3 questions for Nora Boros, Head of Global Sector – Travel, Transportation & Leisure, on the challenges and opportunities of the GDPR*

Nora Boros reflects on the challenges and opportunities of the GDPR for the Travel sector and focuses on the changes that will take place in Customer Relations in general when this new regulation comes into force.

1. In general terms, what are the main challenges posed by the GDPR for a company specialising in Customer Relations outsourcing such as Webhelp?

For all business sectors, the GDPR represents a strategic challenge: compliance with respect to the protection of personal data. It is real business and reputational challenge for any company.

In the case of Webhelp, which focuses on Customer Relations, compliance is coordinated by our DPO Group. We have prioritised the work around 3 key areas, which are all focused on improving the quality of our services in view of the challenges posed by data. Firstly, we will be supporting our principals with the implementation of the GDPR and its relationship with us, the subcontractor. It is not simply a case of amending contract clauses, but rather of rewriting these commitments through concrete actions in our areas of responsibility as reflected in the regulation, especially in terms of advice on data protection. In parallel, we want to bring about a cultural shift in the organisation towards ongoing awareness of the challenges of privacy. For our advisors, customer data has always been at the heart of their day-to-day work. Every day, in their interactions with customers, they handle data responsibly. What will change is customers' awareness of exercising their rights and how we respond to this. We are doing this in partnership with our customers in order to incorporate their privacy rules into our operations. And it is this third main point that is our core purpose: being able to ensure our customers' data is processed securely and transparently and adopting a responsible attitude to their requests for information. We are convinced that the process of customers becoming aware of their data is now well underway and we need to fully buy into this as it is a key factor in Customer Relations and hence vital to customer satisfaction.

To sum up our strategy, Webhelp is developing the concept of Corporate Data Responsibility (CDR) for internal use and also for our customers. We have therefore created a Data Protection Solutions offering that includes a broad portfolio of Data Compliance services targeting customer relations. We have a team of global Data Privacy experts. This team can manage customer requests relating to their data, and track and action these queries. It's an approach that we have adopted internally as well as for our principals focusing on their Data Privacy risk management policy.

 

2. How is the GDPR a challenge for the Travel sector?

The Travel sector is an industry in which the concept of service is constantly evolving to meet the customer's needs. New technologies - through API data exchange, data analysis or even Virtual Reality - are powerful tools for delivering solutions that are increasingly detailed and tailored to their needs. For example, we can maintain 24/7 customer relations with the use of a chatbot, providing a first line response or even offering more bespoke solutions for a hotel group, tour operator or airline through Data Analytics. All these technologies help us to fine-tune our customer response. The more detailed and structured the data we have at our disposal, the greater our knowledge of the various parties we need to satisfy. To achieve this and ensure that the chatbot or robotics modules are providing a relevant response, we must firstly generate a large data set, and then, once it is operational, this technology will create other data in an automated fashion.

Indeed, the Travel sector has entered the age of hyper-personalisation and customers expect us to be able to offer them a practically bespoke solution based on their profile. For example, in a hotel chain, the customer expects a guest experience that caters to their habits. Another change relates to what is known as the Augmented Traveller. For example, in Sweden, the public transport network is currently trialling a microchip embedded under the skin of 1,500 people, which works like a travel pass. And in Berlin, a pair of connected Adidas trainers give wearers free access to the public transport network via a built-in travel pass.

Nevertheless, we now have to manage these situations and the notion of the "Privacy Paradox", according to which customers are willing to give their data only if they receive a service in return, while they sometimes leave behind a digital footprint, meaning data, without any knowledge of its intended purpose.

 

3.What is the outlook for the coming months and years?

For us, the GDPR is an excellent opportunity to structure and regulate the data market - in which we have a key role to play since we handle over 2 million customer interactions daily across all channels.

When it comes to the Travel sector, customer solutions and services will become increasingly individual and the data that is processed and analysed will be a vital asset for effective Customer Relations. To achieve this. Webhelp will be recognised as a key player in customer data management and a company which guarantees data security and transparency. We will be there among data operators across the entire value chain of the data economy.

