Three questions with: Tammy Chetty


Tammy Chetty has recently been appointed as the new Managing Director of our South Africa operations and started her role in January. Tammy brings with her a wealth of experience in the private, corporate sector of business as well as impact sourcing. She has held senior roles in the Business Banking division, working for Barclays where she led a team of over 2,000 people. However, most recently she has worked for Harambee since 2014 which is a Youth Employment Accelerator that builds solutions for the global challenge of youth unemployment. Harambee have a longstanding partnership with Webhelp which is where Tammy first learned about the company and began to appreciate its values.  


Can you describe your journey to Webhelp?

My journey to Webhelp has been an interesting one. I’ve been working alongside of Webhelp for a number of years now, in the impact sourcing space. I’m really passionate about impact sourcing, and the work that I was doing through Harambee and partnered with Webhelp in placing young people within the organization. I felt that Webhelp is extremely well aligned with the impact sourcing agenda in the country, given the high unemployment levels, and so I’ve worked really closely with Webhelp over the last couple of years, got to know many of the people in South Africa and the UK region, worked with some senior leaders and got to know the business a little bit.  

I felt a strong alignment between the work that I was doing in impact sourcing and the work that Webhelp was doing, so it feels like a natural transition from impact sourcing to Webhelp. 


What excites you about working at Webhelp?

The first thing that struck me was the engagement. Before even joining Webhelp, there was just a sense of community. Webhelp really feels like a family of people who care about one another, who care about their clients, who care about people within the organization and who care about the communities that they operate in. Those are strong values that I feel pretty well aligned to and that really resonate with me. So, I feel like my first sense of engagement with Webhelp in terms of taking up this role has been that.  

Then, I mean, just joining Webhelp has been absolutely incredible. I feel like everybody has put their arms around me and welcomed me on board, and been amazing in helping me understand the business and get to know everyone and everything.  

Beyond the physical experience that I’ve had, I think Webhelp is an amazing business for me personally. I think how it aligns with my personal goals is having come from a background in banking initially, and then impact sourcing. So it feels like a combination of my two sets of skills that I have acquired over the last couple of decades, and bringing that together in Webhelp which is both a corporate environment with an entrepreneurial mind-set, with impact sourcing as a priority on the agenda. So it feels like a nice combination of all of the things that are exciting to me, and Webhelp feels like a natural place for me to land.  

I’m super excited, I think that there are great growth opportunities, I love the clients that we bring on board, I love the people that we have, and I love the passion within the business. Everyone that I’ve spoken to just rallies around what needs to get done so I just love that culture. 


What does South Africa mean to you?

Well firstly, South Africa is home. I’ve travelled to so many places, in the last decade a lot more than previously, but South Africa is the place that I think I can make the greatest impact. I love travelling the world, but whenever I come back home I breathe a deep sigh of relief, because I’m home. And I feel like if I can make a huge impact in this country where it’s so greatly needed, then that’s like my purpose in life.  

Just yesterday, I was talking to one of our sales team and he was sharing a story about one of the young people that had joined Webhelp from Harambee. This young man had said that he feels that one of the values of Webhelp – ‘Think Human’ – is really lived out in his life, because since he’s been able to find a job and work at Webhelp, he’s been able to see his siblings go to school and pay for their fees, and send a family member to university and pay for those fees. So it’s made a huge and significant impact in his life, and probably generationally for his family. So that’s what South Africa means to me, making that kind of impact on a daily basis is just what really resonates with me. 


Tammy Chetty

Managing Director Operations, South Africa

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Why 2022 is the year you should consider Business Process Outsourcing

The business process outsourcing (BPO) market continues to grow at pace.  Valued at $232 billion globally with forecasts in place for continued growth in the next 5-10 years, it’s a market buoyed by the uncertainty businesses of all sizes face on a daily basis.  Increasing costs, technological advances, huge pressures on staffing and recruitment all place pressure on businesses to become as agile as possible and to be able to operate effectively in a changing and often unpredictable environment.   

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


Five reasons to consider Business Process Outsourcing

You need to supercharge your digital transformation journey

The pandemic has exacerbated the need for digital transformation across every 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 optimal balance between digital and human solutions, BPOs can support businesses to develop and deliver large scale, customer-led digital transformation programmes. 

Thinking specifically about our work with clients in the digital transformation space, we’ll typically focus on areas such as digital customer experience, self-service and multi-channel strategy, deploying our team of customer journey and analytics consultants to look at key drivers of customer demand, removing barriers to digital adoption, creating revenue opportunities and general best practice digital CX strategies. 


You need the confidence that comes from shared commercial objectives

Creating commercial certainty in an uncertain world has never been more important.  A modern, innovative BPO provider will work closely with its clients to develop shared commercial objectives.   

This approach 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 based model is consigned to history. 


