Webhelp Welcomes Tech Leader Benjamin Faes to Executive Committee

Webhelp, a leading global provider of customer experience (CX) and business solutions, announced that Benjamin Faes has joined the group from his leadership role at Google.

As Group Managing Director, Benjamin reinforces the company’s executive leadership team at a time of significant growth, including an expanding technology client portfolio.

Benjamin’s career at Google spanned 14 years, most recently as Managing Director at Google Cloud for Southern Europe and Emerging Markets, where he worked to transition the business’s enterprise clients to the cloud. Prior to this, he led the launch of YouTube’s services across Europe.

“As a strong leader with an agile growth mindset, Benjamin will reinforce the business and executive team with his fresh perspective. His expertise and knowledge will serve him well as he leads our global marketing and business development practice,” said Olivier Duha, CEO and Co-founder at Webhelp. “I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that I am thrilled to welcome Benjamin to our team and am confident in his ability to further develop our strategy to create unforgettable human experiences.”

Benjamin brings 25 years of experience in sales and marketing strategy, leadership, and mergers and acquisitions, through his work with globally leading technology and media companies.

At Webhelp, he will work closely with the executive leadership team and Matthieu Bouin, Group Managing Director, leveraging his expertise in fast-growth organizations to support the business as it continues to scale globally.

“Today, the success of brands is based on how they design journeys that take their customers’ needs into account every step of the way,” said Faes. “I look forward to working with the team to help design, deliver and optimize truly incredible customer experiences. I’m impressed by the unique entrepreneurial spirit and culture that is brought to life across all areas of the business and am excited to join on this journey.”

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Role of Data

Anywhere, Anytime, Any device

In the post-pandemic world, customers expect to interact with brands on their terms – via their preferred channel, and at the time and place they want.  

With demand for digital channels spiking, brands must now integrate all forms of communication which are relevant for their specific customers – such as chat bots, SMS, web, mobile apps, phone, email, video, WhatsApp and Messenger. 

Here, we discuss three trends in demand for new channels to optimize CX while retaining operational control – a topic explored more fully in the CX21 series.

Provide a seamless user experience

Many customers want to proactively investigate, and self-serve, solutions to problems – often using multiple channels simultaneously for a speedier resolution.  

What people will not tolerate is brands wasting their time by failing to manage the complexity of the multichannel environment. In reality, that means being asked to provide the same information multiple times or being sent down ‘dead end’ or circular channels, where it’s impossible to complete transactions. It’s vital that customers can complete journeys in any, and all, channels provided by the brand – be it an app, website, social channels or bot. 

Advanced firms recognize that multichannel is a strategic priority. They’re investing in cloud contact centres which enable them to integrate all their business operations – from sales, customer service, CRM, and marketing, which helps customers to switch easily between channels. It also ensures technologies work together, and provides a ‘single view of the customer’ across online and offline experiences.  

Design with the customer in mind

Brands must resist the temptation to implement ‘cool’ new channels for the sake of it – effectively putting tactics before strategy.  

The journey to multi-channel should always begin with a “human sense of design thinking” – gaining a genuine understanding of what people your customers are trying to achieve, and the journeys they’re taking to get there.  

For consumers, the priorities are most likely to be convenience and simplicity. When introducing new channels, it’s often easier and more practical for brands to introduce bolt-ons for existing customer technology, rather than introduce clunky proprietary apps – many of which to date have collected data but added little value to customers. 

With demand for digital channels soaring, it may also be time to ‘bust the myth’ that people, by default, want to get into phone conversations with advisors. In reality, these calls are often the “human last resort” for people happy to self-serve, thus brands should recruit and assign highly skilled advisors to handle these complex queries. 

In short, customers love digital channels – but their primary concern remains the ability to easily complete transactions – whatever the channel.  

Role of data

Providing an opportunity for great CX anytime, anywhere and on any device marks a clear win for consumers. But it also enables intelligent brands to secure a competitive advantage – through gathering, centralizing, and mining data from the entire customer journey.  

Brands will need to use AI and analytics to create the customer profiles which underpin future products and services. These data-led approaches help to exceed customer expectations, cement customer loyalty, and refine multi-channel strategies.  

And that’s a wise move, because delivering a robust multi-channel environment is not a one-off exercise; brands will need to make a long term, operational commitment, and a team of people to continuously assess and improve performance.  

