Protect moderators well-being to protect your online communities

Online platforms must do more to safeguard the people protecting us from harmful content

Social media has transformed the lives of billions of people around the world through new connections and shared experiences. But sadly, it’s also proved to be alarmingly effective for spreading dangerous content like scams, child pornography, extremism, terrorism, online abuse, and cyber bullying. These risks to the public are real, serious, and well-documented, with a multitude of initiatives in place to crack down on breaches.

The impact on content moderators is gradually getting the attention it deserves, but initiatives are not always up to it – they are the heroes holding the line. These are the people who day in, day out have the responsibility of constantly monitoring, analyzing, and responding to distressing, disturbing and suspect material.

content-moderator-protect-their-wellbeing

Humans enhanced by AI

The sheer size and scope of social media platforms – many of which are reliant on user generated content (UGC) – means it’s unrealistic that all of them could now be instantly moderated solely by people. For example, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) receives three million reports on content every day, flagged by AI or users. And even this brand – one of the biggest on the planet – has just 15,000 directly or indirectly employed content moderators globally to manage reviews, posts, pictures and videos. Meanwhile, a 2020 report by business school NYU Sterna suggested Twitter had only 1,500 human moderators to deal with 199 million daily users across the globe.

With billions of users across both platforms, those sound-like potential recipes for stress and overwhelm. The ideal solution for human moderators and AI to work in synergy. But for now, human moderators must bear the brunt for the online community – because the hard truth is that AI isn’t able to take over the whole job – at least, not yet.

Documents leaked from Facebook in September 2021 revealed that its automated systems struggle to deal with hate speech and terrorism content. One main stumbling block was that although the AI systems operate in 50+ languages, the platform is used in more than 100 languages. Platform owner, Meta, is now developing its own AI system dubbed the Meta AI Few-Shot Learner (FSL), which has been rolled out on Facebook and Instagram.  Its long-term vision is “to achieve human-like learning flexibility and efficiency.”

Creating these AI is extremely complex and tedious as thousands of items need to be accurately annotated for the AI to independently recognize them and act. Meta’s system is already making progresses on this side as it needs to see fewer examples to identify troublesome posts and works in more than 100 languages.

But even Meta admits these are “early days” of what it describes as intelligent, generalized AI models. Tellingly, it also points out: “There’s a long road ahead before AI can comprehend dozens of pages of policy text and immediately know exactly how to enforce it.”

Elsewhere in the market, we see further positive signs of real progress by independent industry providers. These solutions understand context to a certain degree, work in any language, handle informal language, slang or dialect, and learns from human moderators as they work.

Recognizing employers’ responsibility

The current reality is that machines can’t suffer distress from scanning content – but people can. And as global employers, online platforms have a responsibility to safeguard people’s well-being, and BPOs need to support them in that direction. Content moderators are navigating complex legislation regarding the removal of offensive content, working to legal deadlines to remove posts, as well as brands’ SLAs. Not to mention acting on a moral imperative to protect users, particularly in vulnerable groups like children.

But some BPOs have got it badly wrong. It was widely reported that several content moderators at a NASDAQ-listed BPO had allegedly suffered from secondary traumatic stress as a result of witnessing first-hand trauma experienced by others, which tends to result in anxiety, sleep loss, loneliness, and dissociation.

Similarities can be found between moderators and journalists, sex-trafficking detectives, and emergency dispatchers. With common symptoms from these professions developing PTSD-like symptoms, anxiety and depression.

Many moderators face a daily onslaught of disturbing posts filled with hate speech, violent attacks and graphic content. They are offered little to no support or counselling in large companies, and even after leaving, some have developed mental health disorders and they were still offered no support.

Setting the standard

At Webhelp, we’ve invested heavily in what we think is a leading approach to moderating online content for clients, while prioritizing the mental health of our people. That means fully recognizing and putting in place a raft of services and support mechanisms to proactively monitor and address the unique pressures content moderators are under.

As a people-first company, it’s our stated mission to make sure every team member feels happy, valued, and recognized. It’s a philosophy that underpins everything we do. And because we understand that wellness is such a key factor in enabling our employees to give their best, we’ve designed our own custom-built program comprising wellbeing, technology and psychotherapy.

Well-being as a way of working

We learned that well-being was a concern for our employees’, so we implemented more than 80 new initiatives early-2021 – all aimed at protecting our content moderators’ physical and mental health.

A key part of that is being proactive and being able to recognize when things aren’t quite right, or one of our team members needs help.

We’ve introduced wellness centers, where advisors can access psychological care and support – onsite throughout the day and outside of working hours as 24/7 external helplines are available to them. This is complemented by our WebHEALTH program, which focuses on fitness workouts, massages and meditation sessions for all our teams. We also put in place a tranche of preventative mental health programs.

We’re already seeing positive results, including a boost in loyalty and productivity. For example, since launching a scheme to encourage employees to share experiences, we’ve seen a 50% reduction in mental health-related absenteeism. Now, as part of our intention to expand these services, we’re in the process of enhancing our in-house solutions with an external workplace well-being actor.

