Albania Article multinlingual

Webhelp expands with launch of multilingual site in Albania

Albania Article multinlingual

Webhelp partners with global beauty client to bolster customer service

Milan, Italy – 29 April 2021

Webhelp, a leading global customer experience and business solutions provider, has proudly launched a new site in Tirana, Albania, as part of its strategic growth in the Italian market.

The site was officially opened on 15th April 2021 and will support a global beauty client by providing full-fledged customer service support to bolster their customer experience.

Andrea Coli, Chief Executive Officer at Webhelp Italy, said:

“We are very proud to open our Tirana site and strengthen our unique best shoring capabilities, particularly for the Italian market. We are eager to grow our team in Albania and support new and existing partners while contributing to the local economy through career development opportunities. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with our new partner and are excited to work with such a global leader in the beauty industry.”

Since the site opening, the business is in the process of hiring and intends to create 200 jobs initially, growing to as many as 500 team members in 2022. The Albania site, selected for the geographical proximity to existing Italian operations, will offer customer experience and content management services to global clients mainly in Italian, English, German, Spanish and can offer service in Albanian and Greek for local partners.

This expansion marks the latest addition to Webhelp’s strong best-shoring network, built to leverage the strengths of its many locations to best serve local and international clients in Europe.

The Tirana office will be managed by Webhelp’s team in Milan, which also covers Italy and the Czech Republic.

Webhelp plans to utilize its 20 years of experience, dynamic expertise, and global way of working to contribute to Tirana’s economic development and the success of the customer experience industry in Albania.

Driven by a vision of making business more human and a solid and unique company culture based on a community of over 75,000 passionate game-changers, Webhelp thrives on making an impact by helping clients in a way that can deliver real value.


B2B Marketplace payment terms

B2B Marketplace: how to reduce payment terms?

B2B Marketplace payment terms

Payment terms, if not met, do businesses a disservice by depriving them of a source of funds. In the case of B2B marketplaces, which act as a link between professional sellers and buyers, it will be crucial to manage these deadlines by offering tailor-made solutions adapted to the business lines and operating models.

Although the Modernisation of the Economy Act (LME), which entered into force on 5 August 2008, made it possible to reduce payment terms and thus improve the cash flow of some suppliers, these payment terms vary greatly from one sector to another*.

On average, payment terms are 44 days for customers across all industries, with 25 days for commercial customers compared with 55 days for manufacturing industries. Within these same industries, companies pay their suppliers between 42 and 61 days on average.

Délais de paiement marketplace B2B

How can one remove barriers and offer buyers payment terms while keeping control of the seller’s cash flow and exposure to risk?

This is the equation that operators must solve in order to convince buyers to finalise a transaction and to ensure that sellers use the marketplace as a strategic axis for growth.

As a payment institution, Webhelp Payment Services is used to working with different business sectors such as fashion, agri-food, pharmaceuticals and manufacturers. We offer marketplace operator customers solutions specific to their customer strategy, including maintaining control of payment terms and deadlines in order to reduce risk. In fact, it is up to the marketplace operator to define the rules that apply on its marketplace. It thus directs the buyer towards a risk-free but potentially prohibitive prepayment, or towards payment on the due date, which facilitates the transaction but places a financial risk on the seller.
The payment terms themselves contain a number of elements that facilitate risk management, such as payment dates or the method of payment (bank transfer, direct debit, financing plan, etc.). Also, this decision-making phase is even more crucial than the transactional phase because it will help avoid problems in the future.

 

Tailored solutions to reduce payment terms

In addition to its function of bringing sellers and buyers together via the platform, the marketplace makes it possible to automate the tracking of invoices until they are integrated into the interested parties’ CRM. Automation of the process thus allows considerable time savings between invoicing and payment, significantly reducing the payment date.

To reduce and control payment terms on your marketplace, our experts support you based on the profile of the transaction and the buyer with tailor-made solutions adapted to your situation:

  • Is this a first purchase?
  • Do you have qualitative information about the buyer and their payment behaviour (have they ever had outstanding payments to their bank? Do they have overdue debts?)
  • What is the transaction worth? (a €100 purchase does not involve the same financial risk as a €50,000 purchase)
  • Is the buyer covered by credit insurance?

Finally, it will be essential to set up a proper credit management process, following-up overdue invoices and a step by step reminder and recovery process (amicable, pre-litigation, litigation).