The shift to multi-channel will put clear water between CX brands. Those which streamline channels, apply human design thinking, and harness insights from powerful data, will maintain ‘sticky’ customer relationships  – delivering experiences well beyond purely transactional and reactive services. Brands which don’t engage with multichannel risk reputational damage from wasting their customers’ time on poorly-designed journeys which prioritize channels over user experience. 

Discover our CX21 series that explores the major trends, opportunities, and challenges in the world of CX in the 21st century, focusing on how brands can thrive in this dynamic context. 

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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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Fashion and ready-to-wear: 3 tips to help you make the most of the economic recovery

A quick analysis of the fashion and ready-to-wear market, plus 3 tips from Bertrand Mahon, VP Operation Logbox at Webhelp Payment Services, whose credit management network covers 35,000 shops and more than 400 brands; a unique economic vantage point.

What a lovely surprise! Back in autumn 2020, who would have placed any bets on the fashion and ready-to-wear sector being back up and running? So many bankruptcies, outstanding debts, mass unemployment, disaffected consumers… the media was dominated by grim predictions. And yet here we are in autumn 2021, and the indicators are pretty positive… excellent even: at Webhelp Payment Services, we’re even breaking records – our monthly sales figures for September 2021 are the best since our company was founded, in 1984!

Without claiming to replace the pollsters, our “surface area” means that we really understand these markets: we manage more than 400 brands and 35,000 ready-to-wear shops in Europe and the United States, as well as department stores and online retailers. In 2021, we expect to manage more than 600,000 invoices, equivalent to 1.3 billion EUR.

Based on this, we can say today that wholesale distribution networks in Europe & the United States have weathered the storm – no doubt due to the exceptional financial support that has been offered, and thanks to the fact that brands have managed to restructure some of their debts. And we can attest to the fact that the current levels of debts and disputes are neither extraordinary nor worrying.

A general picture that is totally different from the catastrophic situation in 2008-2009, for example. This time, the market has been managed well – that’s our first observation.

Digital players have benefited from the health crisis

Our second observation will be less surprising: digital players have been able to take advantage of a period during which in-store stopping was prohibited or limited. In addition, many department stores – and even retailers – were able to develop their online sales channel quickly. In the end, the sector sped up its digital transformation, and so new buyers were recruited. But the wholesale market has still done well in this complicated, competitive environment.

Admittedly, overall, we are not yet seeing the same levels of activity as “before”, in other words in 2019, but everything is pointing towards the fact that there is some new momentum, and that it would be a good idea to make the most of that.

For 2021, according to a study carried out by Euler Hermes, a partner of Webhelp Payment Services, a rebound of +14% is expected in the turnover of French textiles and clothing, but we won’t be going back to pre-crisis levels before 2023. As for marketplaces, they grew by +27%, so twice as fast as in 2019 (according to Fevad).

Let’s allow ourselves to dream a little: what if 2022 were to surpass the performance we saw in 2019? If you spend some time at trade shows, and according to our clients, that idea isn’t as crazy as it might seem!

Tip #1: don’t be timid

Faced with this new momentum, it’s a good idea not to hold back. During the crisis, brands and the wholesale market protected themselves from risk, including in particular by reducing the number of models or collections.
Now, we need to turn over a new leaf and get away from this “crisis mentality” that holds initiatives back. Although some supply chains have been disrupted, a return to normal is falling into place. And consumers – who have saved a lot of money in Europe – are rediscovering the desire to treat themselves, to step out of the gloom and even to build a better world.
Brands that are more daring will win market share. This is backed up by the spectacular growth seen in ethical, second-hand and eco-friendly fashion.

Tip #2: watch out for signs of impending failure

We know that there are some warning signs before a shop or a retailer defaults. That’s why we advise our clients to watch out for “weak signals” that indicate a potential breakdown. In particular, levels of debt and disputes should be closely monitored!

To that end, we have created indicators, alert thresholds and procedures to detect and mitigate financial risks.

Tip #3: take national and international payment practices into account

Our extensive experience of national and international markets backs up this advice – the crisis hasn’t changed anything in this area: you need to take into account the specific characteristics and payment habits of each country or economic area. The desire to impose “unique conditions”, with exactly the same payment deadline for all European countries, for example, runs the risk of significantly penalising your business.

