Fashion Tech – Reshaping customer experience for your start up

Fashion has always been playground for innovation. The acceleration of fashion tech forces brands to rethink their digital channels and relationship with customers. Fashion players strive to develop the technologies that will differentiate themselves, internally or through partnerships with the latest tech startups. In this article, we have included several exciting fashion tech businesses to follow that support major fashion players reshaping their customer experience!

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Webhelp B2B Marketplace

B2B Purchasing and Marketplaces - 7 tips from 3 experts: Manutan, Zetrace and Webhelp Payment Services

Webhelp B2B Marketplace

Which Purchasing platform models are best suited to B2B? This is the question we put to three experts in the field: François Duranton, CEO at ZeTrace; Julie Dang Tran, Managing Director for Southern Europe at Manutan; and Julien Duméry, International Development Director at Webhelp Payment Services. Here are their answers in the form of 7 practical tips.

  1. Identify the two main families of solutions for making your Purchases
  2. Choose the purchasing model that suits your business size
  3. Consider the punch-out solution
  4. Check whether a “Manutan” model would suit your requirements
  5. Payment services: comply with the B2B codes
  6. To onboard your Sellers, rely on an optimal KYC solution (automated systems + human input)
  7. Key Accounts: don’t underestimate the difficulty of operating a marketplace

1. Identify the two main families of solutions for making your Purchases

François Duranton (ZeTrace): To help you get your bearings in the vast universe of corporate purchasing platforms, we can distinguish two families that correspond to two ways of buying: shopping vs purchasing.

  • In a shopping model, which we can also call a “seller-side” model, strategic purchases are set aside, and we look for the best solution for everyday purchases – bearing in mind how easy B2C platforms are to use. B2B distributors often have an e-commerce site of their own and are sometimes grouped into B2B marketplaces. In the latter case, the current software reference is Mirakl – a publisher that came out of B2C. In this particular context we would also mention Izberg, which has a few B2B solutions, and Uppler, a specialist.
  • In a purchasing or “buyer-side” model, – we find the historical Purchasing and e-procurement platforms. They are more supervised from a contractual point of view and make it possible to manage strategic sourcing, but they are less attractive from a UX point of view (research, navigation, customisation, single multi-seller basket, etc.). In this family of solutions we would also mention products such as SAP-Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Determine.

In both cases, these families of solutions should be compared with certain key elements: the company’s internal Purchasing processes, for example, or integration with its IS.

2. Choose the purchasing model that suits your business size

François Duranton (ZeTrace): The larger the size and requirements of a business, the less suited the marketplace model is. In general, a VSE or a small SME does not see itself as a “Buyer” and does not think in terms of a “Purchasing function”: it is often the manager who deals directly with major purchases. As for average SMEs, they sometimes have this function for class A or B direct purchases, but indirect purchases are poorly controlled: there is no question of having single invoices or grouped deliveries, for example. This need for supervision increases with the size of the company, as the Purchasing function becomes a focus of value creation. But the greater this need for supervision, the less relevant the marketplace model is: it is well suited to a many-to-many distribution model (users, buyers) while the Purchasing function of a large company is more of the few-to-many type.

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): From our point of view, the marketplace model is actually not well suited to managing the peculiarities of a Key Account Customer. Suppose, for example, that special conditions are granted – discounts, payment deadlines, delivery conditions, etc. – these conditions will be difficult to impose or enforce on third-party Sellers in the marketplace. Similarly, it will be practically impossible to impose a price, since this would affect the Sellers’ margin.

3. Consider the punch-out solution

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): To the family of purchasing solutions we can add punch-out systems. These are dedicated and personalised websites for a Customer – which Manutan can deploy for some Key Account customers, e.g. on an SAP-Ariba basis. When the Customer connects to Ariba, it will see a Manutan icon among its Suppliers: with a click, it can access the punch-outsystem. This is where it will find its usual purchasing processes, in compliance with internal validation systems. In fact, under this solution, we do not place an order directly: we issue a purchase request, which will then go through the company’s internal validation system, and finally be converted into an order.

