Do Customers Now Prefer Online Retail Because It’s More Personal?

online retail

How do you prefer to shop: online or in-store? The answer to this question depends on several factors, but traditionally people who valued their time would prefer the ease of online retail and those who wanted to actually see and experience items before buying would prefer the in-store experience.

However, this comparison between the High Street and online shopping is growing outdated fast. Many research papers are now being published with evidence that shopper attitudes have changed and the online experience is looked on more favourably; not because it is faster, but because it is more personal.

You might ask how an app or website can offer a more personal experience than a store staffed with expert sales assistants ready to answer questions and demonstrate products. The answer is in the data. If you are logged into a store then that retailer knows who you are. They know your entire purchase history, your likes, dislikes, and even non-obvious facts like the time of day you are more likely to be receptive to offers.

If you read the results of this study then it is clear that the Millennial demographic spends at least half of their entire shopping budget online. The report shows that 67% of Millennials and 56% of Generation X “prefer to search and purchase on e-commerce sites rather than in-store” while 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of seniors “prefer online to offline shopping.”

I don’t think that we are just looking at a demographic shift though. There is no clear-cut behaviour change when it comes to shopping that can be solely attributed to age, and even this research states that a third of senior shoppers now prefer online retail.

Another recent research paper suggests that 50% of European and 70% of American shoppers find it easier to shop online. The really important data from this research is the demonstration that an increasing satisfaction with the online experience is creating dissatisfaction with the in-store experience.

A quarter of shoppers interviewed for this research state that they actually feel “let down” when entering a physical store. They feel anonymous because the store knows nothing of their individual preferences and therefore cannot advise or help with ideas.

Retailers need to create a single view of each customer that works even for customers browsing in-store. How would this work - can you ask customers to log in as they walk into a store? Many customers are used to loyalty cards, or apps that identify them and offer deals after a purchase, so it should be fairly easy to ask app users to identify that they are inside a store. It may even be that customers can give permission to a popular app like Facebook to do this automatically.

Some might argue that we are handing over too much data, such as location, preferences, shopping history, and payment details. It‘s true that some customers will be uneasy with this level of data being passed to a retailer, but we can clearly see that customers are comfortable with this online. Why would they not be comfortable in-store too? In fact, looking at the number of customers who feel disappointed and anonymous in stores, it is likely that most customers would be comfortable with more in-store engagement even if this means handing over more data.

Do you think customers need in-store personalisation? Leave a comment below and let me know, or get in touch on LinkedIn.


Webhelp Hires 120 People in Cardiff

 

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp, has announced plans to recruit 120 people at its Cardiff site by the end of this year.

 

The demand is for operations manager, customer service advisors and team leaders working on existing clients at the outsourcer’s base in the Welsh city.

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “This is a fantastic time to become part of a growing business in an exciting industry that is focusing on new technology and the future of customer experience. We have 35,000 employees working at 90 sites in 26 countries and our business growth shows no signs of slowing down.

 

“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 have also just been named the Customer Experience Provider of the Year at the recent Global Sourcing Association awards."

 

The 120 people required by the end of the year will be a combination of operations managers, customer service advisors and team leaders and will focus on voice communication.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 


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Colleagues in India Celebrated at Star Awards

 

CEO gives Vidya Foundation 150,000INR cheque

Vidya Foundation

Leading global customer experience outsourcer, Webhelp, celebrated the dedication and commitment of its colleagues in India at the company’s annual Star Awards on Saturday (Nov 12) held in the sumptuous surroundings of the LPT Lawns at the Tivoli Gardens in New Delhi.

 

Representatives from senior management in the UK joined colleagues in India to celebrate and reward the excellent performance of the team in Gurgaon over the past 12 months.

 

A total of 10 awards in nine categories were presented by director of group central services, Andy Webster, at a special Colours of India themed evening, which included a drinks reception, dinner and dance performances from the Aasma Dance Troupe.

 

 

“Tonight is about thanking the team for a job well done this year, and everyone in this room is a winner in our eyes,” said Andy. “It has been an amazing year for Webhelp. We’ve gained major new clients, such as Shop Direct and Unilever, announced significant European acquisitions, including the recent purchase of top Nordic customer excellence firm, GoExcellent, now known as Webhelp Nordic, and brought on board a fantastic new major shareholder, the global investment group, KKR.

