Webhelp UK scoops prestigious innovation award

Webhelp UK has been recognised with a prestigious award by customer contact industry body, the Professional Planning Forum.

The leading customer experience company received the ‘Innovation award for Interactive Intelligence’, for its Insight programme which scientifically brings data and people together to drive continuous improvement, delivering quantifiable benefits to both customer and client.

The award was presented during a ceremony at Professional Planning Forum’s Customer Strategy and Planning Conference, in Brighton last night. The annual gathering celebrates the achievements of the industry’s innovators hosting a platform for learning, sharing of best practice and celebrating success.  

Webhelp UK fought off stiff competition to receive the award, which saw a panel of 19 former winners and finalists visit shortlisted companies to put them through a rigorous assessment process.

Commenting on the achievement, Webhelp UK’s Chief Executive, David Turner, said:

“The Professional Planning Forum’s annual awards are widely regarded as a benchmark of industry excellence and Webhelp UK is very proud to have taken home the coveted Innovation Award for Interactive Intelligence.

“Our Insight programme provides our clients with a 360 degree view of their business and customer contacts across a variety of channels. It has enabled us to produce impactful insights for clients that have led to quantifiable results in sales and customer relations.”

Beyond price

What engaged customers wonÂ’t do for money

It would be no hard thing for any general insurer to argue that consumers are fickle and care only about price.  They need only point to the relentless growth of the aggregator market, which thrives on helping customers find the best (for ‘bestÂ’ read ‘cheapestÂ’) deals, and shrug.  So, perhaps we shouldnÂ’t blame them if they conclude that their only way to survive in todayÂ’s post financial crisis market is to focus on efficiency at all costs, drive prices inexorably lower, steel their nerve to keep walking the tight margin tightrope and hope not to get knocked off by the next surge in claims.  It doesnÂ’t sound like fun and nor, believes David Turner, CEO at Webhelp UK, is it the only possible option.  HeÂ’s firmly of the view that ‘engagedÂ’ customers wonÂ’t easily switch for money, that they have more than price on their agenda and that insurers would do well to find out what it is. 

Webhelp UK customer experience insurance

A recent survey has demonstrated that customers who feel ‘engagedÂ’ by their insurance provider will accept a price differential of between eight and fifteen percent before they defect to the competition.  The more engaged they feel, the more theyÂ’ll be prepared to pay before jumping ship .  ThatÂ’s interesting and suggests a new strategic option for insurers, but what is an ‘engagedÂ’ customer and exactly what is it that they care about more than price?

In simple terms the research demonstrated that engaged customers are those who confidently concur with the following three statements:  My insurer describes and promotes its products honestly.  My insurer treats me like a valued customer.  My insurer stands behind its promises.  

Customers care about price, of course – nobody actively wants to spend money on insurance. But they also value the sense of security they feel when they are served well by organisations they trust and rely upon for reassurance and, after all, surely ‘reassuranceÂ’ is what insurance is all about.  And how is this sense of trust and engagement built?  Quite simply, by clear, consistent and compelling communication delivered at every one of eight lifecycle stages:

webhelp uk customer satisfaction insurance providers

My insurer describes and promotes its products honestly

  • One: The shopping experience:  Absolute clarity about what the product does.  Clear simple statements, not bamboozling small print.
  • Two: The buying experience:  Simple on-boarding processes and reassurance about when and how the first premium will be taken.
  • Three: Start-up experience:  Delivering the insurance policy and being available to answer initial queries.

My insurer treats me like a valued customer

  • Four: Relationship building experience:  Providing helpful information (newsletters or similar) that demonstrate your care.
  • Five: The growing experience:  Effective cross-selling based on an understanding of the customerÂ’s demographic and likely life-stage requirements.
  • Six: The service experience:  Providing helpful assistance to solve problems - billing enquiries for example.webhelp uk customer loyalty insurance sector
  • Seven: The renewal experience:  Issuing timely reminders that recognise changing requirements and that identify caps in cover or potential savings. 

My insurer stands behind its promises

  • Eight: The claims experience:  Giving speedy resolution and a clear explanation of the claims decision and process.