Psychological solutions

Our state of mind and conscious thoughts have a huge bearing on how we feel physically. That’s why we’ve implemented several, carefully interlinked facilities and services based around psychological well-being initiatives and counselling.

Most importantly, it’s a crucial tool that helps us identify anyone who might be suffering with poor mental health and address any issues as quickly as possible. Whenever needed, we can offer follow-up support ranging from informal meetings with team leaders, through to appointments with external psychologists.

Technology for good

Webhelp is combining human expertise with technology, and this is core to our value proposition.

On top of managing the amount of sensitive content each individual moderator sees daily, our AI-driven People Analytics tool serves a sophisticated early-warning system that monitors moderators’ daily well-being in real-time. The system monitors signs of potential difficulty, such as absence and accuracy and combines this with insights from daily questionnaires to identify even barely perceptible patterns of behavior that could be red flags. The system attributes a ‘wellness score’ to our resources and can alert human team leaders when it becomes too low, allowing them to be ready and well-prepared – if or when they need to step in.

Our number one job

We’re continually developing our technologies, but we can’t foresee a time when machines could completely replace the human touch and expertise of our people. So, we’ll continue to support our content moderators in doing an incredibly tough job.

 

Because protecting them means protecting the whole community.

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Grow your own capability or outsource to experts?

How to make the right choice for your operation and your customer

This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Institute of Water Magazine, authored by Hayley Monks, Managing Director of Utilities for Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group.


UK utility companies are under increased scrutiny as costs begin to rise. Consumers are feeling the pressure as combined water and sewerage bills for 2022/23 will rise by £7 to an annual average of £419 while water-only bills will be an average of £4 more from April. Whilst the average increase of 1.7% on combined water and sewerage bills is below inflation prices vary across England and Wales, with some customers seeing a hike of up to 10% or a fall of 6%.  

Increasing costs, technological advances, pressures on operations, staffing and recruitment all place pressure on businesses to become as agile as possible and operate effectively in a changing and often unpredictable environment.    

This uncertainty is leading businesses to consider the benefits of a strategic service partner and to understand how the right partner can help them navigate this challenging environment, working together to deliver what’s important – reducing operating costs whilst creating positive, valuable customer experiences.  

Here are some questions to think about when engaging a strategic service partner to support service improvement and cost reduction. 


How will you supercharge your digital transformation journey?

The pandemic has exacerbated the need for digital transformation across the sector and a significant number of businesses look to an outsourcer to support their transformation journey.  

From deploying the right technology, to assessing existing digital journeys and creating the right balance between digital and human solutions. A strategic service partner offers centres of excellence that can support businesses to develop and deliver large scale, customer-led digital transformation programmes.  

Engaging an expert partner whose core activity is transformation, digital customer experience, self-service and multi-channel strategy can be the answer.  Giving you access to teams of customer journey and analytics experts, who can bring an understanding of drivers for customer demand, remove barriers to digital adoption, create revenue opportunities and provide best practice CX strategies.  

But you want to maintain control. Business leaders often feel like outsourcing means losing this. The right outsourcing relationship should feel like a true partnership and an extension of your business – giving you confidence that you have delegated the activity to experts in their field who can deliver. 


Can you create confidence from shared commercial objectives? 

Creating commercial certainty in an uncertain world has never been more important.  A modern, innovative a strategic service partner will work closely with its clients to develop shared commercial objectives.  Ensuring both businesses succeed together.  

This approach also supports the development of long-term, outcome focused, strategic partnerships where costs are better managed, customer experience is enhanced and the traditional cost-to-serve, transactional model is consigned to history.  



Is your current operating model inflexible and in need of modernisation?

It’s our view that when businesses are considering a strategic service partner they can often need a solution that is unique to their situation.  For some, this can be a need for a scalable, virtual and home-based solutions, while others may require a full on-site solution across multiple geographies.  

Transitioning to a completely elastic operation as standard can take time and can be a costly learning curve. One thing that many companies have learnt as a result of COVID-19 the need to be agile and support people to work from wherever and however they want to work.  But as customer demand grows, a strategic service partner can deliver an always-on, cost effective solution, customisable across multiple geographies and languages, and with access to specialist skills as required – combining to offer a solution capable of meeting their short and long-term customer operation demands. 


Do you have a solution to short term, unpredictable or seasonal demand?

A strategic service partner offer valuable, long-term partnerships but there can be instances when businesses have a short-term, immediate demand challenge.  Offering flexible demand solutions, where they rapidly deploy teams to meet short term spikes in customer activity offers a cost effective solution to customer demand-related challenges whilst ensuring a positive customer experience throughout.  


Do you have limited access to highly specialised services and skillsets that can  provide the insight, and enable the transformation, you need?

The ability to work anywhere has grown in the last 18 months some geographies still struggle to recruit and retain talent.  An organisation may want to resource all their services themselves, but the pipeline is either not there or costly to maintain. 

