Whitepaper: Reimagining service for the new world

Whitepaper 14th July 2020

A framework for tomorrow’s successful customer-focused operating models

As the urgency for change and transformation intensifies in the post COVID landscape, some pivotal questions will be raised: How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations need to adapt? And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises?”

This new Whitepaper, reimagining service for the new world aims to address these crucial questions and discover more about how to leverage customer service models in this new world.

This is a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, is underpinned by our unique industry perspective and new research to reveal the operating models of the future.

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“Globalization does not make a nation competitive by nature…”

Co-founder of Webhelp, Olivier Duha shares his opinion on globalization in these thought-provoking times.

When things go wrong, it is common for people to search for a guilty party, someone who is responsible for the pain experienced. The crisis we are going through has not escaped this rule and, of those considered culpable, globalization tops the list.

Already accused of causing mass unemployment, increasing inequalities, weakening local culture and driving up global warming, globalization is now considered responsible for the circulation of the virus and for our dependence on strategic foreign assets.

The accusations against globalization are flawed. The reality is that globalization has become the victim of many biases.

  1. Cognitive biases, what Steven Pinker called “progress phobia”. Our minds, for example, naturally tend to focus on costs rather than benefits, the evil can sometimes appear stronger than the good. These biases lead us to forget or ignore the progress that globalization has made during the twentieth century. The rate of extreme poverty (considered by X as earning/having less than $ 1.90 / day) fell from 60%, to 10% between 1950 and 2015. Life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900, from 32 to 72 years. Famine and malnutrition, conflicts and wars, infant mortality, illiteracy, slavery and servitude; all over the world these evils are in free fall, and despite what the daily news is pouring out to us, we are witnessing the most dizzying improvement in our living conditions that the world has ever known
  2. Cultural biases: criticism of globalization is a "privilege" of Western populations, places where individuals have inherited progress rather than felt the immediate effects in their lifetime. In developing countries, the effects can be seen in a much more concrete way. We benefit from progress without realizing it, while we feel the costs of globalization more directly
  3. Fundamental aspiration: imagining a “de-globalized” world has no meaning or future. Firstly, because globalization responds to a fundamental human aspiration of exchange, which is the expression of freedom. As economist Ricardo said in 1817, freedom is the most effective engine of growth, and homage there is no progress without growth. In addition, we can view globalization as a drug for society - a socio-degenerative phenomenon for some, an ecological disaster for others. For many, globalization remains a powerful trigger of our strongest consumerist impulses.

As Sébastien Bohler (author of The Human Bug, 2019) notes globalization is our best ally, as it has made it possible to democratize what was for thousands of years reserved for an elite. In this context, the debate is not “should we try to stop globalization?”, but “how can we make globalization more virtuous?”

First of all, it is essential to never lose sight of the fact that globalization does not make a nation competitive by nature. It is the competitiveness of a nation that enables it to enjoy the potential of globalization.

We can work to create a more “reasoned” globalization by preserving free trade while taking a firmer view of the proponents of short-termism or the selfishness of states.

If the debate on industrial sovereignty opened by the crisis is legitimate, we must above all give ourselves the means to be part of global competition, to benefit from the multiplier effect of a global playing field. This requires stable and effective regulations co-constructed with economic players, investment in infrastructure (telecoms, energy, freight), training and research, and coordinated and proactive policies.

The means to place a price on carbon, protect intellectual property rights, apply anti-social policies or anti-public subsidy measures are known. It is the political will to apply them consistently at the global level that is lacking. For that to happen, multilateralism must be overhauled, out of the quagmire of the “Doha Round” initiated by the WTO in 2001, which to this day has not seen any results.

The challenge is immense, but the gravity of the current situation imposes on us an urgent need to reassess the current world order.

This article was originally posted on L'Opinion.

Reimagining service – Banking spotlight

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks and financial service firms across the world played a critical role as key workers; supporting economies and communities alike as government interventions required support to be stood up at scale and at short notice.

The drive, determination and flexibility of people across the sector to deliver during one of the most volatile periods in decades was remarkable to witness. Teams went above and beyond as we all adjusted to new working practices, the increased demand for mortgage holidays and also requests for emergency loans and distribution of funds as rapid state interventions were rolled out.