It may surprise some to hear that there are eight stages to the insurance customer lifecycle.  It has sometimes been assumed that insurance companies and their customers connect at only two points; when the insurance is purchased and a claim is made.  It is also assumed that at both of those moments the relationship is fraught with difficulty.  In the first instance, the customer doesnÂ’t want to buy insurance, itÂ’s a grudge purchase, and, when they are making a claim, they are in a state of stress.  The modern insurer recognises, however, that these two ‘difficultÂ’ but crucial moments can be made easier if a meaningful relationship is maintained between these two points.  Lifecycle stages four to six allow this engagement bond to be created and, of course, for the relationship to be deepened by cross-selling.

The omni-channel win-win

The insurance industry has done much in recent years to create clarity for the customer.  Mystifying jargon has been replaced by plain English and the small print on the policy no longer demands a magnifying glass to be read.  There can be little doubt that more will be done in this regard thanks to the regulatory new broom being brandished by the FCA.  

At the other end of the spectrum, the drive for efficiency has, in many instances, contributed towards helpful problem solving and swift claims resolution.  If a customerÂ’s issue can be solved at first contact, if a claim can be settled in one week instead of six, the customer is happy and the insurer saves money.  Efficiency meets customer responsiveness; the classic win-win.  

webhelp uk customer experience management insurance

The development of digital and self-service channels provides ample opportunity to accelerate those win-win benefits.  I recently visited a general insurer in Europe whose deployment of digital channels is so advanced (the phone channel is used only during the claims process) that it has reduced its running costs to around 20% of annual premium income.  At the same time, its Net Promoter (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSat) are the highest in its national market and its customer churn rate of 20% is well below the industry average.  Evidence if any were needed that efficiency and customer engagement can go hand in hand. 

The UK industry is starting to take this seriously. The 2013 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report suggests that top performing UK insurers are already handling 35% of customer interactions by digital channels and 11% have integrated social media into their overall channel strategies .  ThereÂ’s still a long way to go, however.   Imagine what scenarios like this could do for your customer engagement and efficiency:

Scenario #1: Buying a policy

webhelp uk customer experience innovators insurance sector

Scenario #2: Making a claim

The bottom line 

That all sounds great, but the hard bottom line is that it doesnÂ’t matter how many communications channels you provide for customers it wonÂ’t help a jot unless the experience you deliver 

 across them is consistent, compelling and designed to encourage the sense of ‘engagementÂ’ that we talked about earlier – the one that will make customers less price sensitive and release you from the downward spiral price trap.  

Achieving that means understanding exactly which elements of the customer experience youÂ’re delivering today either create engagement or destroy it.  Then replicating the former and eradicating the latter.  

webhelp uk - helping clients establish and grow customer loyalty

Doing that is no dark art; It simply involves the application of analytics to the customer journey itself.  Analytics technologies will allow you to see how customers are using the communications channels you offer.  You can see where they hit road blocks and remove them, see what is preventing a sale from being secured or a renewal completed.   In short, you can work progressively and relentlessly towards customer journeys that reinforce a sense of engagement and encourage customers to stay with you.  

Remember, the three qualities of engagement?  Analytics will help you secure each one: 

  1. My insurer describes and promotes its products honestly - Analytics will help you see where the information you provide is confusing, misleading or contradictory.
  2. My insurer treats me like a valued customer - Analytics will highlight opportunities to personalise your service in order to reinforce a sense of belonging.
  3. My insurer stands behind its promises - Analytics will identify where you are failing to meet customer expectations and plug the gaps. 

There are those who believe that the insurance industry is irretrievably commoditised and that price can be the only source of differentiation always and forever.  WeÂ’re not among them.

By striving for customer engagement insurers can turn ‘a commodity’ into ‘a valued service’ that customers will almost certainly be prepared to pay a little more for.

 Contact David on LinkedIn with your questions or comments.

Industry News 18th April

Our weekly news update pulls together of the key stories from our industry this week. 













th April

Contact centre agents are your company’s most important brand ambassadors



17th April

CIF signs agreement with Data Centre Alliance



16th April

Outsourcing shoots up in EMEA region



15th April

Addressing the Skills Gap - Uk Employers must do more



15th April

Continuous workforce optimisation – how solutions can shape up your workforce



14th April

Taking an omni-channel approach to customer experience management



14th April

Call centres need a fresh approach



Meeting Customer Expectations in a Personalized World






Customer effort score as a key weapon

Net Promoter Score (NPS)  vs Customer Effort Score (CES)

Many methods of assessment and metrics have been used to measure customer behaviour, including tactical measures such as satisfaction, resolution and more strategic assessments such as NPS (net promoter score). NPS has, in the last decade, become the customer experience metric of choice in the industry.