To sum up, Webhelp Payment Services has unique quantitative and qualitative information: we have local bases and have been pooling millions of pieces of data from brands and stores for more than 30 years. That means that we understand what really happens with payments, depending on the stakeholders and the countries, in real time. This customer knowledge is a key asset when it comes to making the most of the recovery that lies ahead.

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Voice of the Customer – Retail’s secret weapon

With huge advances in the tools and methods available to analyse unstructured customer data, Vanessa Flather takes us through the wealth of untapped insight to be gained from Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback.  


When retailers look to examine and measure the relationship they have with their customers, they typically focus on two areas – brand experience and customer experience. In our work with retailers across multiple sectors, it’s become clear that the impact of customer experience (CX) on overall brand perception is greater than ever. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) are the most significant, and most widely used, customer experience metrics.  

NPS measures the extent to which individual customers would recommend your product or service to their friends, on a scale of 0-10. CSAT arguably takes it even further in its simplicity, usually composed of a single question such as “On a scale of 0-10, how satisfied were you with your recent purchase?” 

The regular, reliable stream of direct customer feedback from NPS and CSAT ensures their popularity, and indeed the value to be gleaned shouldn’t be underestimated. We believe, however, that these metrics only form part of the customer experience puzzle.  

One key limitation on both metrics is their ability to truly represent the end-to-end customer experience. Considering this, we commissioned internal research with our analytics team that discovered, depending on scope and response rates, survey-driven CSAT and NPS data could represent as low as 5-10% of all customer interactions. 

An additional factor to consider is situational bias. Put simply, customers are much more likely to fill in feedback surveys when their emotions are heightened, be that negative or positive. The data is still valuable, of course, but it can be difficult to gain a full spectrum view of customer mood and intention from the surveys.  

There’s a lot more customer experience data out there, and the retailers who harness this data – who better understand the voice of their customer – are the retailers who can most effectively deliver exceptional customer experiences.  

So, what’s the missing piece of the puzzle?  


Voice of the Customer – Listen, Empower, Engage 

Voice of the Customer (VoC) provides organisations with a detailed understanding of customer requirements, based on customer interaction data. The sheer volume of available data, however, can be daunting. This creates a need for data and analytics experts to properly mine and structure this data, before uncovering the actionable insights that can transform the customer experience.  

Once properly armed with this VoC data, organisations can deploy a ‘Listen, Empower, Engage’ approach to delivering valuable improvements across all aspects of their customer journey.  

Listen – by mining conversations at scale, retailers can uncover opportunities to improve the customer experience 

Empower – by using natural language processing, organisations can spot signals from conversations and link these to the customer experience, creating the environment for a great customer conversation.  

Engage – by understanding the topics, sentiment and emotion of the conversations from the customers’ perspective, it’s possible for retailers to deliver proactive, personalised communications strategies  

Accessing, understanding and utilising your VoC data can provide opportunities to transform your retail operation and brand, for the better – across sales, delivery, and service. We’ve identified four key ways in which VoC can transform your business: 

It’s time to transform your customer experience 

With NPS and CSAT, retailers get a sense of how their customers are feeling about their products and services. 

Innovative retailers, however, want more than this.  

By listening to their customers like never before, by challenging themselves to better understand their customers’ needs, and by embracing the wealth of data available from their front-line, real-time customer interactions, retailers can deliver a holistic, transformative and innovative brand and customer experience.  


Interested in learning more about harnessing Voice of the Customer data to transform your customer experience? Download our guide: Beyond Brand, NPS and CSAT - it’s time to recognise the voice of the retail customer.


Altnets are hitting our streets, but are they here to stay?

With vast investments currently being made by altnets on Fibre rollout, Peer Hackman, Managing Director, Telecommunication, Media & Technology at Webhelp looks at why CX differentiation will be key in the competitive UK “Gigabit” market

 

Waking up to the sound of loud drilling and excavators digging up the street is rarely a pleasant experience, but when this happened to me last week, I was happy to learn that the crew from G.Network had arrived to bring full-fibre broadband to the area.

Considering I live a stone’s throw from Google’s new King’s Cross head office and trendy Coal Drops Yard, it is somewhat disconcerting that we’ve been making do with copper delivering about 6 Mbps for the last 15 years. In fact, just one week before G.Network’s arrival, I’d switched to Virgin, hoping to prevent yet another video conferencing disaster.