Your operating model is inflexible and in need of modernisation

It’s our view that when businesses are considering BPO services 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. 

We offer clients a completely elastic operation as standard, supporting our people to work from wherever they are and however they want to work.  For clients, this delivers 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.


You need a solution to short term, unpredictable demand

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


You have limited access to highly specialised services and skillsets

The growth of the digital customer continues and with it comes differing customer journey challenges.  BPO providers offers solutions such as:  

  • Data and analytics expertise to support businesses to help them truly understand their customers and their needs.  Modern BPOs embrace the wealth of data available from front-line, real-time customer interactions and turn this into actionable insights aimed at delivering transformative, personalised and innovative customer experiences 
  • Digital content services to moderate and manage the content on digital platforms and websites.  Content moderation in particular can be a huge drain on resources in an environment where users expect their content to be published in near real-time – BPOs can offer a combination of highly experienced content moderation experts and automation tools to support the best possible user experience  
  • Secure payment services that offer safe and simple solutions for customers and organisations within the online space 

 


Taking the positive next step

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. 

And the benefits are wide-ranging.  Commercially, there’s improved cost effectiveness, increased revenue and profitability, operational benefits can include reduced call times and improved first contact resolution whilst from a customer sentiment perspective, there’s improved customer satisfaction, increased net promoter score and greater brand advocacy, to name just a few. 

At Webhelp our focus is on supporting clients to design, deliver and optimise human experiences for today’s digital world.  Contact us today to discuss if the time is right for you to consider your Business Processing Outsourcing options. 


Mark Guest

Managing Director (Customer Solutions) 

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The future of outsourcing: Let’s talk innovative, agile, strategic commercial models

In the latest in our series looking at the future of outsourcing, Webhelp’s Managing Director (Customer Solutions) Mark Guest looks at the growing need for commercial certainty as organisations consider the merits of outsourcing critical operations. 


Despite the many difficulties of the pandemic, the Business Process Outsource (BPO) industry is arguably experiencing the most extensive adoption of outsourcing services in a generation, revealing common themes and new challenges to overcome. 

Outsourcing buyers are keen to optimise their partnerships to maximise investments in people, data, technology, and transformation. Against this backdrop, organisations are looking for certainty related to performance, requiring commercial arrangements that boost confidence in their partners and offer more than the traditional—and frankly unsustainable—cost-to-serve model, which centres on billing for large numbers of transactions. 

Outsourcers have an obligation to recognise this buyer shift, with our approach being the development of a model that has proven to be transformational in delivering clients the certainty they require in this incredibly uncertain time. The concept relies on strategic, outcome-based partnerships, where clients and outsourcers work together on shared commercial objectives. Most notably, this approach involves sharing the risks and rewards of outsourcing services, relieving the pressure from clients’ purchasing decisions.  

This article will explore the fundamental tenets of this evolving commercial model, highlighting how innovation, flexibility, and agility can enhance an outsourcing strategy and lead to success for both sides of the partnership.  


Outcome-focused commercial agreements

“The success of an outcome-based agreement depends heavily on access to technology, access to people, and access to data”

When organisations begin outsourcing, they’re hoping to achieve specific outcomes such as cost reduction, increased efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, revenue generation, or a combination of each.  With an outcome-focused commercial model, these strategic objectives are directly tied to service delivery, meaning that elements of remuneration are only payable when outcomes are delivered. As such, the level of financial risk and reward linked to service delivery is highly dependent on each business’s risk appetite. 

For example, if a client tasked us with transforming their customer experience, we would identify how to measure progress—perhaps through net promoter score, customer satisfaction (CSAT), or first-call resolution—and develop jointly agreed SMART performance targets to track the progress against these key outcomes. 

The success of an outcome-based agreement depends heavily on access to technology, access to people, and access to data, all of which enable the outlining of fair costs and achievable goals based on the information given provided by clients. In our partnerships, if we find any inaccuracies or our client cannot fulfil its dependencies, there’s the flexibility to review the commercial commitment to ensure its suitability over the long term.   

There is always a certain element of risk when partnering with outsourcers to achieve long-term goals, but by offering an outcome-based model, outsourcing providers are helping clients to better manage that risk, focusing on delivering results, not promises.   


Financial agility

“In adopting a financially agile approach we can help clients remove, or at least minimise, cost-related barriers to outsourcing and digital transformation.”

Historically, Webhelp has always positioned itself as an entrepreneurial, creative brand in the commercial sense. Our willingness to adapt commercial structures to fit client needs has enabled the creation of partnership-centric contracts that provide significant value for both sides of the relationship.     