 

Our experts will recommend good practice to suit your situation:

  • If it’s the first transaction between a seller and the buyer: focus on zero risk 

In the case of a new customer it is preferable to offer only prepayment by credit card or bank transfer to reduce the risk of unpaid invoices (order not despatched until payment has been received).

If you know your customer, you can give them the choice of payment method. Alternatively, you can calculate the customer’s outstanding payments and offer the customer only prepayment if outstanding payments are already very high in your marketplace.

Either way, these management rules are decisions for which the operator is responsible and are applied in the marketplace via the PSP and the platform.

  • The due date has passed 

Above all, it will be necessary to manage an incremental approach to future payment reminders. A customer who is late in paying is not necessarily a bad customer. Also, it is advisable to send the first reminder by e-mail or SMS, then to space out reminders so that they are not perceived as harassment.

However, if after several weeks the payment has still not been received, we will recommend that you call in specialist collection agencies who will be responsible for contacting the customer (by post and telephone).

To conclude, while it is true that, in the context of how a marketplace operates, the risk of non-payment is borne by the seller, it nevertheless remains the responsibility of the marketplace operator to set the rules and more particularly the payment terms made available, the payment deadlines granted or the type of reminders when payments are in default.

 

These good practices apply internationally, adapted to normal practice in each country, something which Webhelp Payment Services does through its seven subsidiaries based in Europe and North America, making payments to more than 35,000 buyers in 35 countries.

 

* Based on the 2018 Annual report on compliance with payment terms

 

 


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Job platform match: attracting companies and job seekers using content management & moderation solutions

If the job-matching process is smooth, companies will trust your platform and so will job-seekers.

The trust and safety of users online is crucial in today’s digital world. As 2020 shifted society to online and seek for jobs all across the internet, user-generated content is fast becoming a powerful and flexible tool to enhance job-matching capabilities and attract users to these job ads platforms.

This paper looks at some of the pain points in the the job ads space, highlighting how Webhelp can offer a comprehensive and game changing solution to ensure a smooth and efficient experience.

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Peer Hackman joins as Managing Director of Telecommunications, Media and Technology Practice

Webhelp and Gobeyond Partners are pleased to announce the expansion of their Telecommunications, Media and Technology Practice, under the leadership of Peer Hackman.

Peer joins Webhelp as Managing Director for TMT. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the business with over 20 years’ experience in leadership, consulting and operational roles with CSPs, technology vendors, management consultancies and media start-ups.

He is supported by a global team of industry consultants, customer experience specialists, customer engagement operations experts, analysts, data scientists and engineers, who work with our clients to transform and create value from customer engagement and experience engineering. This practice brings together specialists who transform customer experience excellence into profitable growth and run your customer operations at greater efficiency and lower costs.

 

Commenting on the TMT expansion, David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK said:

“Telecommunications is a diverse and hugely important sector of the global economy, which has provided a crucial  role during the pandemic in keeping individual and businesses connected, media companies entertaining and informing us, and technology vendors providing the devices and infrastructure. However, the gap between these sectors in shareholder returns has widened. All businesses have realised that customer engagement, experience and trust is THE decisive enabler to produce sustainable growth and expansion in uncertain times. Peer and his practice are working with leading operators, media businesses and technology vendors to help them mature their digital transformations across strategy, customer engagement, operations, culture, technology and data, to build sustainable, resilient and highly profitable future-facing businesses.”

 

Peer Hackman, Managing Director for TMT, continues:

“Webhelp and Gobeyond Partners provide end-to-end capabilities – from assessing our clients’ digital and CX maturity, to helping them to shape their customer engagement strategy to drive business performance, to engineering profitable customer experiences and providing holistic customer engagement solutions. We are uniquely placed to deliver transformative programmes which help clients grow the value of their existing customers, open new market opportunities, drive down the cost base, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

“I’m delighted to be joining the team at Webhelp and Gobeyond Partners and look forward to bringing customer engagement transformation solutions to the often complex challenges faced by their prestigious client base.”

 

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The death of passwords and the move to recognition technology

The concept of the computer password dates back to the earliest days of shared computer systems, with the first computer password developed in 1961 at MIT. That’s 60 years ago this year that we started our journey with digital authentication methods. The first case of password theft or misuse was documented just a year later, in 1962.

It’s almost unbelievable in this age of rapid technology advancement that we are still relying on what is essentially an aged and almost obsolete technology to protect ourselves and our digital assets from prying eyes.