Having worked in the telecommunications industry for years, I’m thrilled to see that the altnet boom is happening on our doorsteps. Still, is this a short-lived scramble for market share or a disruptive force that will push incumbent providers to compete on a new level? And what can altnets do to extend their longevity in the market?

The altnet push for market share

As they compete directly with only two incumbents, BT Openreach and Virgin Media, alternative networks (altnets) are spending vast amounts of money to claim their slice of the UK’s increasingly competitive “Gigabit” broadband connectivity market.

Whilst relative minnows compared to established players, alternative operators are fuelling growth and account for 57% of homes passed on a Europe-wide basis. UK FTTx altnets are also projected to reach almost 30 million UK homes by 2025, according to the sector’s trade body INCA.

Fibre rollout is accelerating fast, with investment from Openreach, Virgin, altnet providers, and their financial backers likely to exceed £30 billion by 2025. Still, there are significant challenges for independent network operators in their roles as network builders, wholesale vendors, and ISPs.

Challenges for altnets

New entrants to the UK broadband market have to deal with multiple hurdles like future market consolidation and price erosion, overbuild by incumbents, limited access to skilled labour, and the acquisition of land access rights. However, perhaps the biggest obstacle to their commercial success is creating awareness, generating high user satisfaction, and providing positive, differentiating customer experiences for their services.

OFCOM’s 2021 survey of UK broadband ISPs found that consumer broadband satisfaction rates have dropped by as much as 11% for some of the leading providers over the last five years. The COVID-19 challenge was a significant driver of these results. As such, altnet providers can pick up churn from Openreach, its partner ISPs, and Virgin, but “new” customer acquisition will be difficult.

Other issues altnet providers will face include service installation logistics, sourcing and set up for CPE (Customer Premises Equipment, such as routers), customer onboarding, high support requirements through surveying, frequently rescheduled installation appointments, and support over live and assisted channels.

All these factors—combined with Openreach and Virgin’s potentially aggressive wholesale pricing—negatively impact the business case and OPEX profile for altnets whilst affecting new ISPs’ and resale partners’ ability to provide superior customer experiences as competitive differentiators.

Strategies for tackling CX challenges

Assuming that altnet providers can overcome some of the supply-side and demand generation issues, here at Webhelp, we see three areas in particular in need of attention to ensure a best-in-class customer experience.

  • Ensuring reliable, consistent and resilient network QoS (Quality of Service) and QoE (Quality of Experience) after COVID-19 bottlenecks.
  • Better designed services, customer/employee journeys, and touchpoints to provide understanding, confidence, trust, and the ability (by the customer or the provider) to rapidly solve issues across the customer lifecycle.
  • Orchestration of support and engagement to deliver simple, straightforward, and easy-to-find omnichannel customer engagement pathways with first-touchpoint resolution and elimination of multiple handovers.

Let’s add some context to each of these areas and explore them in more detail.

Quality of Experience

With demand levels higher and reliance on TMT services increasing after COVID-19, broadband quality and consistency are top-of-mind when customers make their purchase decisions.

Additionally, as more digital and smart-home services that require resilient connectivity gain traction, providers must track both QoS and QoE and address them on a per-customer, per-service level. This approach can help altnets avoid costly customer service calls and truck rolls or prevent angry customer tweets, which can damage net promoter score (NPS) and word-of-mouth reputation.

To monetise the customer experience, avoid churn, and grow Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), altnet providers must focus on CX metrics, engagement tracking, as well as network KPIs whilst detecting and proactively addressing disconnections, slow response times, frame freezing, and similar issues. Analytics, AI, and customer education can help locate and predict poor QoE, whilst root cause analysis and rectification tracing can help address complaints related to network issues in the home (which is by far the majority).

Backup connectivity options are a positive interim step and may accelerate the growth of 5G FWA as the primary broadband household connection in the future. Still, it could threaten the profitability of fixed infrastructure investments unless providers can clearly articulate related use cases.

Customer journey/experience design and implementation

Once altnet providers have created demand amongst future paying customers—or RGUs as they’re known in the industry—it is crucial to design and implement customer journeys that enhance the frontend, omnichannel experience whilst seamlessly integrating with backend systems, including all relevant OSS & BSS business processes and components.

It is essential to involve customers at the beginning of this design process and throughout, as their input enables providers to improve complex processes, find new value streams, and enhance customer experience and product use.