With customers now becoming aware of the monetary and ethical value of their data, these "data producers" are showing us the way towards the emerging business model. I can envisage that in 3 to 5 years from now, we will have to design a new customer journey where it will be possible to give or restrict access to a set of data according to its type and its temporality. Indeed, customers will want to control when and to whom they give access to their data and the right to "disconnect" will be a feature of future requests. We are already seeing the emergence of products along these lines: for example, Microsoft now offers an open source voice assistant with an option to not share data with third parties, which enables individuals to trace their data more effectively.

Let me know what you think, lets get in touch via my LinkedIn.

 

Let's keep in touch

 

*European General Data Protection Regulation


Webhelp employees in Dunoon Brave the Shave for Charity

 

DUNOON, UK, May 29, 2018 Two courageous Webhelp employees in Dunoon have braved the shave to help raise just under £1000 for The Mental Health Foundation.

During a hair-raising fundraising evening at Dunoon’s Kirn Bowling Club on Friday May 25, training advisor, Callum Goffin, volunteered to have his head completely shaved and colleague Shaun Smith, who is a customer advisor, took the brave step to undergo a full leg waxing.

Callum said: “I’m not going to lie I felt a fair bit of trepidation when I saw the clippers appear; however when you put it into context and look at what others go through who suffer from mental health issues, it felt like a small sacrifice to make for such an amazing cause”.

Shaun added:” I don’t know how on earth people can wax themselves regularly as part of a beauty routine; thankfully for me I’ve only had to do it once. My colleagues clearly liked seeing me suffer though as they dug deep and showed their support to help make it a brilliant night that raised lots of money.”

The fun continued late into the evening, with games taking place and a raffle, courtesy of prizes donated by generous local businesses.

Anton Manley, Chief Operating Officer at Webhelp UK, said: “it’s great to see the lengths that our people will go to for such a fantastic cause which is reflected in the amount raised for The Mental Health Foundation.

“Hats off especially to both Callum and Shaun for truly going above and beyond to help us reach our total; and to everyone else who helped support such an amazing evening”

ENDS

Press information:

Ewan McKay, Marketing and Communications Manager at Webhelp, on +44(0)7980 411230, ewan.mckay@uk.webhelp.com


Webhelp Football Match helps to raise £1300

Webhelp Football Match helps to raise £1300 for the Mental Health Foundation and the Bute Dialysis unit

FALKIRK, UK, May 28, 2018 Webhelp UK, one of the country’s leading business process outsourcers (BPO), has donated a total of £1300 to the Mental Health Foundation and the Bute Dialysis unit following a football challenge match between its employees in Falkirk and Rothesay.

The match was played at The Falkirk Stadium on Saturday May 26, home of Scottish Championship side, Falkirk Football Club; who kindly donated the use of the pitch completely free of charge for the day.

The idea to play the match came following a new Webhelp initiative, which aims to provide its employees with more encouragement and support to improve their physical and mental well-being; and to deliver greater health and happiness in the workplace.

Anton Manley, Chief Operating Officer at Webhelp UK, said: “Congratulations to our teams and everyone involved at both sites for such an impressive effort.  They have raised a fantastic amount of money for two very worthy causes. It makes me feel very proud to have so many people within the business that selflessly spend their time planning and carrying out fundraising activities, not only for worthy causes in their local communities but also UK wide.

“A big thanks also goes to Falkirk Football club for allowing us to use their stadium and facilities on the day; an amazing gesture which has enabled us to boost the fundraising total even further.”

In a highly competitive but friendly match, the Webhelp Falkirk team beat their colleagues in Rothesay by six goals to nil. Although a strong score line for Falkirk, Rothesay did have some chances but unfortunately couldn’t convert them.

ENDS

Press information:

Ewan McKay, Marketing and Communications Manager at Webhelp, on +44(0)7980 411230, ewan.mckay@uk.webhelp.com


Omni-Channel excellence – a path worth travelling

Offering a unique, uniform, smooth and seamless experience for your customers before, during and after their purchase, has become the standard of good practice for marketers and has proven to be extremely rewarding. But with a big increase in channels added to the service experience, gaps in ways certain processes are handled are still a challenge for many brands. Achieving an excellent Omni-Channel strategy takes time, consistency and proper adaption as new channel integration can be very fluid. With a strong increase in the usage of digital channels by consumers and as many as 43% saying they would stop doing business with a company if they don’t provide a strong and seamless digital presence, offering a smooth experience for customers is more important than ever (source: ttec.com). Providing the same experience, using different devices and interacting through different channels is the core of a thorough Omni-Channel strategy.