Today, we are entering what is referred to as the “Third Wave” of the authentication revolution. The password was v1.0, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) are v2.0, and we now find ourselves looking at v3.0 beginning to take shape.

With online security a greater concern than perhaps ever before for customers, let’s take a look at what organisations need to be aware of now, as we move into an innovative new future in digital security.

So what exactly is the problem with passwords?

Characters from a known character set are the basis of any password generation process (manual or automated). This is exactly the reason why there is no perfectly unique password. Passwords are created to be remembered, and that is their one fundamental weakness. It makes them predictable, guessable and open to abuse

Didn’t 2FA and MFA solve the issue?

Well, no not entirely. MFA (like all methods of authentication) is open to abuse and is highly dependent on how it has been implemented. The approach to “proving who you are” using multiple elements across the four key factors of authentication certainly makes it more difficult to fool systems, but not impossible (which, let’s face it, is the ultimate goal of any authentication technology).

Authentication factors look at four key categories:

  • Knowledge (something you know)
  • Possession (something you have)
  • Inherence (something you are)
  • Location

You may well be used to 2FA across your apps and devices, but did you know that some security services have 4FA in place? Logging on to check your email may take some time…

What exactly is recognition technology?

Authentication 3.0 is the world of “recognition technology”. Recognition technology includes a mixture of different data points across end user devices, data analytics, mobile usage, behavioural and physical biometrics, and factors of continuous authentication to build a more solid and resilient model compared to the methods used today.

We all know about facial and fingerprint recognition, you probably use these on your phone along with solutions like Windows Hello.

But here’s the thing – the way you type, the angle you hold your phone at, the way you move your cursor, the websites you visit, if you run your browser maximised on your desktop, the time of day you logon, the speed you read at, that pause before you send an important email – these are all examples of your unique identity footprint in the digital world. They all represent individual data points that uniquely identify you.

Combine this digital footprint with advancements in biometrics such as heart rate signatures, vein recognition, thermography, gait, hand geometry (and yes even body odour) it becomes possible to build a totally unique digital identity of you. Combine these technologies with AI, built to continuously monitor changes in your identity profile, and the world of passwordless authentication seems more like a reality.

So where next?

We do need to be realistic. For widespread adoption of these new authentication methods, what’s needed is a clear set of globally agreed standards, and a lot of legacy technology systems. Innovation will continue in this space, but is likely for now to offer the results of varied experimentation. Different approaches will have different solutions, built to different specifications, all chasing the one ultimate proof of identity that is impossible to fabricate.

One thing is clear, though – the age of the simple password as a sole method for authentication is rapidly approaching an end. We will continue to see greater adoption of a layered security approach before these methods are finally put out to pasture, but the clock is ticking.

At Webhelp, we’re always ready for the next step in technology evolution, while still maintaining our focus on the human element. As we incorporate new developments in security into our systems and processes, we continue to work hand in hand with our people, to design security solutions that work for them, and help to create the best possible colleague experience.

To find out more about Technology and AI, read the latest blog by James Allen, Chief Risk and Technology Officer on Bots, Bias and Bigotry.


The Nest ESG for startups

Incorporating ESG initiatives from the ground up – A game-changer for startups

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives are created using different elements that measure the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business. These roles of course can differ based on the industry and startup.

In order to create strategic value for ESG initiatives, companies can partner with a trusted advisor that is committed to an honest approach to measure sustainability and societal impact. Too often ESG initiatives can be done as a feel-good exercise or even in an attempt to “good-wash” a business. An experienced partner can be used in addition to a wide range of initiatives related to a company’s core business.

Continue your reading on the Nest by Webhelp to know why incorporating ESG initiatives from the ground up for a young company is key for its future growth and how The Nest, through the impact sourcing programs set up by Webhelp, can be a key partner to support startups’ growth in this context.

Click here to know more about ESG for startups
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Webhelp partners with Microsoft to stimulate economic growth in Egypt

Webhelp and Microsoft Egypt 2

Webhelp, a global leader in customer experience and business solutions, recently entered a partnership with Microsoft to create 200 jobs in Cairo, Egypt.

An official agreement was signed with a joint mission to grow the Webhelp Egypt business to 1,000 employees by the end of 2021 and expand to more than 4,000 employees over the next three years.

Driven by its vision to make business more human, Webhelp is committed to increasing diversity and investing in programs to promote education and integration in the more than 50 countries where it operates. Already a major employer in Africa and northern Africa, Webhelp is committed to growing its sustainable investments on a global scale.

