Dear Data…

...How respect for customer information will win confidence and secure sales 

The outbound telemarketing industry is in the throes of change. With the emergence of regulation and the option for customers to ‘opt out of contact’, the sector needs to sharpen its approach and respect its main asset – the customer – in order to boost and maintain sales.

In July 2013, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) published a joint action plan to tackle irresponsible sales practice across all channels, aiming to stamp out unsolicited contact.

Coupled with around one third of the UK population now having placed themselves ‘beyond contact’, as a result of the Telephone Preference Service established in 1999, outbound telemarketing risks becoming economically unviable.

Together this means telemarketing behaviours need to adapt and change in order to ensure longevity and business success. Here are our top three tips for adjusting the industry’s approach:

1) Understand the data

Every customer record represents an individual, so making every contact relevant to that individual has to be the holy grail of telemarketing. Before making contact, consider consolidating existing data and applying analytics to profile the customer. This will help determine the next best action strategies.

Webhelp has adopted this tailored process for a major telecommunications client, and by doing so, we have increased sales per hour by 40 per cent whilst maintaining average customer satisfaction scores by 97 per cent.

The task becomes much harder, of course, when dealing with newly acquired customer records, individuals you have not traded with before and have no previous knowledge of. Even here analytics can help. If you have acquired data wisely you will know something about these records, at least basic demographic information.

From this it is possible to model the likely behaviour of these new individuals based on the behaviours and preferences of similar existing customers. It won’t be precise, but it should tell you enough to begin ‘in life’ data testing that will refine accuracy and performance.

2) Respect the agent, recruit talent and reward success

Before patting ourselves hard on the back for our technological and strategic brilliance, we would do well to remember the agent that sits at the front line and, ultimately, either closes the deal or doesn’t.

Outbound selling is a particular skill that attracts a particular type of person. That type of person is typical of the average contact centre agent. They are extremely results focused and expect you to create an environment in which that can happen and, if you don’t, will complain.

For this very reason it is important to identify and recruit talented people and reward success. Agents of this calibre challenge our thinking and put us on our mettle. They grasp the business which is imperative of making a sale and will both engage in and contribute to commercial discussions around profitability, margin and cost.

With a high energy workforce of this kind it’s important to recognise that they are motivated by personal success. Top performers will expect to earn more and, therefore, compensation and bonus strategies must be built accordingly.

3) Farm, Don’t Hunt

In the past companies have relied heavily on outbound sales – and more specifically, cold calling – because high attrition rates have driven a constant need to recruit new customers. In short, organisations have ‘hunted’ new customers because they have failed to ‘farm’ the ones they have.

Companies would be wise to reduce their dependency on new customer recruitment by focusing on effective retention, cross and upsell strategies. There’s nothing new in this, the principles and virtues of long term customer relationship management are well known. But we are advocating that a new level of pragmatism and urgency should be applied to acquiring new business from existing customers and to seeking fresh ways to introduce sales conversations.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, the industry’s response to date has been largely uninspiring. It’s time the sector recognised that every customer record, number and email address is a valued and cherished resource to be treated with respect. As we discuss in our latest white paper, if this mindset is adopted, telemarketing companies have a chance to see a dramatic difference in their sales and retention rates.

 

 


Dearne Valley local boxes her way to £3,000 donation for Cancer Research UK

A Dearne Valley resident, Christy Winfield has pushed herself to the limits competing in a world-famous boxing event at Barnsley Metrodome, raising over £3,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Christy, 35 from Barnsley, a project manager at the Dearne Valley site of leading customer experience provider, Webhelp UK, undertook a gruelling eight week professional boxing training schedule in preparation for the Ultra White Collar Boxing event.

On the night, 600 spectators watched Christy hold her own in the ring against an opponent who was a stone heavier and 6 inches taller. WhatÂ’s more, Christy won with the judges announcing a unanimous win to the red corner.

Christy said: “This was such a fantastic event to be part of. Reaching the £3,000 mark in donations and tickets sold for the event, is unbelievable – everyone has been so generous, especially my colleagues at Webhelp. People that know me know I like to push myself to the limits, but this time I really wanted to do something that would benefit such a worthy cause.”

Fellow Webhelp Project Manager; Dan Wiernicki said: “We were all very impressed with Christy’s performance on the night. She was 100% committed to the cause and trained very hard for it. It’s great to see that everyone has been so supportive and geneours with donations.”

White Collar Boxing originated in the legendary GleasonÂ’s gym in New York in 1988. The first contest was held between Dr Richard Novak, a lawyer, and Dr David Lawrence, who held a PhD in English Literature. Since then, white collar boxing has been the fastest growing corporate contact sport in the world.

