Webhelp Thanks Falkirk Team

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcer, Webhelp, has spent a day saying thank you to the 35,000 colleagues around the world who have contributed to the business’ success this year.

 

The Advisors’ Day was celebrated across all sites in the 26 countries in which Webhelp operates, and the theme chosen this year was Hawaiian.

 

Senior management, many of them in Hawaiian garb, handed out sweets, drinks, fruit platters and flower garlands, in a light hearted thank you to all the team members for their excellent work over the year.

 

Colleagues were also encouraged to recognise each other for incidents that had inspired them in their daily work.

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “Webhelp is a business that is all about people and we are lucky enough to have a fantastic team here. I most sincerely want to thank them for all their hard work this year.

 

“Our Advisors’ Day is a bit of light hearted fun when our senior management team takes a day out to visit the sites and ensure we say thank you in person to our teams. It is very important to us that our colleagues feel appreciated for the work they do and that they have the opportunity to feedback any comments about their working environment. By creating an informal atmosphere we hope it makes it easier for colleagues to talk to us about any issues they may have, while at the same time hopefully ensuring everyone has some fun.”

 

 

Picture caption: COO Andy Doig getting into the Hawaiian spirit with the team in Falkirk at Webhelp’s Advisors’ Day.

 


Retailers Without an Omni-channel Strategy Are Struggling

retail omni-channel

When new strategies, like omni-channel, come along it can take some companies years to see why they need to adopt the new way of doing things. It’s a natural reaction because change costs money, and early adopters of new strategies are not always right. Just look back at some of the CRM experiments in the past to see how much money can be poured into customer-related projects that end in disaster.

But in my opinion there is one major difference this time: customers are demanding change. I don’t remember any customer ever asking a retailer to buy a new ERP system so their back office could be improved, but now customers are demanding omni-channel service even though they may not be aware of the hidden complexities that make it work well.

I saw a great article on this recently in an Australian business journal. The author describes how he saw one store in Brisbane charging customers a $5 “just looking” fee if they were coming into the store and not purchasing anything. In light of further omni-channel developments, where the aim is to blend the offline and online experience, this idea of fighting “showrooming” (customers checking products in a store then ordering cheaper online) by charging a viewing fee looks ridiculous.

Customers today just want to interact with retailers who make their life easier. That could mean a great website, a great app, great people in-store or all of the above. Some brands need an emphasis on different channels and some may be operating without some channels entirely – like online-only retailers – but one thing is now very clear: omni-channel has moved on from being just a business concept and strategy. It is now something that customers demand.

That demand is not expressed as a request for omni-channel service. It comes in the form of customers who refuse to pay $5 to enter a store, or insist that you charge the same price in-store as online, or allow a purchase online to be collected in-store. Customers are demanding a more sophisticated retail offering, and stitching together these demands ultimately creates what commentators have spent years referring to as omni-channel.

Are you listening to all the omni-channel demands and managing to meet them? What aspects of omni-channel provision are harder to implement than others? Leave a comment below or get in touch on LinkedIn and let me know.


A Great Customer Experience Helps Business Growth

customer experience business growth

What are the most basic strategies that sit at the top of the priority list for most executives? Reducing the cost of running the business is one. Increasing revenue or profit (or preferably both) is another. However, in recent years almost every industry analyst has suggested that improving the customer experience (CX) has become the single highest priority across all industries.

This is because analysts and researchers have proven that there is a strong connection between business success and a focus on improving the customer experience. Great CX drives other behaviours, such as loyalty and improved engagement, and ultimately this creates more business for the brand.

But what if it could be proven that focusing on your CX has a direct impact on cutting costs and increasing revenue? This is what Forrester Research suggested recently, when VP and Research Director Harley Manning addressed an audience in Florida.

Manning said that by making customer experience the number one area of focus, companies will find that other benefits occur naturally. These include the ability to grow revenue faster, reduce service costs, achieve greater pricing power, and reduce risks around regulatory compliance.

This is particularly true in markets where strong competition exists because there is then a greater ability to distinguish between rivals. When one market player treats customers significantly better than most there is not only the effect of customers gravitating to that company, but also the ability of the leader to push their prices up. Many customers are prepared to pay more for convenience and a better experience, and only the CX leader has the ability to set prices above the market rate.

Manning also noted that a focus on CX has benefits within the company. When your own team feel better about the way they are able to look after the customer, it improves internal employee satisfaction and creates a positive feedback loop. Because you create a situation where the team is more empowered, the team functions better, the customers are happier, and the team continues to feel and function better because their job and levels of satisfaction have significantly improved.

Industry analysts have talked for the past few years about how important it is to focus on CX, but I think this is the first time I have seen one of them claiming that all those other important business priorities can be achieved just by concentrating on the customer experience alone. Do you think that the Forrester research is correct? Leave a comment below or contact me on LinkedIn and let me know.