NPS is seen as a pretty reliable indicator of customer advocacy with reasonable predictive capabilities but many organisations have struggled to reconcile contact point NPS results to corporate objectives.

A recent frisson of excitement in the industry would suggest that CES (customer effort score) is the latest metric contender is being touted as the most effective, predictive measure of future customer behaviour’s available as well as being able to identify the true root causes of customer detraction and is therefore the best operational customer contract metric to drive customer loyalty and experience.

Tools not solutions

In truth, no one metric can be viewed as a panacea.  Metrics can disconnect from actual objectives, leaving organisations driving a number with no tangible output.  Also metrics with corporate entity level relevance may not translate well to more granular investigation, for example, touchpoints and root cause analytics.  At this granular level, metrics may not have a predictive validity aligned to the corporate objectives.

If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

Experience would suggest that using a variety of complimentary metrics allows a 360 degree view of performance and customer experience.  The strengths of each metric can then be utilised to create the best possible view of reality.  This ensures that measurement has a relevance to objectives both tactically and strategically.

To gain clear insight it is enormously important to identify all aspects of a customer's journey to its end.  Each touchpoint is relevant to the customer, each action, even if it is not a contact is also relevant.  If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

How we see it

Webhelp UK has identified that measuring customer effort to achieve an objective against their expectations of effort required is an effective predictor of future customer behaviours regarding advocacy, loyalty and future spend if used in conjunction with other tailored metrics.  Effort profiling, using Webhelp UK's effort algorithm, of customer journeys across all elements of that journey allows a comprehensive view of both multichannel and non contact experience.

CES should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.

In combination with Webhelp UK's effort profiling, the use of any other relevant metrics can be combined to give a truly holistic view of business impacts of customer experience and journeys.  This allows the right actions to be taken in regard to people (customers and employee interactions and behaviours), policy (company policies that may not be aligned to objectives, products (are products meeting business and customer needs) and process (are processes effective in delivering objectives).

In conclusion, there are benefits to be gained by using both NPS and CES metrics (as well as other complimentary measures).  Webhelp UK Insight are particularly interested in CES, however, and feel that it is likely to have strong applicability at granular levels particularly in Contact Centre Management.  CES is equally applicable to any contact medium and is reflective of a customer’s journey and holistic experience.  This feature has great synergy with Webhelp UK’s strategy of multi-channel customer journey management and as long as CES is used as one of many data mining tools to derive business improvements and performance, the metric should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.

Contact Jim Findlay to continue this conversation...

Addressing the skills gap

Why employers need to do more to support the UK’s young people 

There’s a palpable sense of confidence in the economy which was sadly absent during the downturn. From the housing market to manufacturing, indications are good.

However, structural problems remain in the economy both domestically and internationally that threaten to undermine our long term prospects.

I was disappointed, but not surprised to read earlier this week that despite the UK’s return to growth, unemployment among people aged 16-24 remains as high as one in four in many of our towns and cities. According to think-tank, the Work Foundation, even those cities with the lowest levels of unemployment among young people still have a rate of 13%; a third higher than Germany where the national average is 8.6%.

Meanwhile ‘blackspot’ cities Glasgow and Derby, where we employ hundreds of young people, have the 3rd and 18th highest level of youth unemployment at more than 25% and 21% respectively.

The authors of the report called on national and local government to do more to work with educators and businesses alike to improve access to apprenticeships and work placements, and provide more careers guidance to the UK’s young people.

As an employer of more than 6,000 people; many of them within this age bracket, Webhelp UK wholeheartedly supports the grand ambitions of the Work Foundation in its moves to improve the situation for the next generation of the workforce.

However, our experience tells us it’s not enough just to provide more work placements. Increasingly the jobs are there to be filled, but the young people don’t have the necessary skills to fill them.