Christy Winfield of Webhelp UK raises money for Cancer Research UK

Christy of Webhelp UK raises £3000 for Cancer Research UK

R Systems Europe Acquired by Webhelp Group

The Webhelp Group, parent company of Webhelp UK, has today announced the acquisition of R Systems Europe. R Systems Europe provides knowledge intensive technical support, innovative support in logistics processes and CRM solutions. The company is headquartered in Enschede, Netherlands with a branch office in Metz (France), providing customer contact solutions in more than eighteen languages to international customers.

Webhelp, a leading international customer experience management organisation, has made a number of acquisitions over the past 18 months, including the acquisition of SNT (now Webhelp Netherlands) and HEROtsc (now Webhelp UK).

The acquisition of R Systems Europe is the first in the technical support niche. R Systems Europe will significantly boost the Webhelp profile in the consumer electronics segment with proven success in the shared services model and multilingual support from one location. 

David Turner, CEO Webhelp UK: "Our customers will benefit from the expertise in tech support and the software based solutions developed by R Systems Europe. With this acquisition, we extend our leading market position and strengthen our geographical footprint in the Netherlands to optimally service our current and future customers in more than 18 different languages."

R Systems Europe will fall under management of Webhelp Netherlands; Gert-Jan Morsink will be named CEO and Thomas Blankvoort will join the management team in the capacity of business development. The local management team will remain in place to facilitate the growth opportunities and share knowledge of collective services and reverse logistics solutions.


One size fits no one…

Why personal service matters in B2B businesses – and how you can deliver it. By Andy Doig, Chief Operating Officer, Webhelp UK.

With many business-to-business (B2B) organisations still taking stock after one of the hardest hitting recessions, establishing a strong customer base is high on the agenda. It is becoming increasingly hard to both win new customers and retain existing ones. One reason for this is that the recession propelled customers to break the ties of old loyalties in search of lower prices and better deals.

This is not a revelation; however that said it isn’t all about price. B2B customers have been influenced by big-spending consumer brands who, despite the recession, have continued to drive loyalty programmes and invest in their ability to provide personal service based on data driven customer segmentation. Our customers have had their expectations raised. 

As with everything in life, there is always good news and bad news. The good news is a competitive war of attrition on price is the only battleground that can be averted. The bad news is there is still a lot of work to be done in order to get your customer experience where it needs to be. 

Our approach on how B2B companies can hold on to customers and maximise their value is simple; Get Personal, Get Smart. 

Get Personal

There are two reasons for getting personal with customers. First, because they expect it of you and secondly, when you know who your customers are you can sell to them more effectively.

A problem the industry has is that rather than not knowing enough about customers, it knows too much. Information captured for customer interactions can be turned into valuable insights, allowing for a more tailored, personalised approach to selling. It is vital that every piece of customer information is collated in one place allowing for dissemination of data. This process also allows us to start getting personal. We will now be able to see how much and how often the customer spends as well as pre-empting what they may purchase in the future. Being able to predict what customers might do allows us to plan strategies for the next best action o take.  

These strategies are designed to address the three issues that matter to us most: 

  • Revenue – presenting the ideal sales offer at the perfect time
  • Retention – anticipating defection and taking action to prevent it
  • Efficiency – reducing unnecessary contacts and driving routine enquiries to lower cost channels

Having developed the ability to predict customer behaviour, the next challenge is to act upon it. This can be done using analytic technology vendors or using basic maths to calculate the best upsell offer for that customer.

Get Smart 

Considering which channels to use in order to service customers at the lowest rate to the business is advisable. Whilst telephone agents can serve customers more cost effectively than on the road account managers, self-service multi-channels can serve them better still. Multi-channel shoppers will spend, on average, 15 to 30 per cent more than single channel shoppers. 

However, providing service and sales over multiple channels is only the first step. The second is to link those channels together so that customers can move effortlessly from one to the other, or even use several to complete a single transaction. We call this omni-channel engagement, where multiple channels are integrated to deliver consistent and personalised customer experiences. Omni-channel shoppers out-spend multi-channel shoppers by a further 20 per cent. 

Although there is a choice between implementing a single, multi and omni-channel sales model, it is evident that omni-channel is the most profitable and perhaps the most fitting in this day and age. 

Trevor Harvey, Director of Planning at Saatchi & Saatichi considers developing an omni-channel strategy a necessity.  He says: “If a company doesn’t [develop an omni-channel strategy] it will die.  