4. Check whether a Manutan model would suit your requirements

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): Class A and B purchases are well formulated in large companies, unlike class C purchases. However, the latter, which represent a very large number of references spread across all areas and departments, account for the majority of indirect costs, even though they are presented as small amounts. At Manutan, for these class C purchases, we start from a basic premise: the company manager or the Purchasing manager is responsible with regard to their employees. Indeed, the teams use these products on a daily basis, informed by safety, ergonomics, and often CSR.

The Manutan model is therefore based on product selection, which must meet certain criteria. In contrast, with a marketplace model – where it is the Sellers that are selected – the choice of products rests with those Sellers. This means that the Manutan model is focused on referencing selected products, in the context of a partnership with Suppliers. From the Customer’s perspective this makes it possible to guarantee the origin of the products and to supply the corresponding certificates, while providing them with advice and monitoring the commercial relationship.

5. Payment services: comply with the B2B codes

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): Everyone knows that B2B processes differ from B2C processes, and that they must be scrupulously observed. For example, certain key operations must be initiated prior to payment:

  • facilitate the creation of a customer account;
  • ensure a customer’s solvency from the outset;
  • manage the entire order up to invoicing (i.e. checking the content of the order and the invoice; an incorrect or incomplete invoice may result in late payment and compromise the relationship with the customer);
  • offer a recovery solution, automated or human;
  • facilitate reconciliation (to avoid costly manual processing);
  • and finally, manage the payment transactions associated with B2B codes (bank transfer, direct debit, card, etc.).

We therefore recommend ensuring that the operations leading to payment are also managed in a spirit of value addition.

6. To onboard your Sellers, rely on an optimal KYC solution combining technology and human input

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): To ensure that the B2B marketplace remains a trusted space, in full compliance with the latest regulations at all times, ensure that you have effective KYC procedures in place. These will enable you to onboard Sellers, regardless of their geographical location and their local legal constraints.

Offering your salespeople good onboarding experience is important. We recommend that you ensure human support is made available; this is essential, because automation cannot meet every need, especially when the items expected are not the right ones. This is why you should favour hybrid solutions that combine technology and human input, and ensure that they are perfectly integrated. What if the automated system has failed to resolve the problem? It sends the file to an expert so that they can provide an immediate solution, or enter into dialogue with the Seller in order to obtain the information or documents essential for finalising onboarding.

7. Key Accounts: don’t underestimate the difficulty of operating a marketplace

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): Learning from some of the failures or difficulties encountered on purchasing platforms, it must be recognised that it is easy to underestimate certain key processes. For example, the onboarding of Sellers may be seen as nothing more than a straightforward large-scale administrative operation. The reality is much more complex and does not allow the operator to rely entirely on existing tools: for example, some reference suppliers of turnkey platforms, coming from B2C, do not provide a satisfactory response in B2B. To put it briefly: it’s not the same business as negotiating with suppliers when buying products from them, or referencing them on a platform by taking charge of all administrative aspects.

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): I also think it important to advise great caution: some platform projects are started without taking sufficient account of certain obstacles. As far as Key Accounts are concerned, it is not enough to launch a project around a platform publisher, hire a payment intermediary, and then hope that customers will on their own initiative go to the new marketplace without communication, training of buyers/sellers, or prior marketing. In reality, these Key Accounts are then the only ones managing and running a marketplace – which is not actually where their expertise lies. Bringing this distribution channel to life is a real challenge! It will require integrating the costs associated with marketing and communications, or the recruitment and training of buyers/sellers, into the business plan.

 

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KYC remediation

The 4 key indicators of a successful KYC remediation campaign

KYC remediation

Knowing Your Customer (KYC) is at the heart of the challenges faced by regulated companies and financial institutions. In fact, they are subject to the European legislation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and are obliged to carry out KYC checks. This involves collecting and checking information and associated supporting documents from the beginning of the relationship (identity, domicile, activity, etc.). These KYC operations also occur throughout the commercial relationship in the form of periodic reviews.