Webhelp Netherlands nominated for the FD Gazellen

Leading customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp Netherlands, has been named as a finalist in the FD Gazellen Award. The award is for the the fastest growing company in the large companies category (those with turnover of over €30 million).

It is not the first time Webhelp Netherlands has been nominated for this prestigious award: in 2013 the outsourcer won an FD Gazellen for its constant growth. The Webhelp Group won the ETI Fast 50 Award in 2014, an award for fast-growing technology companies.

The FD Gazellen Awards, organized by Het Financieele Dagblad (part of FD Media Group), celebrates companies in the Netherlands with the fastest growth. In November, the winners will be announced during four spectacular events. The main criterion which will determine the winning company is revenue growth of at least 20% over a period of three years.

The last few years have been very significant in the history of Webhelp. In addition to the organic growth of the company and its expanding solutions in the BPO domain, Webhelp Netherlands announced the acquisition of Xtrasource in 2014, which in turn unveiled the acquisition of Contact2Value this summer.

 


Webhelp Wins at BPeSA Awards

 

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp, is celebrating after one of its team, Barry Jacobs, was named project manager of the year at the BPeSA National Industry Awards, held in Capetown on Saturday, Oct 15, 2016.

 

Craig Gibson, CEO of Webhelp SA, said: “I am delighted that Barry has received this recognition from the industry. He is a real credit to our team here in South Africa and this is a very well deserved win.

 

“Webhelp is committed to offering consistently high quality customer service across all our sites around the world. Winning top industry awards such as this proves that our team in South Africa is one of the best in the region.”

 


Omni-channel is Not Just Redefining Marketing – It’s Reshaping Companies

omni-channel engagement

A recent feature in the Huffington Post claimed that omni-channel engagement with customers is now driving the future of marketing; brands that are making the most of omni-channel have a retention rate, on average, of 89%. Brands with weak omni-channel engagement have an average rate of 33%. The article also cites a few different marketing platforms that are attempting to work across the online and in-store environment, including one that combines an online catalogue with social influencer engagement.

It’s an interesting perspective on the changes that many companies are being forced to make, but I think that in studying individual platforms and software this article misses the wood for the trees. Unfortunately, there are many commentators in the industry who are guilty of suggesting that getting omni-channel right is as simple as buying the right software.

Many companies will need to fundamentally change in the next few years. Why? Because the way that customers interact with brands is changing dramatically and tearing up the notion that there are clearly siloed functions such as public relations, advertising, marketing, sales, and customer service.

Your company has existing customers, prospective customers, and people who are interested in the brand, but unlikely to ever be customers. All of these people interact with your brand in various ways and at different stages in the customer journey. It is this awareness of how the customer journey has changed that is key to understanding how all your customer-facing teams can work together as one.

In an old-style journey the steps were clear. You used advertising or marketing techniques to create awareness of your brand. The sales team would close a sale. The customer service team would pick up any post-sale enquiries. And the journey from awareness to purchase was linear and simple.

This no longer applies. Customers today are also publishers. They write reviews, they publish on social networks, they blog. Customers seek out information from other customers and from knowledgeable influencers. Customers might ask you a question before, during or after a sale takes place. The progression from awareness to purchase has entirely changed, so all of the teams that managed those customer interactions need to blend into one.

It’s not just marketing that will change, it is every part of your business that interfaces in any way with the customer. They all need to be aligned, and possibly blended into a single hub that manages the customer relationship. This is the reality of managing omni-channel delivery. The demands of the modern customer may require your business to reshape and redefine itself.

How is omni-channel engagement changing your business? Comment below or get in touch on LinkedIn and let me know.


80 NEW JOBS AT WEBHELP IN FALKIRK

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing business, Webhelp, has announced plans to recruit an additional 80 people at its Falkirk site by the end of 2016.

 

The new roles are part of an exciting commitment to the company’s UK headquarters, which will see Falkirk become a centre of excellence in customer experience.

 

The work has come from an existing long standing client who is trusting Webhelp with the customer experience and sales around a raft of exciting new product launches. It is anticipated that this work will continue to grow and could lead to an additional 100+ jobs being created in Falkirk in 2017.

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “I am thrilled by this opportunity to develop the Falkirk site into a centre of excellence. We have a fantastic team of people here and that is the reason why this work, which is so important to our client, is being entrusted to Webhelp. This is very exciting to be involved in and I am delighted that our colleagues will benefit from the training and development opportunities that come with this work.

 

“This has been a terrific period for Webhelp. We have just added the ninth company to the Webhelp family in a 24 month period, with the acquisition of social media moderation business, Netino, and we have signed a number of high profile new clients, including Unilever and Shop Direct. We now have 35,000 employees working at 90 sites in 26 countries and our business shows no signs of slowing down. This is a fantastic time to become part of a growing business in an exciting industry that is focussing on new technology and the future of customer experience.”