In today’s ‘participation economy’, a brand or business that deliberately chooses not to engage with its audience by their preferred methods of interaction chooses not to interact with them at all.”

Summary

The delivery of personal service, sales and account management across integrated voice and digital channels is, without question, the direction of travel for B2C organisations.  On the basis that your customers expect you to deliver a ‘consumer-like’ experience, it surely has to be so for B2B organisations, too.  It is a journey that won’t be achieved in a day but, in a world where customers have choice and the disposition to exercise it, it is one you must set out upon and the sooner the better.

Download our white paper on B2B: Why personal service matters and how to deliver it 


Personal service matters in B2B

When it comes to getting the customer experience right, B2B customers expect as much from organisations as they do from their mobile phone provider or online retailer. Recognition, understanding and personal service is expected, and organisations that fall short are at risk of losing business to enlightened competitors. This infographic shows why personal service matters in B2B, and how organisations can meet high customer expectations.

 

Why personal service matters

Here are a couple of other inforgraphics you may find interesting:

Web chant your customer - Enchanting customers with exceptional web chat
The art of omni-channel retailing - Be there for your customer


Webhelp UK receives double nomination for Employee Experience Awards

Webhelp UK, one of the country’s leading customer experience providers, has been announced as a finalist in two categories at the inaugural UK Employee Experience Awards 2014, taking place in London on 27 March.

Nominated for ‘Best Contact Centre’ for Webhelp’s Rothesay site and ‘Best for Talent Management & Development’, both awards recognise the hard work, leadership and focus that Webhelp has demonstrated to promote and ensure satisfaction of employees.

The ‘Best for Talent Management & Development’ nomination comes after Webhelp invested in creating an innovative, design-led working environment, in partnership with creative IT solutions business, Jigsaw24.

This was to encourage productivity by presenting employees with a working environment they were happy to step into and one which would ultimately result in customers receiving a heightened experience.

Webhelp is further nominated in the ‘Best Contact Centre’ category for its forward thinking approach and customer centric culture. This is demonstrated through its community spirit approach to customer experience both internally and externally, as well as the development of its 212 programme which aims to lead the way in employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Part of the 212 principle is to encourage staff to approach customer service as a professional industry in its own right, rather than simply a department.

Stuart Knapper, Senior Operations Manager of the Rothesay site, said: “The team here at Webhelp Rothesay are absolutely over the moon with this nomination. We’re a tight knit group that strives to provide a first class customer experience every time, so it’s fantastic to be recognised in this way.”

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp, added:

“It’s a great honour to be nominated for not only one, but two awards. It’s fantastic to know that the commitment we make to our employees is highly regarded. Furthermore, the leadership and ideas coming from the Rothesay site is truly inspirational, a well deserved nomination.”

The finalists have all been selected according to strict criteria based around a business case format.

With a variety of industries represented, those organisations that have been shortlisted have been able to demonstrate the return on investment in people, innovation and customer experience.


Webhelp comes top in prestigious French technology ranking

Webhelp UK’s parent company, Webhelp Group, a leading European company for outsourced customer experience management (CEM), has come out on top in the recent Deloitte In Extenso Technology Fast 50 list. 

The company ranked highly in two groups; first in Ile-de-France and second in France in the “mid-cap companies” category of the industry acclaimed list. 

The Fast 50 list rewards high-growth technology companies and is based on the percentage of growth achieved in turnover during the last five years, from 2009 to 2013. Over that period, Webhelp Group notched up a remarkable 300 per cent growth.

Frédéric Jousset, Webhelp Group founder and co-chairman, said: “Over the last few years, our group has recorded the fastest growth in their segment, with a turnover that has trebled in five years. This significant expansion results from our capacity to innovate in diversifying our range of services. 

“It is also due to our global external growth strategy that led us to purchase three overseas companies over an 18-month period, making Webhelp Group one of the standard-bearers on the French and European market of outsourced Customer Experience Management”.

Ariane Bucaille, Associate Manager Technology Fast 50 Deloitte, added: “A token of confidence from the investors and the market, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 ranking gives further evidence of the dynamism and capacity for innovation of businesses headquartered in France. 

“We believe that technology companies, such as Webhelp, will be the spearheads of tomorrow’s economy and the catalysts of a growth dynamic capable of creating jobs and value.”

It is the second time that Webhelp Group ranks first in the Deloitte in Extenso Technology Fast 50 list. In 2009, the Group had won the Fast 5 award, part of the Technology Fast 50 ranking.

Over the last 12 years, Technology Fast 50 has promoted and encouraged the development of companies that combine innovation and growth in the field of cutting-edge technology.