We’re not talking Maths and English here. The problem is with soft, non-academic skills. Many lack an understanding of interview etiquette, how to write a CV and don’t possess the basic knowledge of the world of work.

They have the ability to make a meaningful contribution to the workplace, they just don’t have the means of articulating this. Measures to address this through placement schemes will not bridge this gap. If someone can’t get through the door, they won’t be able to benefit from learning on the job.  Careers advisers in my experience do a sterling job, but their efforts will come to nothing if employers don’t engage with young people at the earliest possible stage.

Through our Customer Experience Academy, Webhelp UK has been able to address these issues among our own candidates. Rather than turning away promising young people who perhaps do not interview well, for more than a year now we’ve been inviting them to complete a five week work skills course. After which we give them a second chance at an interview.

And the results speak for themselves. Since December 2012 more than 270 young candidates have now successfully completed the programme to earn a customer service qualification, with a further 330 places available this year.

A lot of employers will complain about a skills gap, and call on the government to address this, but the only way we’ll make progress on this is if more companies put their money where their mouths are to give young people a chance.

Often it doesn’t take much to get a promising candidate over the line, and in most instances it’s these individuals who blossom when given the chance to enter employment. The UK’s young people are no different to any generation before them. They have what it takes, we just need to give them the opportunity.

By Webhelp UK CEO David Turner. Contact David on LinkedIn with questions or comments on this article and follow him on Twitter to receive regular updates.

Webhelp UK donates a further £10k to Macmillan

Webhelp UK has donated an additional £10,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support following a very successful start to the charity partnership.

On Tuesday, Webhelp Chief Executive David Turner presented a cheque for £10,000 to Jan Forrest from Macmillan.

Macmillan Cancer Support was chosen to be the charity partner of the customer experience management company prior to Christmas with the aim to raise £23,500 in 2014 for this worthwhile cause.

Webhelp sites across the UK have raised an impressive £6,500 so far this year and with David Turner kindly donating the further £10,000, they are well on the way to achieving the target.

The Webhelp team raised the money by taking part in a number of activities.  Charitable fundraising and local contribution are an important aspect of the work Webhelp undertakes throughout the UK. Engagement Ambassadors at the UK sites are responsible for co-ordinating fundraising activities and ensuring events have necessary support.

Jan Forrest, Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, attended the presentation. Jan said:

“We could not support people living in the UK with a cancer diagnosis without the generosity of the people of Webhelp who have excelled themselves through recent fundraising efforts along with the substantial company donation received today for £10,000.  

“This donation will support our mission to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone and Macmillan is able to provide vital local services.  We look forward to working with Webhelp throughout the year.”

David Turner, Chief Executive at Webhelp UK, commented on the total that had already been achieved and was confident the company would meet its donation targets. David said:

“Our charity partner link-up is an important aspect of the company’s work and it is excellent to see so many of our people giving up their time to get involved with our fundraising targets.

“Macmillan provides invaluable support to those affected by cancer and it is an honour for Webhelp to contribute to this cause.”

Webhelp UK appoints Gillian Campbell as HR Director

The UK’s leading customer experience solutions provider, Webhelp UK has appointed Gillian Campbell as HR Director.

Campbell joins after three years with the Scottish Police Services Authority where, working closely with the Scottish Government, she had a lead role in the merger of Scotland’s nine policing organisations into the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland, and developed the HR architecture for the future of the new unified force.

As HR director for Webhelp UK, she will be charged with leading human resources for the company’s 6,000 team members, based across nine experience centres in the UK.

A graduate of The University of Strathclyde, Campbell began her career with Teledata before joining Compaq in 1995, were she assumed responsibility for 14 contact centres across the EMEA region, and played a key role when the company later took the decision to centralise its European service centre operations.

Having moved to Scottish Telecom, she became director of HR and Corporate Communications after the company split from Scottish Power to become THUS plc in 2002.

Her delivery of the change management strategy around THUS’ later sale to Cable & Wireless, saw her and her team collect HR Network Scotland’s ‘HR team of the year’ award in 2008.

David Turner, Webhelp UK CEO, said:

“Webhelp UK’s reputation is built on the strength of our people, and with more than 6,000 team members across the UK, strategic human resources leadership is essential for our continued success.