Outsourcers with significant size and scale should be able to offer a level of financial flexibility that helps partners advance quickly towards their CX goals. For example, suppose an organisation is operating a 500-seat internal contact centre that is underperforming. In that case, there are several financial commitments and liabilities to deal with before switching to an outsourced model, such as facility costs, staffing, technology, and equipment. All these costs mount up and can delay a successful transformation, so it’s imperative to find a trusted outsourcing partner with the financial agility to support the organisation on its journey.  

In adopting a financially agile approach we can help clients remove, or at least minimise, cost-related barriers to outsourcing and digital transformation. This type of flexibility gives organisations the agility to deliver a robust, accountable and achievable transformational programme without being held back by their existing liabilities. 


Commercial certainty

While an outcome-focused model involves some level of certainty, by linking the commercial agreement to outcomes, commercial certainty is more about reducing financial risk for clients on the outsourcing provider’s behalf.   

It’s not an approach that works for everyone, and considerable due diligence is essential. However, for outsourcing partnerships of significant scale or tenure it can be an approach worth exploring – our experience has shown that when planned and executed properly, the commercial certainty model can produce wins for both sides of the partnership. 


Commercial creativity

The final tenet of an evolved commercial approach speaks for itself; commercial creativity exemplifies an ability to listen and work with partners to develop commercial models that meet their business needs whilst ensuring partnership creation and value for both parties.  

As a global company, we’re thinking creatively on an international scale. The appetite for outsourcing constantly evolves in every region, defined by various domestic and global trends. In this ever-changing world, being commercially agile is essential to meet clients’ specific needs in every type of vertical market.  

From a Webhelp perspective, if we can work creatively on commercial partnerships and give our clients comfort in the long-term value of outsourcing, we’ve done our job right.  


Conclusion

“Our creative, agile, outcome-focused commercial agreements have helped us establish healthy foundations for building strategic, long-term partnerships based on trust”

The client/outsourcer relationship has to change. True partnerships, underpinned by innovative, flexible, and strategic commercial agreements, allow clients and outsourcers to focus on what matters most: creating game-changing customer experiences.  

By taking an innovative and flexible approach to commercial constructs, we’ve found that senior customer and operational leaders within our clients’ organisations can confidently present outsourcing services as a solution to better manage costs and, ultimately, deliver an enhanced customer experience.  

Our creative, agile, outcome-focused commercial agreements have helped us establish healthy foundations for building strategic, long-term partnerships based on trust, which—in a world of uncertainty—has been paramount to the success of our clients and their experience of the outsourcing industry.


Mark Guest

Managing Director (Customer Solutions) 

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Africa

Webhelp: Setting the agenda for BPO CX in Africa

Africa: A continent of near-limitless opportunity for a range of customer experience outsourcing services – but without an informed market entry and execution strategy, a place where global brands can severely damage their reputation.  

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As the pandemic disrupts established offshoring locations in Asia Pacific, global brands are assessing and ramping up alternative offshore sourcing locations within AfricaThe C-suite recognize that the continent offers a clear route to maximizing business continuity and minimizing risk, while systematically reducing operational costs, and achieving a more balanced distribution of customer engagements associated with high quality outcomes.  

We have understood the opportunities well – having grown from a single market entry position on the continent in Morocco, to the current team of over 25,000 people working across seven African countries, serving both English and French language needs, providing CX management services in multiple industries, including automotive, e-commerce, FMCG, retail, airlines and oil and gas. We also continue to learn from these extensive engagements – using insights to optimise market entry strategies.

Webhelp is now one of the biggest customer experience management firms within Africa, but it has taken us 20 years, and a deep level of understanding of all the specific and different nuances associated with each and every country in which we operate in Africa today.  

 As the second largest continent in the world, Africa is home to over 1.2 billion people and makes up 20% of the earth’s surface. It’s home to extreme wealth, obscene poverty, and everything in between – with widely varying levels of political stability and infrastructure availability. It’s vital that brands which are now considering adding Africa to their sourcing portfolio’s view the continent as a long-term, integral part of their business strategy. Most multi-nationals recognize that while critical, the actual delivery of customer experience management is not their core business, and they need support with creating and implementing human experiences in a digital world. In our experience, brands must also balance responsible business, leveraged opportunities, and risks, in order to succeed within Africa.

Responsible Business

Within Africa, young people account for 60% of those who are unemployed, according to the World Bank. Areas hit hardest included Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and South Africa. As a leading global CX services provider in Africa, with an extensive global footprint, we recognize that we’re uniquely placed to offer employment opportunities and to tackle the social divides resulting from  these high levels of unemployment. So, we’ve created a bespoke and scalable Impact Sourcing Model for unemployed youth, to deliver social reform systematically through all our CX outsourcing work in Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, and South Africa.