While many firms just about managed to deliver service to anxious customers during the darkest days of the crisis; many came away with a sense that delivering seamless, multichannel service, reimagining the art of the possible and adapting to the shifting sands of customer demand, felt far more difficult than it should have - with many leaders concerned about their ability to weather future storms.

As the pressure continues to mount on banks to support economic recovery and deliver for customers who are now carrying refreshed expectations of what ‘good’ service looks and feels like; we have seen firms across the world emerge with a palpable hunger to reassess, refocus and accelerate transformation programmes.

Getting this right will take more than simply moving faster than before. Engaging and empowering people, driving focus in the right areas and challenging some of the sectors most ingrained ways of working and culture must all be aggressively pursued, to help build stronger and more resilient banks fit for our new future.

As the backbone of economic recovery across the world, banks cannot afford to get this wrong.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.


Over 60% of business leaders are re-evaluating how much they will be investing in change & transformation since COVID-19

New research from Gobeyond Partners, the consulting firm focused on customer journey transformation, and Webhelp, Europe’s leading provider of outsourced customer engagement services, has today revealed that over 60% of business leaders are re-evaluating how much they will be investing in change and transformation since COVID-19, yet only a third of survey respondents are committing to a higher spend in this area.

Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp surveyed 500 respondents at director level and above across a range of industries about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. By combining Webhelp’s expertise in customer engagement with Gobeyond Partners’ customer journey design and transformation capabilities, the two organisations were able to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 across a number of key areas and offer recommendations to businesses as they start to plan towards a post pandemic world. When it comes to the issue of transformation, the research highlights the value of an intelligent use of rightsourcing* which will be crucial for businesses to establish the most cost effective and relevant solutions to support the flexibility and speed needed during this transition period.

Change and transformation are two of a number of data points highlighted in the joint research and accompanying report by Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp which explores how consumers are now demanding more human experiences, even in digital environments, and why organisations must balance agility and adaptability against a clear focus on maximising value from investment in transformation.

Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners comments on the findings: “As the urgency for change and transformation intensifies in our new reality, it raises some pivotal questions. How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations need to adapt? And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises? The engineering of an authentic human experience in the digital world will need a delicate balance, and companies will need to work hard to create service transformation that satisfies both these needs. This may expose a lack of capability and flexibility inherent in many organisations, due to a lack of investment. For brands to survive, leaders can no longer pay lip service to digital transformation and digital must be fully integrated into the overall operating model.”

Other key findings from the joint research include:

  • 70% of businesses have seen a direct impact to their bottom line as a result of COVID-19, with more than half being negatively affected.
  • These financial impacts are expected to last, with more than 80% of respondents believing they will be financially impacted for six months or more and 50% expecting their finances to be affected for more than a year.
  • Companies that have been affected negatively by COVID-19 are twice as likely to expect cuts to their transformation budgets after the pandemic has subsided.

Craig Gibson, Chief Growth Officer at Webhelp Group continues: “Overall whilst budgets may reduce, spend on individual change and transformation programmes should not be reduced commensurately. Instead, the entire change portfolio should be reviewed and reprioritised. Now is the time to focus on and invest in a critical, clear and concise set of priorities, which the whole organisation can communicate and contribute to. This will ensure that the most critical agenda items will accelerate, without depleting vital cash reserves.”

*Rightsourcing is the process involved in selecting the best way to deliver services based on what a business needs resulting in the most appropriate sourcing arrangement to help organisations meet their strategic goals.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.

Webhelp celebrates a Cape Town community hero on World Humanitarian Day

Webhelp UK Region is celebrating World Humanitarian Day by sharing a very special story, highlighting how one big-hearted employee is making an incredible difference to those directly affected by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

Donna Oakes, part of the Claremont Facilities Team, founded Alms of Love in 2016, a non-government organisation (NGO), which means it does not receive government support and is founded and funded by citizens. The organisation was inspired by a personal experience in a settlement near her home, as she explains:

"As I drove along the gravel path, I was greeted by a group of dirty-faced, barely clothed children who were about 3 and 4 years of age, and my heart broke. I was shocked to see how poverty had gripped this small community and thought - how can I live so close to a community that is so clearly in need of help?"

