Customer Management. Mike will play a key role in evolving the company into an international customer experience leader.

"Mike Purvis is one of Britain’s most experienced leaders in the field of customer experience solutions. That insight and determined spirit will be pivotal for us." - David Turner, Chief Executive Officer

As Sales and Marketing Director, he will lead a team focused on rapidly building the new Webhelp UK brand and adding new clients to the existing portfolio of blue chip organisations.

Mike said: “The team at Webhelp UK has an approach that, I believe, sets the business apart from its rivals. The proposition is very much focused on strategic partnerships, delivering transformational outsourcing by leveraging proven methodologies and multichannel capability. This approach generates insight into our clients’ customer’s behaviour, reducing unnecessary contacts, driving sales and ultimately improving customer satisfaction levels and advocacy.  All of which can be delivered from on, near and offshore locations.

“Following the recent acquisition of the UK business by the Webhelp Group, it’s an incredibly exciting time to join the company. We have our sights set clearly on becoming one of Europe’s largest customer experience companies by becoming thought leaders in Customer Experience Management.

David Turner, Chief Executive of Webhelp UK, added: “Everyone at Webhelp UK is incredibly excited that Mike is joining the team. He is one of Britain’s most experienced leaders in the field of customer experience solutions. That insight and determined spirit will be pivotal as we launch a robust expansion and diversification strategy.

“What sets us apart from the sector is the combined entrepreneurial drive and ambition to provide customers with the very best multichannel experience. I know Mike will be a real driving force behind that future success.”