Young African man

In South Africa for example, we work in partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator – a world-renowned not-for-profit social enterprise – as well as multiple governments and customers, using a model for inclusive youth hiring at scale. Through all our contracts, we provide  formal work readiness training, including, jobs, and professional call centre qualifications, to young people aged 18-35 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and economic exclusion.  In addition, we provide bespoke programmes designed to maximize understanding of the sectors in which our clients operate, such as retail. This approach accelerates time to competence, and we are seeing young people thrive in their careers with Webhelp. We are also seeing remarkable outcomes being delivered for our clients’ customers.

So far, in partnership with Harambee, we have supported hundreds of excluded and unemployed young people into career opportunities with Webhelp, either through jobs, or work placements, and we have a firm commitment to increase numbers every year.

Having said that, as a business striving to deliver world class customer experience outcomes, we know that we can’t enter new countries with a ‘cookie cutter’ approach. We were one of the first companies to work directly with our customers in customizing and configuring our Impact Sourcing methods to meet the specific needs and objectives of their businesses.

In terms of talent management, Webhelp South Africa has also partnered with the University of Stellenbosch Business School to launch a leadership diversity programme. By combining formal education with career experience, we can create an equitable pipeline of skilled and talented future leaders. Social value aside, I cannot overstate that we won’t work anywhere in the world without first fulfilling our responsibility to carry out extensive due diligence on countries which we, or our clients, are considering as a place for new business or offshore expansion. 

Our expert team rigorously scrutinize each and every country’s standards in terms of political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal (PESTLE) criteria. We use this insight, alongside guidance from the UN, World Bank, and World Health Organisation to ‘score’ each country under consideration for new business. We then deploy a team of subject matter experts who spend time in the country surveying the local labour markets, salary levels and recruitment, before getting all our insights validated by teams of people based within the target country.  

Only when evidence shows that a country meets our high standards on ethics, compliance, and operations, will we consider designing the best way for us and our clients to work there.

Opportunities

With 60% of the population aged under 25, Africa is set to have the biggest number of consumers globally – backed by steadily increasing education levels, improving infrastructure, and a dynamic start-up business culture. Soon, brands will have access to an abundance of highly motivated and skilled people, who due to their emerging global status as consumers, have a unique understanding of the importance of CX.

Young African muslim lady

Not only that, but right now, brands considering investment in Africa can benefit from a myriad of funding opportunities. Many governments across the continent award significant grants to firms which can deliver positive social outcomes – which is one of the reasons why South Africa has been voted the most favoured offshore CX delivery location by Ryan Strategic Advisory. There is also significant funding available through organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Trade Organization. 

We encourage competition in Africa because it drives performance. We’re not only looking to build our own business here – we’re looking to develop the whole CX industry in the regions in which we operate. As more and more brands commit to the continent as a key part of their go-to market strategy, we’re expecting to see second, third and fourth generation businesses open up opportunities for local suppliers to gain a foothold into the formal economy, driving economic growth. That means even more momentum on investment, and greater social value within African countries. 

Companies which thrive in Africa now will gain a huge competitive advantage in the long-term.  

Risk

But for every opportunity in Africa, there’s also a potential risk.  

While infrastructure is improving, it’s generally still behind more established offshoring locations, and standards vary widely between countries, so it’s smart to pre-empt potential challenges in terms of telephony and communications. Further, in a continent with historic issues relating to debt, brands may also need to be alert to, and navigate away from, potential corruption issues, as well as the potential mismanagement and misappropriation of African aid. 

It all means that Africa is not a go-to destination for any brands seeking a ‘quick win.’ Firms don’t scale here by luck – they succeed by designing and implementing robust operating models, due diligence and governance, appropriate sourcing, investment back into the available capabilities, and nurturing a pipeline of management talent.  

The operating model we use in Africa, and across the world, is Webhelp Anywhere – a system which enables clients to standardise excellence at any location in a way that’s bespoke to the needs of their business, with a focus on six key pillars – talent, engagement, performance, technology, security, and resilience. We also deploy specialist teams, comprising global and local talent, into new countries to support the set-up and establishment of new services, the combined effect brings assurance to this process. 

Finally, I’d urge any firms considering their operating model strategy, entry into new territories, and business operations, to talk to brands like Webhelp, which have already overcome these challenges and established a presence in a number of countries in Africa. Leaders can save a lot of hassle by getting advice on how and where to invest, avoid pitfalls, and fulfil social value in a country with infinite opportunity.  

About the author

Craig Gibson

Craig Gibson, grew up in South Africa, was educated at Durban Technikon in South Africa and helped to develop the first major contact centre BPO offshore model in South Africa – working across the US, Middle East, UK, Europe and Africa.

A business he started in South Africa was later acquired by Webhelp, which accelerated his work to bridge the social divide in communities in which the company makes investments with its clients, alongside delivering world-class outcomes for them.

Today Craig leads the Webhelp Group’s growth efforts, working with clients to address their customer management needs, he lives in London.

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