Motivated to find a constructive way to make a difference, she created Alms of Love to give freely and completely to those who need it most. Unfortunately the COVID crisis had a significant impact on those already in poverty, and the need for support increased in Donna’s community during lockdown. Low-income households were hit by job losses and food quickly became an urgent requirement for families. Donna quickly realised that;
“Access to nutritious meals can be difficult for some members of the community at the best of times but knowing that children could be going to bed hungry drove me to do all I could for the disadvantaged in my community during lockdown.”

Reimagining Service: Telco spotlight

Prior to the pandemic, the Telco industry displayed a competitive and pressured cycle of customer recruitment. Using short term promotions hinged against quarterly goals with the ambition to replace lost customers with fresh ones, the sector concentrated investment on infrastructure and technology. Ironically, this strategy increased customer attrition due to post-promotion price friction and low investment in customer service and employee skills.

But COVID-19 has interrupted this cycle, by reducing new business, especially in the smartphone market, resulting in customers temporarily staying put. This provides a unique opportunity to retain and maximise profits from loyal consumers, by addressing consumer churn caused by inadequate customer service.

Companies that remain with irrelevant quarterly strategies, relying on promotions and weak customer journeys, put themselves at risk of damaging consumer trust and will emerge from this period of transformation behind the curve.

Instead, giving consumers and networks an equal value base for investment could substantially bolster revenue, as Bain research suggests that customer loyalty leaders increase revenue 2.5 times faster than industry peers and could deliver 2-5 times more in shareholder returns over the next decade.

Crucially loyalty can be increased by a more human and personalised approach to customer service, with a focus on building trust and anticipating customer needs. Advisor longevity helps to create customer connection with the brand and consistency builds trust and credibility, so the entire customer journey must be a positive emotional experience.

Interestingly, a Webhelp survey reported low emotional connection in the Telcoms sector, at just 15%. There are benefits to be reaped here as emotionally connected customers are more likely to purchase within the brand, remain more loyal and will actually pay more, negating the need for aggressive price structuring.

Prioritising customer service may require transformation in both outlook and operations, but being proactive now will increase market share after the post COVID consumer behavior shift. The industry must switch track and fully commit to a long-term mindset, start regarding current customers as a valued and profitable assets, and strengthen consumer loyalty to benefit the sector.

There has never been a better time to change the game.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.


Business Director, Jodie Smith interviewed by Insider Media

Webhelp UK Group Business Director, Jodie Smith was featured by Insider Media in their Northern Powerhouse series - where she outlined what the initiative means to her, how to make the North an attractive place to work and build a business, and the importance of investment to ensure all regions can contribute to the UK's Covid-19 recovery.

The Northern Powerhouse has the goal of boosting economic growth in the North of England, particularly in the "Core Cities" of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle.

Jodie highlighted that, as Webhelp recognises with our own vision to make businesses more human, this growth should always start by investing in people. She added:

“Infrastructure and technology are of course vital enablers but we must always focus on the talent in the North, supporting their development, and helping them reach their full potential. Collaboration is so important too — we encourage our teams to embody that spirit, as there are infinite opportunities to work closely with clients and partners in our regions and beyond.”

“At Webhelp, we're already investing in our people through training and employee wellbeing programmes. As a result, our clients know that our talented people can be game-changers for their businesses. A Northern Powerhouse that is firing on all cylinders will help to support the investment we're making to ensure that we keep skilled employees in the region.”

Read the full story here: Powerhouse Perspective Jodie Smith


Meet our Advisors – Ibtishaam from South Africa (ep.3)

The golden rule for great customer experience is to "treat customers as you would like to be treated".

I remember I had an elderly customer who was seeking assistance regarding ordering fresh flowers. The fresh flowers were for her husband who was in a care home at the time. She was quite a lovely customer and very talkative. I took my time to listen to her as she was a bit confused thinking she could purchase her fresh flowers from us.

I then took the time to explain to her that I was working for the company who delivers on behalf of the suppliers from where she can purchase some lovely fresh flowers. I provided her with some supplier's contact details. I advised her about online websites to read more about the flowers as well as to view them online before just purchasing any bunch of flowers.

The customer was very thankful that she got through to me. She couldn't stop thanking me. This is the kind of experience that makes me appreciate my job because I was able to educate my customer and I knew that she couldn't go wrong when purchasing those flowers.