 

“We have also won a number of awards, including the customer experience provider of the year at the recent global sourcing association awards.

 

“None of these amazing achievements would have been possible without the dedication, hard work and commitment our colleagues deliver day in and day out. I am tremendously proud of the team in India and am extremely glad that we can celebrate the best of the best in Webhelp this year at this special night, our second annual Star Awards in India.”

 

The awards were as follows:

 

  • Brightest Star of the Year – Shwait Bain, who has been with Webhelp for two years and has shown remarkable self-development this year and is always keen to support his colleagues

Brightest starBrightest star

  • Spirit of Webhelp Award – Prashant Gill, one of Webhelp’s first colleagues in India and someone who works hard, is dedicated and is always ready with a witty one liner

Spirit of Webhelp

  • Making a Difference Award – The engagement ambassadors, who have worked tirelessly to raise money for charity, but also to integrate the two sites in Gurgaon and create a feeling of community

Making a difference

  • Team of the Year –The resource planning and delivery team for Shop Direct. This team has provided world class support, delivering cost and time savings, exceptional customer service and creative ideas to our new client.

Team of the Year

  • People Manager of the Year –Stuart Walker, who came to India from Scotland and now proudly calls India his second home.

People Manager

  • Shining Star of the Year – Harish Budhiraja, who is always very supportive of his colleagues and maintains fantastic NPS scores

Shining StarShining Star

  • Role Model of the Year – Saurabh Ailwadi, who lives and breathes the Webhelp values by consistently recognising others, is committed to the company and creates unity amongst others. Saurabh won the people manager of the year award last year, so he is obviously enjoying a very successful career here with Webhelp !

Role model

  • WOW Factor – Piyush Gupta, IT manager, who has not just helped colleagues in India when they have any queries or issues but has taken ownership in several UK challenges and projects. Nothing is a challenge or too much trouble for him and he is committed 100% to helping others. 

WOW FactorWOW Factor

  • CEO Special Recognition Award – This award exists to recognise exceptional performance over the last 12 months. CEO, David Turner, found it so difficult to choose this year that he made two awards. One went to Munit Gupta and his operational Sky team, who were also shortlisted for the team of the year award, and the other is the solutions team lead by Rahul Lakhina

 CEO award - operations team

CEO award - solutions team

Each of the winners received a certificate, a plaque and a cheque for 21,000INR.

 

Also, in special recognition of the work the engagement ambassadors have done for the their chosen charity, the Vidya Foundation, Webhelp’s CEO, David Turner, arranged for a cheque for 150,000INR to be given to the charity on behalf of the company.

Vidya Foundation

 

 

 

 


Webhelp Wins Customer Experience Provider of the Year Title at Global Sourcing Association Awards

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp, has been named Customer Experience Provider of the Year at last night’s (Nov 10) prestigious Global Sourcing Association Awards (GSAA), formerly known as the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) Awards.

Now in their 13th year, the GSAA are completely independent and are therefore among the most highly coveted and respected awards in the industry.

Webhelp was chosen as Customer Experience Provider of the Year on the strength of the transformational and collaborative work the outsourcer has done with its clients this year, which include Shop Direct and Post Office.

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the GSA has named us Customer Experience Provider of the Year. This is the culmination of a terrific year of great new client wins, European acquisitions and the support of our new major shareholder, global investment firm, KKR. We believe we are one of the best global customer experience providers and this proves the experts in the industry think so too.”

“Webhelp’s strategic vision is simple: we aim to be the best at engineering the customer experience. We do this on behalf of some of the world’s most progressive brands and through our transformational outsourcing proposition we aim to drive performance improvement and deliver lasting transformation in clients’ operating models to create material financial advantage for them.

“Key to our success has been our approach to partnership. Webhelp is treated as an extension of our clients’ in-house teams, creating a productive, collaborative and skill-rich environment.

“In August 2015 Webhelp partnered with Shop Direct and embarked on an ambitious three year change programme to transform the online retailer’s digital customer experience capability. Using customer experience analytics we have driven improvements through insight and shared data, actionable root-cause and verbatim analysis of customer experience issues. By implementing increased self-serve capabilities we have delivered a better customer experience.