In the event of a breach discovered during an audit by a regulator, such as the ACPR (the French Prudential Supervisory Authority), companies face serious consequences such as criminal sanctions. They also risk damaging their brand image in the event of indirect involvement with a case of money laundering or fraud. Some organizations are also required to launch extensive KYC remediation campaigns aimed at making a substantial stock of existing customer records compliant, often before an imminent deadline. In such cases customers are asked and invited to update their file as soon as possible. These operations require special attention in order to maximise the remediation rate of these customers, while managing the associated investments and customer satisfaction.

In order to optimise the performance of a KYC remediation campaign, Guillaume Bru, Project Director at Webhelp KYC Services, recommends paying particular attention to 4 key indicators:

1/ After taking an inventory of the customers targeted by the campaign, ensure a maximum deliverability rate of the invitations in order to reach the largest number of customers.

The essential point is identifying which contact channels to prioritise according to the type of customer (email, post, SMS, telephone, etc.) and confirming having the means of contact used by each customer (email address, telephone numbers, postal address, secure messaging in the customer’s account, etc.). By having the option of using a variety of channels, you will increase your chances of reaching the customer with one of these methods. On the other hand, in order to control costs, prioritise mail only when necessary – for example, to customers less comfortable with digital channels or in the case of a final reminder.

2/ Once the customer is aware of the update request, the second indicator to be optimised is the take-up rate corresponding to the customers’ consent to the update of their file.

In fact, some customers complain about the constraints associated with these administrative formalities. Above all, it is necessary to prepare and use reasoned and personalised arguments, given by expert, trained members of staff. We have seen that 95% of customers agree to carry out the remediation following a well-reasoned call with one of our advisors. Also, rely on the official communication channels used by your company in its relationship with your customers (corporate website, customer support, etc.) in order to rule out any suspicion of phishing, for example.

3/ Customers must then be able to take action and provide whatever is required in order to obtain a maximum collection rate.

To do so, make it easier for them to cooperate and favour user-friendly digital channels, while leaving the door open to traditional channels such as post. You can also directly ask the customer what their preferred method is. Anticipate their questions and answer them if necessary. Offering support through a hotline or a chatbot is a good way to overcome any final obstacles they may face. Finally, in the event of a lack of response, send reminders with prompts, progressively and sufficiently spaced out to both control costs and preserve the customer relationship.

4/ Finally, the last key indicator to optimise is the compliance rate of the files collected.

Some files may be rejected due to incompleteness, illegible supporting documents or still being out of date. Raising the customer’s awareness beforehand of the required quality of the documents to be provided will help to avoid many rejections. Also, it is important to be pragmatic andadapt the level of the requests based on the assessed degree of AML/CFT risk. Analysing pre-existing information will also potentially reduce the number of items to be collected. Finally, in the event of a non-compliant file being received, set up a specific follow-up process to make the file compliant.

Define and prepare the campaign in advance by implementing a process that combines technology for automated tasks and people for high-value tasks. Throughout the remediation campaign, set goals, particularly for remediation rates that you will manage each week by optimizing these 4 key indicators. It is also wise to demonstrate flexibility by testing and adapting each element of the process in order to continuously improve results. This is the key to a successful KYC remediation campaign.

To find out more about this topic

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How videos are used by remote sellers to accelerate business growth

Never before in the history of B2B selling has buyer behavior been more in sync with remote selling motions. To sell and attract new businesses or take buyers through the sales funnel, remote sellers must include the use of synchronous and asynchronous video. 

This has created the perfect alignment between buyer behavior and remote sales motions. Subsequently, the implementation of video in all its formats is key to keeping the sales pipeline full and ensuring a Return on Investment (ROI). 