The growth of the digital customer continues and with it comes differing customer journey challenges.  A strategic service partners offers more specialist solutions such as:   

Data and analytics expertise to support businesses to bring true understanding of their customers and their needs.  Strategic service partners embrace the wealth of data available from front-line, real-time customer interactions, creating actionable insights to deliver transformative, personalised and innovative customer experiences. An in-house option can work, however it requires long term commitment and knowledge development, which may not suit those who need to deliver change fast. 

Access to specialist digital content services to moderate and manage content on digital platforms.  Content moderation can be a drain on resources in an environment where users expect content to be published in near real-time – a strategic service partner can offer a combination of highly experienced content moderation experts and automation tools to support the best user experience.   

A popular area for outsourcing is secure payment services, offering safe and simple solutions for customers and organisations. Managing customer and financial data should be done with great consideration.  Your chosen strategic partner will become a data processer and responsible for looking after your data. Due diligence on data governance and management is an essential – this can be time consuming. 

Business process outsourcing can be an incredibly positive step for businesses of all sizes, from fast growing companies scaling up their operations to established businesses looking to start, or take the next step on, their digital transformation journey. Finding a partner that fits your brand and values is just as important as any cost saving opportunity. 


At Webhelp, we are primed to support you with any plans you may have for strategic growth and customer solutions.

If it sounds like we could provide a solution for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch

Hayley Monks

Managing Director, Utilities

Get in touch

Where cryptocurrency meets Know Your Customer

There’s a strong case to be made that, as a society, we are in the advent stage of mainstream crypto. Consider the following three indicators: Firstly, it’s becoming seen as a normal part of our everyday life. The 2022 Superbowl saw over 112 million people tune in worldwide, with a significant portion watching the half time advertisements for FTX Trading and Crypto.com. There’s also been massive investment in Formula 1 and the English Premier League, with ByBit partnering with F1 champs Red Bull, and Dogecoin and CoinJar sponsoring Watford FC and Brentford FC, respectively. 

The second reason is that crypto is becoming much more stable than before. Many cautious investors were previously discouraged by crypto’s volatility and complexity. It was difficult for the average person on the street to understand its purpose or to predict its movements. That’s all now beginning to change – with more providers and greater participation from the wider public, the market has arguably become more stable and efficient. 

Lastly, crypto is becoming more widely recognised as a mainstream currency, making greater inroads to sit alongside fiat currencies used globally Increasingly, major banking services are offering crypto as part of their services. Revolut, for example, allows you to convert your cash into a wide selection of crypto currencies in just a few clicks. Opportunities have spread to other industries, with car dealerships as an example offering crypto as an alternative to traditional payment methods. 

As we sit on the cusp of a new era for crypto, the question we’re asking is – how critical is Know Your Customer going to be? 

KYC in a nutshell

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a fundamental part of an organisation’s risk management practice 

It involves: 

  1. establishing who your customer is,  
  2. verifying their identity,  
  3. building up a risk profiles of the customer, and then  
  4. monitoring that throughout the lifecycle of their engagement with the company 

What KYC Means

Anonymous by design

Crypto, by nature, takes a decentralised approach. It was originally designed and built in a manner that allows its customers to remain anonymous, and protect their personal information from central governing bodies. Anonymity has been crucial to this development since the very beginning – Satoshi Nakamoto, credited with developing and creating the concept, is a pseudonym used by an unknown individual or individuals – and therefore, the traditional rules of tracking customer information do not typically apply. As a result, KYC poses a major challenge for global regulators when it comes to the increasing growth of crypto.

Crypto organisations have been pressured of late to introduce KYC checks in order to be permitted to operate through global jurisdictions. Binance, for example, recently introduced ID and facial recognition checks in order to operate in, and through, the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also gone further, cracking down on bitcoin ATMs and ordering the closure of all Bitcoin cashpoints in the UK. For the compliance specialist, some of these restrictions make a great deal of sense in the face of historic and current misuse of cryptocurrencies, as platforms for money laundering, fraud, and financing of terrorism, along with documented links to cyber warfare. 

To add to the complication is the recent rise in popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital items – frequently artworks – that are traded for often extremely high values based on their inherent scarcity. In 2020, roughly $120m of NFTs were traded. In 2021, that number was closer to $21.5bn. The concern around NFTs is that they aren’t yet explicitly regulated, and are therefore not subject to the same scrutiny, exacerbating the potential issues around fraud and money laundering. 


Statue of Satoshi Nakamoto, Budapest, Hungary

New world, old solutions

The reluctance across the crypto community to comply with traditional regulation is strong, and its effect is very real. Many argue that it goes against the very foundations of the technology, and undermines the anonymous nature of crypto. As a result of the introduction of KYC measures, some firms – such as Coindesk – have seen huge losses in customer numbers. KYC can introduce friction and cost into the onboarding process, putting new customers off, and ultimately costing the firm more money. 

An additional consideration is whether the regulations are having the desired effect. With a suspected $9bn laundered through crypto in 2021, it’s clear that something still isn’t working. 