“Webhelp secured a five year contract with the Post Office from January 2015. The client was looking for a transformative customer management solution encompassing a multi-channel contact centre and CRM. Through the deployment of a new Unified Advisor Desktop we created a pivotal solution that would integrate all customer facing and back-office systems and applications into a single advisor interface able to deliver multi-channel sales and service interactions.

“In recent years Webhelp has annually invested seven figure sums to build the most comprehensive analytics capability of any outsourced customer management provider. We’ve done so because we believe every business decision we take – for ourselves and for our clients – should be robust and evidence-based. We believe that our work in this area differentiates us.

“At Webhelp we focus solely on the things that matters most to our clients: the customer experience we deliver and the value it adds to their business. While other providers focus on operational inputs, we commit to business results and invite our clients to evaluate our performance by the contribution we make to revenue gain and cost reduction; to customer experience quality and the advocacy it builds.

“As the GSA Customer Experience Provider of the Year, it is clear these are not just words. Webhelp delivers on its promise to improve customer experience and it is our clients and their customers who reap the benefits.”

 

 

Shop Direct's personalisation success story

Shop_direct_case_study_small

Webhelp partnered with Shop Direct in late 2015, with an ambition to create a ‘digital first’ customer experience.

The goal was a transformation of Shop Direct’s customer service operation over three years to shift towards digital service, enhance the customer experience and reduce base cost.

This partnership won Webhelp the Global Sourcing Association award for customer experience provider of the year 2016.

Download our case study to learn how we did it.

 


Learning About Omni-channel Retail with Willy Wonka

It’s always great to read fantastic customer experience (CX) case studies, but even better when they include food. Dylan’s Candy Bar is an extremely interesting case where they don’t just aim to be a candy retailer; they offer each customer a “retailtainment experience”.

As you might have guessed, “retailtainment” is a blend of retail with entertainment. Dylan’s Candy Store aims to make a visit to their stores fun and exciting, encouraging customers to not only return, but to become advocates who recommend the experience to their friends.

The inspiration for the stores is Willy Wonka, the zany chocolate factory owner from Roald Dahl’s classic book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The company receives over two million visits per year to their New York store alone; and bright colours, a warm environment, and unusual in-store experiences such as 3D printing and personalisation drive many of these visits.

The brand aims to fuse retail, the customer experience, and e-commerce as business concepts that should be more closely connected. They have an omni-channel strategy that insists the in-store experience should be just as much fun as using their online shopping channels.

In short, Dylan’s Candy Store is a brand that has identified their primary goal as the creation of an emotional bond with the customer through a great environment, products, and experience. By achieving this bond, all the other important metrics (like sales) automatically follow.

This focus on building a brand around the emotions of the customer is an ideal situation that meets modern customer expectations, but it’s not very common. How many businesses can you think of that are so customer-centric that emotional bonding is their priority? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on LinkedIn.


Webhelp Recruits 170 in Dearne Valley

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp, has announced plans to recruit 170 people at its Dearne Valley site by the end of this year.

 

The demand is for customer service and sales advisors supporting existing clients at the outsourcer’s base in Manvers, Rotherham.

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “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. We have 35,000 people at 90 sites in 26 countries and our business growth shows no signs of slowing down.

 

“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.”

 

The 170 people required by the end of the year will be a combination of customer service and sales advisors and will focus on voice communication.

 

The roles are full time (40hrs per week).

 

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

 

 

 


Chat Apps Should Be at the Heart of Your CX Strategy

chat apps messengers customer experience

One of the biggest changes in the customer experience over the past few years has been the introduction of chat apps and messengers. Facebook has even released a toolkit for their own Messenger that allows the service to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) when interacting with customers.

This is an important development for smaller businesses. Could you imagine a flower store a couple of years ago having an AI customer service centre available 24/7? Now it’s possible thanks to the free tools Facebook makes available.

But what is really happening is a shift towards text-based communication. People now prefer to text and have conversations on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, rather than making calls. With this shift taking place in the way people communicate, it’s important for companies to adjust to customer desires and improve the ways that they offer chat app- or Messenger-based customer service.

It’s worth knowing that Facebook is constantly rolling out new features for Messenger. The latest is a polling system and peer-to-peer payment. The polling service allows groups of friends to take decisions together interactively. Imagine you are meeting a group of six friends for dinner, but you don’t know where to go. Create a poll featuring the top three choices of venue and let everyone who is on the chat vote on their preference – a great way to speed up group decisions!