Initiatives like customer-centric journey analysis, design and re-engineering, test and learn, and best-practice implementation frameworks (e.g. TMForum) can help take the sting out of service launches whilst enabling customers to become more capable of interacting digitally with websites and apps, setting up services, and solving issues themselves, ultimately keeping them happy and profitable.

Orchestrate digital and assisted customer support

Whilst most operators have been pushing for a digital-first approach to customer engagement, around 50% of consumers in all categories still state that “telephoning the call centre is the preferred contact method, regardless of query type”, according to a survey from EY.

The dichotomy here is that several customer segments would happily interact with apps or chatbots as long as a live advisor is available when required. However, voice support is up to 30 times more expensive than digital channels, so altnet providers must find the right balance between channel interactions to acquire, retain, and grow their customer base to more profitable levels.

To achieve better commercial and customer engagement outcomes at lower costs, operators must implement a flexible, scalable, and holistic support ecosystem that delivers exceptional experiences through all preferred customer interaction channels. However, getting there requires an understanding of the business’s current digital maturity and its prospective and existing customers.

Wrapping Up

Altnet providers have introduced momentum into a market that had been relatively static in the past. With government support through Project Gigabit injecting an additional £5 billion to support operators as they roll out across the final 20% of rural premises, growth of the sector is all but assured. However, competition will be tough for altnets, and consolidation is inevitable.

By offering “brilliant basics” that are easy to communicate and simple for customers to understand, along with resilient service performance, and straightforward sales, onboarding, and support journeys, altnet providers can almost certainly find success in the UK market.

Once my current contract has expired in 2023, I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to trying a new Gigabit, 100% full-fibre broadband service provider, having hopefully helped some of them to deliver outstanding customer experience and to grow successfully.


Mode paiement

[Fashion] - 4 tips to make payments easier and more secure in Europe and the US

Mode paiement



For fashion brands, the European and United States markets are strategically very important. But there are some risks when it comes to payments, especially with department stores and e-commerce sites. Anke Glaser, General Manager of Webhelp Payment Services for Central Europe, offers some advice.

 

1. Fashion brands should make the most of the momentum driven by departments stores and e-commerce sites

Over the last 2 or 3 years – and especially since the health crisis – online sales have really flourished in the fashion industry, both in Europe and in the United States. This growth is mainly due to department stores, which already have a digital strategy, and e-commerce platforms.

This trend is explained by companies investing more and more in digital technology generally – in England, spending on websites and online sales platforms went up by 30% in one year. In the United States, department stores can account for up to 70% of suppliers’ turnover. We can also see this trend in Spain where the leading Spanish department store has made its digital development a major focus in its development strategy.

We therefore recommend taking full advantage of this momentum, driven by departments stores and e-commerce sites, because we think it’s one that is going to last!
However, while digital strategies are undeniably seeing a surge, we remain convinced that the physical component is still vital, and that the crisis will lead to an offering that combines human and digital solutions.

2. Protect yourself against the problem of deduction

Brands have to comply with the conditions imposed by department stores and e-commerce platforms, which generally have very strict rules, at the risk of having to deal with chargebacks. In practice, whichever country you’re in, department stores and platforms rarely make a payment for just one invoice. Usually, they send us a payment advice: a document summarising all the invoices to be paid. Added to these are debit notes or chargebacks that are deducted from the payments. For a brand, it is important to be aware that these practices, which can be for many different reasons, are widespread.

Webhelp Payment Services manages debit notes directly for department stores and platforms. We check them, as agreed with the brand, and if the deductions are not totally justified, we dispute them with the department store or the platform. Our regular contact with the stores and platforms means that we can speed up the processes and so resolve any disputes faster.

Every year, this work by our experts, dedicated exclusively to managing these key accounts, helps our clients’ brands recover substantial amounts of money, as well as giving them a clear overview of the buyer’s current situation.
The benefit: if the Order to Cash process is under control, those involved in distribution generally pay on time.

3. Know how to manage the complexity of accounting documents for department stores and e-commerce platforms and avoid mistakes

Each season, brands receive documents with a lot of items to reconcile, from department stores and platforms. This involves a considerable amount of work for their accountants!

We have developed a specific reconciliation and comparison tool for documents that come from department stores and platforms. It makes the accounts much easier to understand, and means we can analyse the source of chargebacks.