The news comes after Webhelp signed a three-year agreement with Egypt’s Information Technology Development Authority (ITIDA) to invest EGP 200M into job creation, technical skill enhancement, and economic growth. In line with Webhelp’s impact sourcing initiatives, ITIDA aims to create intensive job opportunities for highly qualified Egyptian youth in information technology products and services.

Last Thursday, Amr Mahfouz, President of ITIDA, Mirna Arif, General Manager of Microsoft Egypt, Vincent Bernard, Group Chief Operating Officer, Etienne Turion, CEO of Webhelp Enterprise, and Alaa El Khishen, Webhelp Egypt CEO, witnessed the event at the official Ministry of Communications and Information Technology office in Egypt.

Microsoft and Webhelp’s collaboration will support remote presales and sales services of Microsoft digital transformation solutions to small and medium enterprise businesses. Webhelp’s enterprise practice has developed strong partnerships with major tech players globally, thanks to its strong expertise in B2B sales in this key sector. This agreement strengthens Microsoft and Webhelp Egypt’s future ambition to generate job opportunities to spur growth and prosperity in the region.

Mirna Arif, Country Manager, Microsoft Egypt, said:

“Our partnership with Webhelp will enable job creation, enhance skills and support our country’s growth story in the post-pandemic era. As we continue to empower public and private organizations across the country to achieve their digital agendas, we will continue to strengthen Egypt’s position as the destination of choice for attracting global investments.”

Vincent Bernard, Group Chief Operating Officer, announced:

“We are proud that thanks to our enterprise expertise and global way of working, we have become a trusted partner of a major player like Microsoft. Our partnership will become part of Webhelp’s ESG initiative to empower new generations through offering the opportunity to become trained and internationally certified in pre-sales services, digital sales, and sales channels. In the coming years, we have plans to invest further in opportunities for youth in Egypt.”

Webhelp and Microsoft Egypt

When should your startup outsource?

When should your startup outsource?

If your startup is close to the scaling point: by this we mean that it has reached a stage where its growth is taking off and you need to control it, streamlining your operations in order to “scale” . If you also want to make your customer service a strong and differentiating pillar of this growth, you might want to consider outsourcing as an option for your customer service or customer acquisition – and this is where a structure like The Nest by Webhelp could help you.

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Debt collection and people

Collection of overdue payments: effective and people-friendly solutions based on Commitment, Innovation and Solidarity

Debt collection and people

In a difficult social context, a new model for collecting overdue payments is needed. More people-friendly, but no less effective, the new model has three focuses: Engagement, Innovation and Solidarity, as explained during a Smart Session given by Franck Etienne, General Manager of Collections Services – Customer Financial Experience products at Webhelp Payment Services.

Methods of collecting overdue payments are changing. They are adapting to a difficult social context, scarred by both an economic and a medical crisis. For businesses, the situation is worrying and delicate: what’s the best way to make it work? In-house or with a specialist partner?

Experience shows it is wise to re-organise the model around three focuses: Commitment, Innovation and Solidarity.

 

1. Commitment: to make collection advisors more effective

As professionals, collection advisors are accountable for the advice they provide, i.e. what they say to a client. Ultimately, this responsibility falls on the partner company. So the initial training and then daily coaching of these teams is crucially important.

Every day, these advisors are dealing with people who are struggling or unwilling to pay. So they are “on the front line”, displaying the brand image of the company seeking payment. Therefore, the advisors need to be extremely careful when using the three traditional phases – case analysis, listening and finding solutions! In addition, monitoring, listening and measuring systems need to be set up and properly managed.

Overall, the advisor must feel fully accountable and committed to his actions, completely consistent with his colleagues and managers and within the “spirit of the brand”.

From the customer’s viewpoint, it would be inadmissible for the credit company to provide responses which varied with the contact person or the communication channel (email, mail, SMS, etc.).

This concept of advisors’ professional commitment must be reconciled with the concept of trust.

Typically, the business of collection starts with fairly rigid call scripts. Exchanges between the advisor and the client are structured as they progress – which is very reassuring for a newly recruited advisor, for example.

However, switching as quickly as possible to other methods, such as the mind map,is recommended. This very practical and powerful technique makes it possible to visualise the client’s thoughts and behaviours. It is a live, adaptable method that benefits from exchanges between the various parties involved. This free flow of ideas makes it possible to emulate and constantly improve, increasing the competence and confidence of advisors – which ultimately results in greater efficiency.