Asynchronous videos do not occur in real-time and subsequently, will incur some delay. An email or recorded video, video voicemail, video messages, screen shares, etc, all fall within this category. They’re easier to consume, can be rewatched, shared far and wide, allow for better quality viewing and offer more control. In short, asynchronous sales messaging enables sales people to reach more prospects and start more sales conversations.

On the flip-side, creating videos does take time and a salesperson has to wait for response, once the video has been shared.

Synchronous videos occur at exactly the same time. This form of communication includes video conference calls, phone calls, face-to-face conversations, etc. However, this can cause fatigue, be contingent on bandwidth/internet connections, or result in reduced audio or visual quality. 

Use of video to create empathy and trust 

Video messaging enables a member of your sales team to show compassion and cut through the noise of today’s selling environment to build trust. Video messages or live video calls, can occur via zoom, FaceTime, or Twitter spaces, to name a few, in conjunction with other modes of communication, such as the mobile, chat or email.

The omnichannel remote selling experience is the now the hallmark of modern-selling and part and parcel ofB2B sales. 

For example, a channel sales person can send a video reminder for an upcoming meeting and then a video follow-up after the meeting, to connect at a much deeper level. Alternatively, a prospect can start a conversation over chat and receive a follow-up email with an embedded video specifically addressing a prospect’s pain points or purchasing needs. 

Personalized sales video messaging delivered through email can be tracked and measured, allowing a sales person to more effectively plan the next stage of the buyer journey. Consequently, including a video in sales emails outreach can improve click rates by a staggering 96%. 

In some instances, a client or prospect may prefer to deactivate their camera, but are perfectly comfortable with speaking to sales team member if they are out and about. This connection fosters increased engagement and trust, as the prospect doesn’t have to wait until they arrive at work or reach home for a response. 

Videos can increase a salesperson’s productivity

In today’s world, time zones and schedules matter. People in your team may find it difficult to attend video calls at a fixed time. They might be receiving calls at the expense of their productivity. 

On the flip side, recorded videos allow plenty of flexibility. Your team can watch (at whatever speed they like – they can speed the video up, too) when it’s suitable for them, and even re-watch if required. 

Feedback videos

When you’re not in the office, a salesperson can substitute a feedback loop with a quick video, when they cannot meet a sales colleague in person. This is better than sending multiple texts or emails which not only take time to review, but may not convey what they’re trying to say due to lack of vocal expression. 

Product demonstrations via video increase conversions

Recorded and live product demonstration can supplement showrooms by augmenting the user experience from anywhere in the world. 

In the B2B world, this means that sales are able to provide additional personalization within all their interactions, thereby allowing prospects to take the lead to explore and shape their own experience for the most value. 

  • 90% of customers state that product videos help them when making purchasing decisions. 
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video. 
  • Importantly, recorded product videos can be repurposed on a company website, social channels or personal live call, thereby decreasing the cost of sales and maximising reach. 

Video content is easy to consume and allows a prospect to retain more information. A salesperson can convey tone and expression effortlessly to reinforce the intuitu personae so crucial to establish with a client. 

Video streaming services are leading to success

There are many steaming platforms used to showcase a product or service: from social media platforms to Microsoft applications, virtual event apps or Zoom. Therefore, using the right streaming service to deliver a successful campaign is vital. 

Most people are visual learners. Therefore, if a prospect can see your sales person whilst speaking about your product or service, how it works, and how it could benefit them, they are more likely to engage with your sales person in a conversation. Importantly, executives are more likely to take action via a video. A Forbes report: Video in the C-Suite indicates that 65% of senior executives have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video and that 59% of decision makers prefer to watch a video rather than reading an article. It is also easier to retain information, thereby increasing sales conversion. 

Prospecting via video enables a sales person to stand out from the crowd and capture their attention. In this instance, the seller can introduce themselves, provide their value proposition and have a call to action. “These are methods we use for our own prospecting. In a daily life made of multiple solicitations, a video message is much more memorable than lines of text: the pitch is fluid, the seller’s intention is clearly conveyed, intimacy is created,” observes Alexandre Barthel, Global Head of Demand at Webhelp. 