Part of the problem is clearly down to the processes and solutions being used, which often struggle to maintain effectiveness at scale as users and transactions increase. This is in part driven by a ‘lift-and-shift’ of traditional approaches to KYC, and trying to make them work in a non-traditional set-up. Another problem is that, unlike traditional FS organisations, in crypto organisations KYC often only enters the process once trading is enabled. This means trading can happen immediately, and any concerns need to be remediated at a later point in time, defeating the whole purpose of the check in the first place; put simply, it does not work. 

Whatever the reasons are, and there are numerous, it’s worth noting that a recent survey suggests that only 31% of crypto exchanges have complete and transparent KYC checks in place.  



What to do?

It’s inevitable, and welcomed, that some form of increased regulation will be introduced into crypto, but what that looks like is still uncertain. What is certain, however, is that if crypto organisations want to continue operating at scale, across global jurisdictions – and protect themselves against the impacts of getting things wrong – KYC should be a key priority for them. 

Contrary to some industry thinking, two things can be true at the same time: 

  • We should be able to live and operate in a world with strict privacy, where pseudonyms and direct, private interactions are possible 

and

  • We should be able to hold people accountable for wrongdoing, finding ways to quickly identify and deal with bad actors 

To do this, we need to ensure the correct balance, designing KYC in a way that doesn’t introduce cost or friction into the customer experience, while ensuring that the solution effectively does what it needs to do. 

By managing KYC in crypto in the right way, organisations will be able to: 

  • Improve customer transparency and trust, leading to greater adoption nationwide and globally 
  • Proactively combat the rising risks of money laundering, fraud and other scams 
  • Continue to improve the overall market stability, allowing firms to scale and grow 
  • Protect organisations’ profit and loss from regulatory and government sanctions. 

There’s no doubt that KYC process are going to become increasingly embedded within crypto, but the key is to use this for competitive advantage through elegantly designed solutions – whether that’s electronic ID verification (eIDV) , automation, streamlined UX or more. It’s all possible, and it’s all up for grabs. 


At Webhelp, we support our clients globally with KYC advice, solutions and implementation. Please get in touch if you have any questions. 

Jonathan Cowey

Business Director, Regulated Services

Get in touch

Webhelp Appoints Francesca Zanisi to Group Chief People Officer

Webhelp, a leading global provider of customer experience (CX) and business solutions, has appointed Francesca Zanisi as its new Group Chief People Officer. As a member of Webhelp’s executive committee, Francesca will lead the group’s people strategy to discover the top talent while helping it’s over 100,000 passionate game-changers grow and thrive in the business.

Francesco joins Webhelp with over 20 years of relevant experience, after working in various roles across Europe for companies such as Unilever, Amazon, Booking.com. Most recently at Criteo, she oversaw the business’ people engagement, talent and culture and employer branding. Previously, was responsible for developing Amazon’s EU Learning Team in Luxembourg, where she discovered her passion for talent management.

Based out of Webhelp’s headquarters in Paris, Francesca will take ownership of the group’s talent management roadmap and strategy as the company continues to scale. Her experience working in the tech industry’s rapidly changing landscape will elevate Webhelp’s approach to attracting competitive talent, managing employees, and maintaining culture across a global environment.

“I am honored to join the leadership team at Webhelp and look forward to building upon this wonderful culture. My focus will be on shaping the culture and environment where our people feel empowered to learn, grow and succeed. The values and culture at Webhelp resonate strongly with my personal approach, so I am eager to use my experience to help shape a game-changing experience for our Webhelpers,” said Francesca.

Olivier Duha, CEO & Co-Founder of Webhelp shared,

“People first has been a mantra at Webhelp since day one and is something our global teams have worked tirelessly to foster across the group. The decision to hire for this new role underlines our dedication to bringing an employee experience to fuel our people-first business approach. I’m thrilled to welcome Francesca to the team and look forward to seeing how she further develops this fundamental pillar of our business.”

The announcement comes during a time of excitement as Webhelp was recently awarded the Global Impact Sourcing Award, for its global approach to impact sourcing. This strategy focuses on countless local initiatives aiming to empower individuals with career opportunities previously excluded from the labor market. Webhelp’s goal is that 15% of new hires are impact sourced by 2025.


Webhelp to deliver solution for ‘the next normal’ in customer experience

Paris, France – 16th March 2022 Webhelp, a leading global provider of customer experience (CX) and business solutions, has rolled-out Webhelp Anywhere; a proprietary methodology for designing customer operations, delivered using a secure and scalable hybrid-cloud platform.  

The launch comes at a pivotal time in CX, with 98% of organizations planning to undergo a transformation of operations within 24 months, according to research from Frost & Sullivan. 

The Webhelp Anywhere framework is designed around business-specific needs and strategy, helping to optimize cost and experience for clients. It encompasses best-in-class technologies and tools to offer flexibility, scalability, and consistent delivery wherever operations and teams are based, and however they want to work. 

The methodology combines bestshoring with new hybrid and remote delivery models, while the platform provides a flexible and scalable infrastructure. This enables brands to adapt to new challenges and opportunities, from pandemics to rapid growth. 