 

The additional 80 positions required by the end of the year will be a combination of sales advisors and sales team leaders and will focus on voice communication as well as live webchat. The work is more technical and product focussed, with the need to provide advice to customers calling in with questions around new product launches and which product would be best for them. There will be structured training and coaching, as well as a management development programme, to ensure there are exciting career opportunities for people looking to build a future in the customer experience industry.

 

The roles are full time (40hrs) and shifts operate between 8.30am–8pm Mon-Sun.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about the opportunities that exist in Falkirk or at Webhelp’s other UK sites, contact recruitment@uk.webhelp.com

 


The Changing Customer Journey Makes Hard-Sell Sales Obsolete

hard sell

I recently read a great example of some awful customer service failures at American car dealers in Forbes magazine. Forbes writer Blake Morgan described one disaster after another – they are all so terrible it’s almost amusing. Incidents included:

• A salesperson treating a female customer with less respect than her male companion, because obviously the male partner will decide which car to buy (!)
• Sales staff knowing little to nothing about their own company and products
• A crowd of ten sales guys who swooped on any browsing customer
• A salesperson offering an opinion, rather than information

It surprises me that in 2016 car dealers still operate like this, but I know it’s true because I’ve had all of these experiences myself. Blake mentioned that it would be useful if the sales teams could have iPads and the training required to help customers with online searches and information, but I think there is an additional element to this story.

The process of buying or leasing a new car has changed dramatically. It used to be essential to tour the showrooms, sit in the vehicles, and talk to the salesperson as they make their pitch; now many customers are engaging with high-price items like cars in a different way.

There is much more information out there. The manufacturers all publish extensive data, photographs, and video. Auto magazines publish information. Review sites feature extensive reports from owners. And of course, the social networks let you talk to friends and family when thinking about something like a new car. I don’t need to leave home to narrow my selection down to perhaps two vehicles.

I know that in the past I have even narrowed down my options to the exact vehicle I wanted. When I walked into the dealer I just said: "I’d like to buy one of these, can we talk about the colour and sunroof options please?" It must have been the easiest sale ever for that dealer, because I had done my research before I arrived.

I’m sure that many other customers are finding this too, and it changes how the dealers and auto manufacturers need to relate to potential customers. It’s no good to decide that publishing videos of cars soaring around mountains or driving fast on a track is enough. Customers want real information, reviews, and the opinion of other owners of the same vehicle.

Potential buyers can find all of this online anyway, but smart auto companies will realise that the sales process has changed. Products like cars have a very different customer journey today than they did in the past, and brands that can help to shape the initial conversation in a positive way will be the ones that succeed.

What do you think about the changes to the customer journey in the last few years? Is the hard sell dead? Leave a comment or contact me on LinkedIn and let me know.


Stuart Braves the Shave for MacMillan

 Stuart Gunn, an advisor in the Webhelp Kilmarnock site, has ‘Braved the Shave’ to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support Foundation. Stuart proudly underwent his transformation at work last week and raised a fantastic £400 for the charity. Stuart wanted to personally thank MacMillan Cancer Support Foundation for their help while his family has been dealing with the disease.

shave1                     shave2

If you would like to donate or join Stuart and ‘Brave the Shave’ go to the MacMillan Cancer Care website, https://bravetheshave.org.uk/


Could Retail Banks Fight the Fintechs with Data?

fintech, data and analytics

FinExtra recently posted a story about how banks are using omni-channel, with a focus on the importance of managing customer data effectively. But the real story here is that customer expectations have changed dramatically – they expect service across many different channels, and every mode of delivery has to be equally good.

For banks, there is an additional challenge: financial technologies, or fintechs. Not only are customers expecting more from the service provided, they are now used to consumer technologies that facilitate access to banks 24/7 from anywhere. Now banks need to manage all of these changing expectations just as fintech reshapes the entire industry.

These new, start-up financial service companies have many advantages over traditional banks:

  1. No legacy; how can a retail bank focus on making apps better when they also need to manage traditional branch networks and processes that have evolved over decades – or even centuries?
  2. They are built from the customer point of view; fintech firms don’t need to create online versions of existing services. They can take entirely new ideas and launch them. The service is designed around the customer from the start.
  3. Focus; the app is the service, allowing the fintech operator to really focus on making it as good as can be. It’s also likely to be a more limited service range than traditional banks offer, focused only on what they need to deliver.

Although times are challenging, smart use of data can help traditional banks fight back. They have decades of customer history and behaviour to draw on. If they use this knowledge in a smart way then they have one big advantage over the nimble fintechs – their own history.

What do you think about the way that data and analytics could transform the customer experience in retail banking? Leave a comment below or get in touch with me on LinkedIn.