Another popular personalization method is to include a screenshot of the prospect’s LinkedIn profile or website within a video. This highlights the effort a sales person took to research the prospect on LinkedIn and learn more about them.

Harnessing videos in proposals

Remote sellers can go beyond sending an email with an attached proposal and actually record a video outlining each point of the proposal and the next steps. It can even be useful when going over any legal issues and contract details. 

Finally, the seller can create a video thanking the client for their time and handing over the client to the Customer Success manager or other members of the business. 

Video as a training and equipping vehicle

Should you need to guide your team on how to use a particular type of software, or if you need to provide step-by-step instructions on a task, how-to videos are ideal. These types of videos are great for knowledge sharing and are also perfect for reaching out to the B2B audience. 

Video streaming services are leading to success

Although we can’t choose the video steaming platform for you, we can tell you what has worked for our clients to build successful relationships, engagement, and revenue growth. 

Using channels such as video, social and digital marketing to drive sales, meet targets, ramp up new service offerings, track and measure video engagement with prospects, is fuelling the B2B sales pipeline. 

Furthermore, joint content creation between talented, multilingual teams, using video streaming, enables a collaborative and flexible approach leading to new and recurrent sales.​ 

Video plays a significant role with driving sales through engaging social channels and digital marketing platforms, when displaying service offerings, thereby providing the quintessential omnichannel selling. 

Video enables businesses to be innovative and to differentiate themselves amongst their competitors. We believe that understanding the power of technology and a human mindset approach, connects you with your customers to achieve the most value. With video becoming a strong contender due to growing audience popularity within the digital space, we believe it has untold power to deliver a game-changing experience. 

Get in touch with an expert

Get in touch to find out how you can optimize video success in your business strategy.
 

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Webhelp and The University of Stellenbosch Executive Development celebrate Leadership programme success

Webhelp have partnered with USB Executive Development to co-create a two-year programme to help Passionate Game Changers excel in their development journey. This week, we celebrated the end of the first year for 33 of our future leaders in South Africa.

In October 2020, Webhelp South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch Executive Development launched a unique leadership acceleration programme to develop an inclusive and accredited route into future business leadership.

At Webhelp, we are fully committed to diversity and inclusivity. To achieve the right leadership we invest in our people and develop their skills in the business. We want to see everyone who has capability have the opportunity to be the best they can be, which is why our partnership with USB is a key component in our talent strategy.

The co-created leadership acceleration programme is a 2-year course ground in academic theory, whilst ensuring practical application for the BPO and Webhelp context. The university has been an ideal partner in enabling the delivery of the programme, with candidates accelerating into leadership positions.

 

On 7 July, we hosted a celebration event to recognise 33 candidates – 18 female, 15 male – successfully completing the first year of the two-year course. The event looked back at the year one journey so far, with video testimonials from our participants our leaders and our sponsors.

Our CEO, David Turner applauded candidates on their commitment during what has been an incredibly challenging year, and thanked the university for their incredible support.

“You wouldn’t have been able to achieve this if we did not have important educators involved such as our partners at the university who have guided and coached our people. I have seen the most fulsome praise come through from our participants.”

 

In addition, David closed with three thoughts for candidates to consider when going into year two.

  1. Continue to be curious – being curious allows you to ask the right questions.
  2. Be disruptive – aim to be the future game-changes of South Africa, look to change things and be different.
  3. Be humble – the only way you can learn is for you to believe that you don’t know everything.

 

USB Executive Development truly brought our talent agenda vision to realty. The programme has been a phenomenal success on every level and our people have been gifted with invaluable experience and learning. In addition, we have observed three of our senior managers successfully promoted into director roles because of the partnership.

Gillian Campbell, our Chief People Officer admired the discretionary effort our people put in to manage this program on top of their day job.

“Each and every one of you, both participants and contributors, should take pride in how far you’ve come and have faith in how far you will go.”