The announcement comes as models of work, CX delivery, and customer engagement are changing, with 91% of CX management saying they expect remote working to form a permanent part of their customer facing operations coming out of the pandemic. Webhelp Anywhere supports this shift, enabling new ways of working while also providing a harmonized approach to CX delivery. 

“It is positive to see in our research, 98% of brands plan to transform customer experience within the next two years,” commented Matthieu Bouin, Group Managing Director at Webhelp. “Traditional approaches to this transformation are no longer appropriate, and organizations need to consider how they think differently to support their customers. Through Webhelp Anywhere we can help brands navigate these challenges using a holistic tech-enabled approach that is built to last.” 

The launch follows Webhelp being named as the most innovative CX outsourcing services provider in the latest Frost Radar™ report from Frost & Sullivan. Webhelp scored top marks ahead of 18 other companies in the analysis, with the report noting, “Webhelp has designed and implemented one of the industry’s most forward-looking and comprehensive strategies for work from home.” 

– ENDS- 

Notes to editors: 

  • Research referenced comes from a new report titled: Reimagining Customer Experience and Management for Competitive Advantage 
  • For more details on Webhelp Anywhere please visit:

Webhelp Anywhere

About Webhelp 

Webhelp designs, delivers, and optimizes unforgettable human experiences for today’s digital world – creating game-changing customer journeys. From sales to service, content moderation to credit management, Webhelp is an end-to-end partner across all B2C and B2B customer journeys. Its over 100,000 passionate employees across more than 55 countries thrive on making a difference for the world’s most exciting brands. Webhelp is currently owned by its management and Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (Euronext: GBLB), a leading global investment holding, as of November 2019. 


digital dealerships in the automotive industry

Why car manufacturers need digital dealerships, not call centers

digital dealerships in the automotive industry

Automotive can be an enigmatic industry. World-leading in terms of product design, technology, and innovation – yet one of the last sectors to embrace digital to fully support their customers.

Almost all consumers will visit a manufacturer’s website at some stage when looking to buy a new car, but only a fraction will complete a purchase there. Most complete their journey elsewhere – either with competitors or offline in dealerships.

Yet around 60% of all new car buyers said buying online is appealing and they would do far more via digital channels, if it were possible. This includes tasks which traditionally were only carried out in dealerships, such as understanding jargon and technical details, comparing models according to personal criteria, deciding which to buy, finding deals, calculating budgetary factors, comparing insurance and service packages, agreeing the final price of the new car and trade-in, and checking their eligibility for finance.

Almost one third (29%) of people would be happy to self-serve online; and the same percentage again said they would need the reassurances and interactions that only humans can provide.

The only way to reach the second group is to replicate online, the same high standard of specialist product and financing expertise that previously customers only received at a physical showroom.

Building “Digital Dealerships” represents a massive opportunity for automotive brands to provide what almost a third of their potential customers want in terms of a digital experience. While massively improving experiences for everyone and driving higher conversion rates and sales online and offline, “Digital Dealerships” will also gradually increase direct relationships with their customers.

But it’s a difficult journey.

For years, brands have asked outsourcing providers to deliver call centers for essential customer services at scale across multiple regions, based mainly on securing the most competitive cost. To support the adoption of ecommerce, massively accelerated by COVID, manufacturers deployed chatbots and live chats, which were staffed by traditional customer-service agents, trained to capture contact details and find the nearest dealership. Today this results in frustrating and unproductive customer journeys and is no longer enough.

So how can manufacturers build their “Digital Dealerships”?

Build digital dealerships in-house

Some manufacturers created in-house teams capable of successfully supporting their ecommerce operations in a pilot market or two.

But they’ve found that replicating and scaling home-grown sales teams from a pilot country to multiple brands, markets and languages requires so much more time and money, that this approach is no longer viable.

At some point, manufacturers will find that outsourcing operations is the only realistic and scalable option available.

Outsource delivery to a specialized provider

Delivering a Digital Dealership is hard.

Half of the success is in developing the perfect mix of the right people with the right skills and training, data and insights, processes and supporting technologies.

The second half lies in successfully integrating it into manufacturers’ businesses and operations.

This makes it more of a journey than an ‘out of the box’ solution.

As a car manufacturer, your journey should start with finding a partner that brings the right mindset, people, insights, processes, and technology mix to the party – who won’t try to learn it all on your payroll.

To ensure that, we recommend you ask prospective suppliers the following questions:

  • What framework do you have to identify our maturity and current gaps, plan the journey, and manage its progress?
  • What soft and hard skills are the agents selected on, and what automotive-specific sales and product training should they undergo?
  • Would you have your agents undergo the same ongoing e-learning training and regular exams as my dealers?
  • Are your agents FCA (or equivalent) certified and trained to advise and sell finance and insurance products?
  • How incentivized are they to sell, remain and grow?
  • What processes, data, and insights do they use to improve customer experience and sales performance?
  • Do your agents use scripts? How prescriptive they are, and how often are these evaluated and optimized?
  • What languages, operating hours and peaks can the teams cover and absorb? Do they work from the office, remotely, or both?
  • What internal technologies do they use to access and maintain knowledge, learn, test, evaluate, and improve?