“With close to 20 years’ experience in senior management and more than 12 leading HR for major public and private sector organisations, we’re pleased to welcome Gillian as Webhelp UK’s new HR Director and are confident her significant expertise will be invaluable to the business we continue to grow.”

Gillian Campbell, said:

“Having started my career managing customer management operations, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to apply the skills I’ve gained as an HR Director to return to the sector.

“I look forward to supporting Webhelp UK and our people at this exciting time, as we continue to grow across the UK.”

Connect with Gillian on LinkedIn

New contract for Webhelp UK in Dearne Valley

One of the UKÂ’s largest customer experience companies, Webhelp UK, has won a significant new contract with creative IT solutions provider, Jigsaw24. 

The new contract will create around 50 new jobs at Webhelp UKÂ’s Dearne Valley site, on the outskirts of Thurnscoe, during the next 12 months. 

The UK-based team will provide sales support to the provider of Apple and Adobe business solutions, and will manage customer enquiries across multiple channels including inbound calls, emails and webchat facilities. 

The first 16 employees to complete the rigorous four-week training programme began work on the contract earlier this month. 

With offices in Nottingham and Manchester, Jigsaw24 provides creative technology solutions for more than 25,000 businesses, large and small, across the UK. 

Webhelp UK, has won a significant new contract with creative IT solutions provider Jigsaw24

Mike Purvis, Sales & Marketing Director at Webhelp UK said: “This is a significant new partnership for Webhelp UK.  With a breadth of experience in managing B2B customer relationships, Webhelp looks forward to supporting Jigsaw24 as it continues to develop its business across the UK.” 

Nikki Ratcliffe, General Manager, Marketing at Jigsaw24, said:  Â“Jigsaw24 is pleased to be working with Webhelp UK on what is one of our key growth initiatives.”

“WeÂ’re confident the skills of their talented team members will complement our existing in-house sales team.  It was this cultural fit that sealed our partnership in the aim to deliver a superior customer experience for our clients and boost revenues.”

Evolution of Outsourcing

In the early days of customer management outsourcing, cost reduction was pretty much the only show in town. You might be forgiven for thinking that, in some organisations, not much has changed. In last year’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, which has monitored the evolution of customer management practice for fifteen years now, the number of organisations quoting the need to ‘save money’ as their principal motivation to outsource had doubled. A knee-jerk reaction to several years of recession and economic stagnation I’m sure, but a backward step nonetheless.

A draconian focus on cost reduction is likely to send service quality on a dangerous downward trajectory. When that happens, customer relationships quickly come under threat and revenues suffer. Organisations have relied upon outsourced service providers’ much vaunted ‘economies of scale’ to drive down cost but, the truth is those economies are far from infinite. Any business that has been outsourcing customer management operations for any length of time is likely to have exhausted them.

Does that mean then, that outsourcing has nothing more to offer?

By no means, new outsourcing models are emerging that move beyond incremental cost reduction to a dramatic financial realignment, as the fixed asset costs associated with physical and human infrastructure are transferred from the client organisation to the outsourced service provider (OSP). This transfer of assets, combined with a commitment to transform customer management performance, is giving new impetus to outsourcing and fresh hope to organisations struggling to keep pace with their customers’ growing demands for 24-hour omni-channel service.

That fresh hope arises from the OSP’s ability to reinvigorate customer management operations; to introduce new technologies and areas of skill and to help facilitate the evolution of omni-channel service delivery.

We know that, over the past ten years or so, the percentage of customer interactions managed via the voice channel has fallen from around 90% to 33%1. This is generating fundamental changes in infrastructure, skills and technology requirements that few organisations have yet come to terms with. As the voice channel declines, the physical buildings that house dedicated contact centre operations become an asset liability. As digital channels rise, the need to invest in technology and skills to support them translates into a tough investment challenge. In short, the evolutionary journey towards omni-channel customer management is one that most organisations are keen to take – their customers demand it and the long term economics are compelling – but they are desperately looking for ways to offset the price of the ticket.

Forward thinking OSPs understand the dilemma and have catered for it. They have shown themselves willing and able to take over existing facilities and workforces and enhance their performance, introducing the skills, processes and vital technology infrastructures needed for integrated omni-channel customer management.

By Webhelp UK CEO David Turner. Read more on business transformation and carve outs HERE