Our dedicated customer platform allows clients to find all the information and all the payments in one place. It is here, for example, that any deductions will be clearly shown. This document provides a good basis for the interaction between us, the brand, and the department store or e-commerce platform.

4. Digitise your data exchanges

The relationship between department stores, platforms, and sellers is also going digital. Implementing this digital process is really useful when it comes to optimising your cash flow with these different stakeholders. Indeed, in addition to the speed of transmission via EDI, it also means that you can check to make sure that invoices have been received, and act promptly if the invoice is rejected or incomplete. This means we can reduce delays to invoice payments, but also lots of chargebacks that might not be due.

We are currently working on setting up EDI with the many department stores and e-platforms so that we can offer our clients simple, unique access, whilst also relieving them of the technical work specific to each buyer. Why not take advantage of it?

 

With 35 years of experience in fashion and luxury, Webhelp Payment Services can be both a personal advisor and a facilitator, not only for department stores and e-commerce platforms, but also for retail distribution. We are currently working with 400 ready-to-wear brands with a network of 35,000 stores in Europe and the United States.

To find out more about this topic

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5 Mistakes start-ups should avoid when building their B2B sales engine

When creating a B2B startup, a solid sales strategy is obviously a critical success factor.

Rushing to build your B2B sales strategy or missing some key processes in your sales team training or target identification processes could undermine your initial efforts to build your product and promote it.

Whether you’re looking to acquire your first customers or to improve your sales operations in a period of strong growth, here are some mistakes to avoid when establishing your B2B sales engine, picked by our expert Julie Cadalen


Webhelp Oneshot Technology CX

Discover the 7th edition of our OneShot magazine on Technology

Our 7th edition of the OneShot is here!

Download your OneShot Magazine

Webhelp Oneshot Technology Customer Experience Relation

“Let’s talk about the well-being of your customers and employees. Because well-being has become a central challenge for brands.
At Webhelp, we believe digital technology must be oriented around this axis. Technology can really make life easier, to the benefit of both women and men.
As you will discover in these pages, today there is a lot of evidence of its effectiveness – and not only in the context of the «maintaining of bonds» that we are going through.
There are also new avenues that deserve to be actively explored, And this is what we are doing, with and for you, as part of numerous experiments.
What is the goal of our Technology department? To make technology an ally, entirely to benefit the well-being of your customers and employees.
An exciting project!”

Discover through this 7th edition technological innovations that humanize customer relations, facilitating the work of our advisors, and always to the benefit of final customers.

You will also find testimonies and advice from experts: Massimo Dutti, Vattenfall, Samsung…

What are the latest technological trends that are worth a look?

What are the conditions for successful technology integration?

And let’s not forget Webhelp’s vision and ambition: transparency, security, data and, of course, the human touch.

Summary

  • A word – SXO
  • A number – Zero
  • Three opinions – Technologies that humanize the customer experience (Yan Noblot, Massimo Dutti, Vattenfall)
  • Some info – How Toyota operates predictive customization ?
  • A demo – Home: a place to live, a place to sell
  • A B-case – How Webhelp proposed and deployed an intelligent tool… to facilitate the work of Samsung Electronics advisors
  • A hashtag – #VideoChat
  • An offer – Telecats, the voice of the customer as a path to action
  • A meeting – the WorldSummit AI
  • A conversation – A weapon of seduction to re-enchant commerce in the city
  • A story – Lego : in what world are you playing?
  • A perspective – For efficient and benevolent technologies

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Helping Yodel to build a market-leading customer experience journey

As one of the UK’s leading parcel carriers, Yodel wanted to build a robust customer journey that matched up to their customers’ specific needs and expectations, delivering a truly transformative customer experience.

Webhelp’s partnership with Yodel began in 2015, focusing on their goal of improving their client and customer relationships, with a particular aim to create additional value within their CX function with multiple milestones passed along the way.

2021 in particular has been an incredibly successful year, working with the team at Yodel to achieve:

  • An increase from a team of 50 at launch, to well over 300 in 2021, across diverse sites in South Africa and India.
  • A score of 4.6% on Trustpilot, up from 2.8 in 2018.
  • 40% savings across existing customer journeys, which have been reinvested into Yodel’s people, and more efficient tech solutions.
  • Recognition at the 2021 CCA Global Excellence awards in the Best CX Transformation – Inhouse Technology Solution category

 

You can read our Yodel client story for more details of the journey so far, and what the future has in store.