These answers will enable you to create a genuine digital dealership, and not a generalist customer support center.

If you need help or want to learn more about our journey and Digital Dealerships, get in touch.

About the author

Tomas Honz is Group Head of Solutions for Automotive and Mobility at Webhelp. He has over 20 years’ experience helping leading car manufacturers and retailers to maximize their use of online through innovations, best-practice customer experiences and deployment of people, processes, and technologies.

Tomas Honz

The business case for customer-led transformation in financial services

The financial services (FS) sector is under increasing pressure to modernise operational models whilst driving profitability, improving customer experience (CX), managing higher levels of risk, and looking after its people. 

 

In this rapidly changing business environment, customer-led transformation can enable firms to tackle these challenges, get ahead of potential disruptors, provide the proper channels to retain customers, and become agile enough to pivot when consumer behaviours inevitably change.  

 

As such, the firms that will most successfully evolve are those that commit to holistic, flexible, and connected customer-led transformation programmes. This article explores the crucial business case for doing so, providing advice and examples to guide firms in the right direction.  

Why is customer-led transformation so crucial in Financial Services?

In a recent article, Webhelp Financial Services Managing Director, Hervé Mazenod, explored the next wave of challenges that organisations were facing, many of which are already coming to the fore.  

 

For the general population, the long-term issue of the rising cost of living is significantly impacting consumers’ financial well-being. Plus, we are seeing an exacerbation of the narrative around increasing wages, increasing resignations, and an inability to recruit adequately. 

  

Regulatory pressure continues to build, with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) proposed Consumer Duty being an example. While the Duty is there to protect customers, it will also complicate the supply of retail financial products and services for firms.  

 

Alongside these challenges, the importance of customer experience remains, with competition in the market continuing to grow relentlessly. In the UK, poor customer experience costs businesses over £37 billion per year, and there is a strong connection between customer satisfaction and sales gains, with companies seeing a 4.4% drop in sales when CSAT scores fall at least one point below the sector average.  

 

There are also continuous changes in consumer behaviour, with some considerable differences in customer experience expectations across Europe.  

 

Webhelp recently conducted a European survey to analyse customer perceptions of banking and insurance interactions. Here are some of the most prescient results.  

 

Customers prefer to avoid branch visits

Survey respondents preferred online channels, but voice was still popular in some countries. Still, interaction through a physical store or branch was the lowest preferred channel across Europe (19%). These findings mean that firms have an opportunity to better serve customers by investing in email, webchat, SMS, and social media, leading to enhanced customer experience and fewer overheads related to physical locations.  

 

Improving first-time resolution will boost loyalty

Around 25% of respondents said their provider did not resolve issues first time, and over 40% said it was a high effort to drive a resolution. When measuring these results against customer loyalty, 10% said they would reduce or cease their relationship with the business after their interaction, showing a clear opportunity to retain customers through improved experiences 

 

The threat of disruptive business models

Over 40% of customers said they would actively leave their current provider if brands such as Google or Amazon started offering banking services. By working to understand why customers would so willingly switch brands, businesses could pivot their offering to better meet customer needs, and pre-emptively disrupt the market.   

Customer needs are also becoming more complex and personal. With the proliferation of automation in the customer journey, the need for a human touch with empathetic customer experience agents will become more important for dealing with complex tasks. 

 

By meeting the combined weight of these challenges and recognising the customer’s evolving demands, firms have a clear opportunity to differentiate in the market – a differentiation that begins with developing a robust customer-led transformation programme. 


The outcomes of a successful transformation

The external factors justifying customer-led transformation are highly compelling, with a broad range of outcomes that firms can factor into an associated business case.

Higher Profitability

While customer experience transformation requires investment, the benefits quickly outweigh the costs. By focusing on fluidity of service, the often hidden cost of poor experience is brought to the surface as unnecessary hand-offs, delays, errors, queries and other failure points are gradually reduced.

Organisations can achieve higher productivity and create interactions that are of real value to customers;  leading to better reputation, a reduction in  operational headcount and an increase in potential revenue.

 

Enhanced customer experience

Ultimately, by giving customers efficient digital channels, fast resolutions, and personalised interactions at every step of the journey, the experience of dealing with your organisation becomes effortless, impactful, and worth talking about, attracting more customers and boosting business.  

 

Engaged people and talent

Creating awareness of the customer journey allows colleagues to see the value in their role and how their interactions fit the overall experience, increasing engagement and driving a continuous improvement mindset. This cultural shift results in less attrition and helps attract new talent to the organisation. 

 

More protection for customer and business 

Customer-led transformation can enhance debt management or financial support services during inflation and job insecurity, making firms trusted partners to customers. It can also help prevent fraud and other economic crimes since many aspects of transformation require a re-visiting of data security practices and systems.  

  

In striving to achieve these outcomes, what pitfalls can firms expect to face along the way? 


Friction in the transformation process

In our experience, many transformation initiatives appear to be sensible, well thought out, and rigorously planned, but they often fail to deliver the total value that stakeholders anticipated at the outset, and sometimes have negative impacts on other parts of the business and customer experience. 