Considering that most consumers spend more when multiple channels are aligned in services, the Omni-Channel experience should focus on an equally strong presence in:

  • Online
  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Service center and personal interaction
  • Data
  • App
  • E-mail
  • Social media
  • Offline

Providing a uniform customer experience becomes particularly challenging when considering the different needs and importance of the separate channels in terms of culture (local culture vs. company brand and presence). Gaining detailed insights into customer behaviour and understanding their motivation can be the first step in carving out a successful strategy. Training personnel with the right tools and authorizations to provide a fast and uniform experience as well as offering real time alerts for mobile users to sync to store offers or improving the workflow through automated stocking tools can all support the integration of a seamless strategy.

Proper data management not only optimizes a brand´s potential for excellent communication but is the most valuable asset in building Omni-Channel excellence. Utilizing and implementing artificial intelligence tools in proper segmentation and customer lifecycle management is not only a trend, but the base for a successful strategy. By providing consumers with a uniform service and additional touchpoints throughout their journey that continue to transport the same message – a longer and richer experience can be achieved.

While certain channels continue to gain traction, for example through mobile sales or social sales, the customer experience as a whole remains at the centre of a successful strategy implementation. Sales through mobile apps or social media might have drastically increased, but customers are still expecting the same attention, interaction and service quality when contacting a service centeror visiting a store.

What do you think is the most important step in creating the best fully-integrated shopping experience for your customers?


Webhelp acquires Runway BPO

Webhelp reinforces its best-in-class nearshore portfolio

Acquisition of Top Multilingual Customer Experience Firm Runway BPO Completed

PARIS, May 16th, 2018 – Global leading BPO and customer experience company Webhelp has confirmed the acquisition of the majority of the share capital of top multilingual nearshore firm Runway BPO has been completed.

Runway, which is headquartered in Riga – Latvia, brings an additional nine multilingual centres and 1,000 people across Latvia and new countries for Webhelp; Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Spain to the Group, as well as additional expertise in not just sectors such as travel and consumer goods but also activities such as accounting, IT, and HR outsourcing, complementing Webhelp’s existing portfolio perfectly.

Runway celebrates its 15-year anniversary this year and has enjoyed strong growth under the leadership of its founder Nils Sundling and CEO Uldis Prieditis. The team responsible for the company’s success will remain in place to ensure the expertise, contacts and local knowledge are maintained and harnessed to maximise the opportunities for development in the Nordic region and across Europe.

Frédéric Jousset, co-founder of Webhelp, said:

Runway is an excellent business with a strong track record of delivering first-class customer experience on behalf of Scandinavian and international clients. We are very excited about joining forces with the company, its management team and employees, to expand Webhelp’s global footprint and support the company in the Scandinavian market with the resources available from our group organisation and investors.

Uldis Prieditis, CEO of Runway BPO, said:

Ever since Runway was established, 15 years ago, we have been driven by the ambition to become a well-known and reputable partner in the Scandinavian BPO market with a strong focus on excellent CRM experience, particularly in terms of quality delivered and tailor-made solutions provided. Our efforts have resulted in long-lasting partnerships with our clients, many of which we’ve been with for more than 10 years now and an amazing team of more than 1,000 great people working for our clients each day. Our ambition is now to expand internationally as well. With this focus a change in ownership to the Webhelp Group is a perfect fit for the company, its clients and employees. The increased growth opportunities will help support employment and the best practice sharing with our sister companies within the international group will help us to bring Runway to an even higher level.”

This acquisition is part of Webhelp's strategy to actively pursue geographical expansion as well as reinforce its sectorial expertise, and will allow Webhelp to offer its clients services from four new countries, each with strong multilingual capabilities.

The past 2 years have been very significant in the history of Webhelp. Major new client wins, strategic acquisitions, and the commitment from global investment firm KKR, have marked a real turning point in the Webhelp story, which is now truly one of the leaders in the BPO sector.


Talent Relationship Management: Top Tips for a Successful Job Posting

Everyone seems to be talking about Talent Relationship Management (TRM) today. The dynamics are quite similar to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

CRM refers to all the practices, strategies and technologies utilized by companies to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.