Peer-to-peer payments and payment reminders are interesting too, because they enable individuals to send money to each other using Messenger. If you owe your friend £20 then they can request to be repaid via Messenger and the system will automatically remind you if you have not paid. The reminder service is very useful, but the ability to pay friends anywhere in the world, so long as they are on Facebook, is a very exciting financial service.

It’s clear from these developments, and the way the public is generally behaving, that messengers are only going to become more important in 2017 as a link between brands and customers. How far are you in your own strategies when it comes to what chat apps can do for your business? Leave a comment below and let me know, or contact me on LinkedIn.


Webhelp Receives Special Commendation at VIBES Awards

Leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp, has received a special commendation in this year’s Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards.

 

The VIBES Awards, now in their 17th year, recognise the commitment, actions and achievements of Scottish companies working hard to reduce their impact on the environment.

 

Webhelp has its UK headquarters in Falkirk and has additional sites across Scotland in Greenock, Dunoon, Kilmarnock, Rothesay and Glasgow, together employing more than two thousand people.

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp explained why this commendation is so important to the company: “We are very committed to protecting the environments in which we operate and we’ve invested around £250,000 in the last three years to improve our performance in this area. We are lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful parts of the world and it is our responsibility to ensure we do our part to keep them that way.

 

“I’m delighted by the improvements we have made and I would like to thank each and every one of the dedicated ambassadors and team members whose commitment to this cause has resulted in us receiving this special commendation.”

 

Gillian Bruce, chair of the VIBES Awards, said: “VIBES is dedicated to recognising companies which have taken significant steps to reducing their environmental impact”.

 

Picture caption: The Webhelp team receives its special commendation at the VIBES awards in Glasgow on November 8, 2016

 

 


easyJet Creates 37 Jobs at Webhelp’s Rothesay Site

 easyJet, Europe’s leading airline has created 37 new jobs at leading global customer experience and business process outsourcing company, Webhelp.

 

There were 23 people working for Webhelp on the easyJet account on a temporary basis and the signing of a permanent contract not only secures those 23 people on a permanent basis but also allows the company to recruit a further 14 people.

 

Lisa Burger, easyJet’s Head of Customer, said: “This is an important boost to the local economy and we are delighted to be creating 14 new jobs at Webhelp’s Rothesay site in addition to making 23 existing roles permanent.

“We have been working with the Webhelp team for a number of months and have been very impressed by the quality of their work. We know that Rothesay has many experienced customer service advisors and we look forward to being able to make the most of their valuable experience to support easyJet’s customers.

“It is very important to us to be able to offer our customers a consistently high quality experience and we are lucky to have a dedicated and passionate team. We are sure those in Rothesay will be no exception.”

 

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, said: “This is fantastic news for our site at Rothesay and a tremendous boost to the local community. The team has been working on a trial basis for the last four months and I am delighted that they have been able to prove to easyJet the real value of our heritage site and team in Rothesay.

“Coming on the back of the recent news that Rothesay was chosen as the site to provide customer experience services for the new Scottish Children’s Lottery, this news is a further boost to a tremendously hard working and loyal community.

“Being able to confirm another high profile and prestigious name like easyJet to the community in Rothesay is a great testament to the dedication and commitment of this fantastic team of people.”

Jennifer Nicoll, area manager with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “This is great news for Webhelp and for Rothesay, and especially welcome during Argyll Enterprise Week as we celebrate what Argyll has to offer businesses. Webhelp is a long standing, important local employer on Bute and the decision to expand in Rothesay is a statement of confidence and commitment to the island. We very much welcome this commitment and look forward to continuing to support Webhelp as it strengthens its presence in the area.”

 

The Webhelp team in Rothesay will be responsible for handling email enquiries covering the full spectrum of queries you would expect an airline to have to deal with. In addition, on the strength of the work delivered over the past few months, the Webhelp team in Rothesay has been chosen to provide email support services to easyJet’s executive team.

 

Picture caption: Richard Lawrence (centre), easyJet’s resolution and service excellence manager, with Webhelp’s COO, Andy Doig (front left) and Stuart Knapper, Webhelp’s head of site for Rothesay, with some of the Rothesay team who have secured the easyJet contract.

 

 

 

For further information, please contact the easyJet Press Office on 01582 525252, log onto www.easyjet.com or follow @easyJet_Press