 

Lack of an end-to-end view

Transformation programmes often focus on individual segments of the customer journey. For example, an insurance firm might hone in on transforming the underwriting process rather than the entire policy renewal process. This approach often fails to impact the customer as it neglects to improve all other steps in the journey. 

 

Not truly understanding the customer

Many enterprises fail to understand customer emotions because they map journeys based on their interactions rather than from a customer’s perspective. In our experience, the absence of end-to-end data systems holds organisations back even further, preventing them from joining the dots across the journey and seeing the first-hand customer experience.  

 

Failing to take a holistic approach

The actual cost of transformation can be significantly greater when organisations focus on single-point solutions that fail to take a broader, enterprise-level approach. For instance,  the automation of a mortgage decision/underwriting process should be one of a number of changes driven by a holistic design that looks at the overall experience of  the customer looking to move home (or at the very least looking for credit). Too often, these instances are single point solutions which do not link with a broader strategy. 

Transformation friction in the fraud customer journey

Along with these fallbacks, the financial services industry faces transformation barriers in many existing processes. Take fraud, for example. Identifying and verifying a genuine fraud case can often be lengthy and complex due to the numerous necessary steps required to manage risk and protect the customer. On one level, this friction is intentional and designed to identify potential fraudsters. But, on the other hand, it results in a fragmented process that adds to customer frustration and anxiety.    

 

In some of these cases, we’ve seen clients with up to 16 different security checks in one fraud customer journey. We’ve also seen dramatic differences in the language used by firms across their various communication channels, which can be confusing for customers and prevent fast and effortless resolutions. In both examples, the end-to-end journey was inefficient, and customers poorly rated the experience, despite the firms’ heavy investment into transformation. 

 

So how can firms approach a holistic transformation process that covers the entire customer journey, end-to-end, and functions successfully with a deep understanding of customer needs? 

Implementing end-to-end customer journey transformation

In our experience, there are four core elements to a successful customer-led transformation. 

 

Visualise the journey from the customer’s point of view

Take into account various customer personas, and focus on effort, failure points, actions, and emotions. Managing the customer journey is about creating insight and monitoring changes in customer behaviour to drive continuous data-led improvement, high performance, and positive customer experiences. 

 

Bring all parties together

All departments should play a part in the transformation and collaborate to create a customer-centric culture that harnesses the value of human capability. It’s all about ensuring that teams can complement one another’s abilities and employees are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and empowerment to do the right thing.  

 

Challenge the real need of the customer

When thinking of a mortgage, where does the customer journey start? Likely from the moment they consider moving house, not only when searching for financing. Recognising this means potentially including other actors outside of the organisation and then involving everyone in supporting that customer journey internally. 

 

Leverage data, insight, and supportive technology

Supportive technology can enable firms to harness new capabilities, create a seamless transition between solutions, optimise adoption through behavioural science, better predict consumer behaviour changes, and drive continuous improvement. In addition, the valuable data and insight gained from the right technology can allow proactive actions in response to customer behaviour and needs. 


Quality is free

In 1979, author and management theory contributor Phillip Crosby explored the concept thatquality is free, surmising an investment in the right place to get things right first time, is always preferable to being exposed to the higher costs of fixing issues as they arise.   

 

In making the business case for customer journey-led transformation, financial services firms can develop great customer experiences while unlocking a wide range of benefits across the organisation –  in other words, by applying the idea that “quality is free”, you could say that “great customer experience is free”.  

 

How’s that for a business case?


At Webhelp, we are primed to support you with any transformation plans you may have.

If it sounds like we could provide a solution for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch

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Hervé Mazenod

Managing Director, Financial Services

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Customer experience innovation set to undergo exponential growth in the next decade, research finds

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Paris, France – 10th March 2022 – Customer contact center operations are set to undergo transformation to improve customer experience (CX) delivery, finds new research from Frost & Sullivan. Commissioned by Webhelp, the study of over 1,000 senior customer experience management professionals finds organizations are embracing technology and new ways of working to deliver improved customer service, with 98% planning to transform operations within 24 months. 

The study finds almost one in two senior CX professionals expect to see a rise in new customer channels supported by technology such as voice assistants and AR services in the next decade. Much of this change has been accelerated in the last couple of years by the Covid-19 pandemic; 90% expect working from home to be a permanent part of CX delivery models in the future, and 78% expect advisors to have the ability to determine where they want to work. 

In remote environments operational challenges have remained, and the research reveals engaging and motivating employees is seen as the most pressing, closely followed by keeping up with the latest contact center technology and deploying it at scale.  

“The study has provided fascinating insight on the future direction of customer experience delivery,” commented Alexander Michael, Director of Consulting at Frost & Sullivan. “As the industry continues to undergo rapid transformation, it’s pleasing to see that brands plan to embed work from home as a permanent part of their model. Those that recognize that this needs to be designed in properly, in a sustainable manner, will see true benefits for their business and their customers.” 