Just like CRM solutions help companies drive customer relationships and retention, TRM helps businesses develop relationships with candidates and retain their interest beyond the hiring cycle. The key aim is to attract promising new employees and create a long-term bond with the most talented ones.

TRM covers the entire process: from the first contact with the applicant, to the recruitment and onboarding of new starters.

Successful TRM is based on the following three factors: Attraction, Transaction and Connection. We want to discuss each of them in more detail and provide some valuable tips as well as best practice examples by our Head of Recruitment Strategy and passionate recruiting expert Helena Stepanow.

Attraction:

This step measures how effective companies are at attracting talent to their career site, and it also assesses the overall functionality of their site.

  1. The right job title

Make sure to keep it plain and simple, using terms that are acknowledged in the industry.

Also use Google Trends to identify relevant keywords for search engine optimization. Ask yourself: Is quality or quantity more important?

Further, ensure to stay away from sugarcoating positions. Speak directly to your target audience and provide realistic and authentic info instead.

  1. Teaser text

The first paragraph in a job ad must be catchy, attractive and reveal key benefits by hinting at the company culture and advantages for the applicant.

  1. Keywords / SEO

According to Helena Stepanow, “here it is all about search engine optimization and the question, what do applicants as well as search engines look for? So the more relevant keywords you use in your job description, the more relevant the position becomes for both job portals and candidates.”

  1. Mobile optimization

Studies suggest that about 54 % of applicants get lost on the way, if the career site is not responsive. This includes things like using block text instead of bullet points.

Helena adds: “Various studies reveal that most people look for jobs in the morning or around noon, and preferably at the start of the week – mostly via mobile devices.

SELLBYTEL uses these kinds of information to really understand the target groups, their behaviors and needs. The result is a very user-friendly, simple and straight-forward mobile website.”

Have a look at our various career options!

  1. Length

The perfect job ad should be no longer than 240 words. Pretty short, right? However, it’s always good to keep things short and sweet.

  1. Continuous evaluation

“Adapt the posting along the way, consider parallel ads and regularly check click rates. Analyze, analyze, analyze! Use tracking tools, like the one provided by Indeed, that reveal how applicants heard of your job – rather than just asking people to add a note manually. This tends to be rather inaccurate and statistically invalid”, Helena suggests.

  1. Avoid empty phrases

Try to differentiate between seriously required skills and meaningless terms, identifying the relevance and necessity of, e.g. communication skills, for the respective position.

Connection:

This describes how well organizations communicate with their prospects and applicants through content and personalization.

  1. Response & communication

Helena explains: “This includes factors like the application status, the acknowledgement of receipt as well as personalized rejections.

It’s all about transparency here and keeping the candidate in a close relationship with the recruiter. So make sure to display early on what your application process exactly looks like.

To ensure that, SELLBYTEL has been working on a new fact sheet that includes valuable info on the respective project, the positon, its requirements and benefits as well as the roadmap of the ongoing application process.”

  1. Candidate feedback & evaluation

Here it is all about measuring and evaluating the actual candidate experience, i.e. all impressions collected by an applicant throughout the entire application process.

At SELLBYTEL, this means the candidate receives a detailed feedback sheet with questions covering all the application steps following the contract signing. Helena points out: “We always work on our current processes and our team wants to make sure to constantly improve. This can only be done by honestly asking our candidates what they enjoyed in our process and what we can actually do better.”

Transaction:

This is a final walkthrough of the application experience from beginning to end. The most decisive step here is the application form and its simplicity.

Therefore, ensure to answer questions for yourself like: How should our application form be designed in order for it to be as clear and straight-forward as possible? What could be potential hurdles for the candidate? Have we added a contact option via chat or Whatsapp?

Helena adds: “It is absolutely key to present the applicant with a variety of options to apply, especially online via email or also professional platforms like Xing or LinkedIn. Always keep it short and simple.

SELLBYTEL complements this by regularly looking at the competition and their strategies. Here we do not merely concentrate on major firms, but also smaller, often very innovative start-ups. A great reference for that are the winners of the annual HR Excellence Awards.”

In a nutshell

Finally, it is key to conduct a thorough evaluation of all steps at the end of the application process in order to identify scope for further potential improvement. Always make sure to assess the process with the applicant’s eyes and take their perspective. After all, we want candidates to join our teams, or if not, to recommend us and keep us in good memory. That’s the kind of candidate experience we should all look for.