And of course, in a context of working from home, whether hybrid or full time, this concept of trust between advisors and managers has become a key point of collective efficiency – the manager’s adaptability also being crucially important.

This new organisational situation will probably be perpetuated in many companies, the aim being a “triple win'” where everyone benefits: employee, creditor and end customer.

To meet this commitment challenge, a healthy trust between employee and manager needs to be put in place, rather than “command and control”!

 

2. Innovation: so that the advisor optimises the collection strategy

Too often, the keyword “innovation” is associated with new digital tools. This should not be exclusive: social innovation must remain the priority, as technology is there to be used for human performance.

For example, when carrying out data management analysis for our customers, we study many variables: profiles of overdue customers, behaviours and reactions to requests, analysis of reachability, creditworthiness, payments, etc.

In our experience, for this data analysis to be effective, it must be cross-referenced with analysis of the actual experiences of advisors and their managers.

What we find is that, over and above raw and quantitative data, it is the quality of the human interaction that makes the difference.

Thus the advisor has a key role in realising and optimising brand strategy. However, it should not in any circumstance be considered rigid, definitive and mechanically employed in a “top down” manner.

To return to the concept of technological innovation, let’s not forget we are now at the stage of enhanced advisor. This means the advisor can rely on a variety of automated business process solutions (or RAP for Robotic Automisation Process).

In practice, some repetitive or low value-added tasks are handled automatically, either totally or partially. This usually but not always refers to back office areas.

For example, there are real-time monitoring and re-transcription systems for conversations between advisor and client. They provide indicators that tell you about the quality of the conversation, such as its emotional content.

These monitoring tools can also offer the advisor tools to help with decision-making or discussion.

However, these tools should be studied or implemented with care. Within the Webhelp Group, experiments are underway, particularly in Nordic countries.

Measuring the implementation costs for these solutions is essential. In addition to direct costs associated with the acquisition and technical operation of these solutions, there are organisational costs to be included. These enhanced advisor solutions require very specific HR and managerial support. Careful preparation and then testing are required to create the expected added value!

Finally, technological innovation also applies to the omni-channel advisor. This advisor no longer only handles outgoing calls; he also handles incoming calls, emails, chat conversations, and sometimes even mail. This has led to the growing importance of writing in recruitment and training processes for collection advisors.

3. Solidarity: for empathetic support in line with brand values

Solidarity is traditionally defined by concepts of “social duty, reciprocal obligation, help and assistance, courteous collaboration between people in a community… “.

The brand must position itself clearly in relation to this fundamental value. This is even a priority in certain professions, such as mutual organisations and insurance companies for example.

And so in 2021, and probably in 2022, the brand will ask the question: “how are we to approach our clients who are suffering hardship in such a stressful social, health and economic context?”.

For its part, for several years now Webhelp Payment Services has been working in partnership with Crésus,a federation of 24 regional associations. Their mission is to help people who are in over-indebted or suffering financial problems. They also play a role in providing information on excessive debt and its prevention.

For example, this partnership has made it possible to measure people’s level of fragility in order to inform collection services and allow referral to appropriate support services.

In certain sectors of activity, this value of solidarity also enables the brand to play an advisory role–going as far as providing coaching. In addition, experiments between Crésus and Webhelp Payment Services will be extended during 2021.

Similarly, the idea of solidarity applies to teams of advisors engaged in a collective effort to improve service and share best practice.

To sum up, although there is a certain amount to be collected, it is possible – and probably desirable – to bring people into the relationship, while relying on technologies and tools that enhance that relationship.

It is also this empathy and this search for human solutions that over time will lead to a good and lasting relationship with the customer and a positive brand image! A relationship to everyone’s benefit!

 

To find out more about this topic


Outsourcing your customer relationship for your startup: good idea or big mistake?

In the early years of building a startup, challenges are everywhere: providing the best customer experience to your customers, keeping the right focus to innovate on products and services, recruiting the best talents, accelerating your time to market, expanding internationally, formalizing your processes while maintaining flexibility…

While customer relationship outsourcing could be a solution to many of these challenges, some startups are still unaware of the benefits of such a service or are hesitant to use it for maturity, growth strategy reasons etc.

Here are some tips to understand if customer relationship outsourcing is a good idea or not to support the growth of your startup (to be challenged of course!)

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