A bespoke approach to quality customer journey delivery 

Contact center management expects onshore, nearshore and offshore contact centers to grow in the future – showcasing the need for a tailored approach across different businesses to maximize quality delivery. Companies choosing to improve customer experience may need to adapt the approach, while ensuring the security of customer data, access to talent, the resilience of operation and cost base.  

“CX transformation must start with the needs of the customer and strategy of the business,” commented Olivier Duha, CEO and Co-founder of Webhelp. “Once agreed, it’s important to think holistically about how an operation is designed to meet those needs. This model should embrace the most suitable delivery format, considering how onshore, nearshore and offshore locations can be combined with working models such as onsite, at-home, or hybrid work. The world we live in today means we can host a customer support location for anywhere in the world and scale it rapidly.” 

The research indicates that any customer experience management approach must address operational challenges of the future, around managing employee attrition, integrating disparate channels and systems, managing compliance, and engaging and motivating employees (all areas estimated by one in two to be more challenging in the future). 

The future 

Respondents that have engaged in transformation projects are seeing benefits, with positive impacts identified on the security of data/customers (77%), customer experience (78%), access to talent (76%), the resilience of operations (77%), and cost base (77%). 

“Our research shows us that 99% of customer experience leaders are focused on being able to quickly scale operations to meet customer demand,” explains Matthieu Bouin, Group Managing Director at Webhelp. “To achieve this, you need two things. Firstly, you need to design your operation with this in mind. Secondly, you need the right tech platform that can adapt, scale, and flex in response to the increasingly rapid changes in consumer behavior.” 

-ENDS- 

Notes to editors 

Webhelp Anywhere

  • Full research is available on request 
  • Study was conducted December 2021 across Europe, US and Asia, surveying customer experience leaders 

 

About Webhelp 

Webhelpdesigns, delivers, and optimizes unforgettable human experiences for today’s digital world – creating game-changing customer journeys. From sales to service, content moderation to credit management, Webhelp is an end-to-end partner across all B2C and B2B customer journeys. Its over 100,000 passionate employees across more than 55 countries thrive on making a difference for the world’s most exciting brands. Webhelp is currently owned by its management andGroupe Bruxelles Lambert(Euronext: GBLB), a leading global investment holding, as of November 2019. 

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Webhelp Celebrates International Women's Day 2022 - #BreakTheBias

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality, equity and empowerment.

It is also a time to critically reflect on those accomplishments and strive for a greater momentum towards more gender balance worldwide. It is a day to stand together as a united force – because a better world is a more balanced world.

#BreakTheBias – We are so much more than one can see!

Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge gender equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges, and universities.

Together, we can all break the bias – not just on International Women’s Day (IWD), but all year round.​

Women in Webhelp

Advancing gender balance within Webhelp is our next major program on the ESG More For People agenda, after Impact Sourcing.

Today, we stand at about ~56% of women in Webhelp (59% in the advisor roles and 46% in the non-advisors’ roles). However, when we look at senior roles, there is still room for improvement: ~39% of our management top 500 for instance.

In the coming months, we will organize dedicated workshops and leverage our annual YourCall colleague survey to get feedback and advance the work within our organization. There will also be quick-win guides to help us all on this journey.

With our extensive community, we will continue to be inspired by the initiatives already in place regionally, “Supporting Women in Leadership” in Webhelp’s UK Region and “She Leads” in Webhelp Americas, for example.

Learn more about Webhelp initiatives

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Webhelp to host Think Tank discussion at MoneyLive Summit 2022

We are delighted to confirm we are hosting a Think Tank discussion at this year’s MoneyLive Summit on 28th – 29th March, taking place in London.  

This highly anticipated event is an invaluable platform to collaborate, challenge, and uncover future innovation in the financial services sector, welcoming established industry leaders and exciting fintechs for two days of networking, insights and discussion.  

Topics include women in finance, leaders of tomorrow and the hottest trends in the banking world for 2022 to name a few.  

 

Representing Webhelp are Brandon Aitken, Director of Global Business Development, and Hervé Mazenod, Managing Director of Financial Services, Gobeyond Partners (part of the Webhelp group), who will explore the business case for customer journey-led transformation.  

Brandon and Hervé will be joined by keynote speaker Matthew Harwood, Head of Customer Messaging, at NatWest.  Matthew is also the Senior Product Owner and a member of the Digital Leadership team where he delivers bank-wide transformation to reimagine how NatWest communicates with its customers. 

 

Commenting on the event Brandon said:  

 “We’re looking forward to sharing our experience in working with clients to support their customer journey-led transformation and to welcoming Matthew to give a NatWest perspective – it promises to be an informative session.” 

Hervé continues:    

“In a market that is more demanding now than ever, FS firms need to think differently about transformation. Our Think Tank will encourage debate around how the sector can keep up with evolving requirements and trends to pave the way for success in 2022 and beyond.”  

 

Keep an eye out for first-hand highlights and key takeaways from our Think Tank discussion.  

For more information on financial services trends read Hervé Mazenod’s latest thought leadership piece here.