We look forward to seeing our candidates progress and excel in their leadership journey in year two. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with USB and we cannot thank line managers, sponsors, mentors and assessors enough. Their contribution has really enabled some of the success stories we have seen.

 

Finally, we would like to extend our congratulations once again to all candidates on the end of year one, it has been a pleasure watching you transform into the leaders you are destined to be. To our partners at USB Executive Development, thank you for helping us to create and deliver this rewarding programme.


Webhelp Payment Services anti-fraud

[Testimonial] Why outsourcing has become a key part of Rue du Commerce's anti-fraud strategy

Webhelp Payment Services anti-fraud

With online sellers increasingly embracing tools to combat fraud, fraud patterns have evolved and now affect more than just payments. Above and beyond payment fraud, the trends that are growing in pace are mainly friendly fraud, customer account spoofing and fraud involving promotions and returns. They are becoming more and more subtle, putting pressure on sellers’ fraud management teams, and require specific expertise and know-how. For more than three years, Webhelp Payment Services has been working with Rue du Commerce, a major player in French e-commerce, on its anti-fraud strategy.

With a target of achieving zero fraud, our teams are responsible for checking all suspicious activity, sometimes within very tight deadlines, especially during peak seasons (sales, Black Friday, Christmas etc.), whilst also minimising customer queries.

In this interview, Christophe Charrot, Fraud Manager at Rue du Commerce, tells us about the challenges involved in combating fraud and how outsourcing has become a key part of its strategy 

Why did you decide to outsource anti-fraud management at Rue du Commerce?

Christophe Charrot: Quite simply because our resources and tools are not enough to prevent fraud. Initially, our anti-fraud department was based on payment fraud but we are realising that this is becoming increasingly anecdotal. Today, fraud has become “ingenious”; it focuses on fake documents, false statements about products not being received, hacking customer accounts, instalment payments, return fraud, etc. Given these developments, outsourcing was the obvious answer, allowing us both to maintain the highest level of quality but also to remain alert in an area that is constantly changing.

What are the key points for an outsourcing strategy when it comes to fraud management?

CC: Outsourcing doesn’t have to compensate for internal shortcomings but should be seen from a collaborative perspective. I would say that the first key aspect of a successful outsourcing strategy is to be surrounded by a brilliantly trained team, with whom we are constantly communicating and with whom there is a real sense of collaboration. As a client, we are an indicator for fraud trends, which means that the teams can be aware of exactly what they need to target and keep in mind with their anti-fraud strategy. On the other hand, outsourcing teams offer both the human and technical resources that we lack. It’s a real team effort.
The other key point in my view is the need to remain vigilant, to stay alert and be on the lookout for issues relating to fraud. Lastly, we need to demonstrate real agility if we want to be able to adapt quickly to changes when it comes to combating fraud.

In terms of figures, how do you measure success?

CC: Well, we haven’t had any unpaid invoices for 6 months from our manual reviews! And we know that we only had one or two unpaid invoices over the previous 6 months.
As far as manual reviews are concerned, we have also gone from 15% when I came to Rue du Commerce, to 4.5% now. It is important to reduce this review rate as it can have a real impact on the customer experience and cause friction.
Lastly, our rejection rate (transactions declined after purchase because they are identified as too risky) has gone from 30% to 12%, so this figure has more than halved.

How do you prepare for a peak season like Black Friday or Christmas?

CC: We start preparing for the peak season in advance with the Webhelp Payment Services teams to identify the key indicators that need to be monitored, as well as the fraud trends, and to optimise the manual review system as much as we can. The stakes are very high for the customer experience at this time of the year.

How do you see the future in terms of manual reviews?

CC: Payment fraud has given way to refund fraud. Today, the risks are no longer with bank payments but rather with credit or instalment payments. In legal terms, we are no longer talking about fraud but about unpaid debts.
Manual review must and will continue to exist. However, it will no longer focus on traditional payment methods such as bank cards, but on other methods like credit or instalment payments. In my opinion, we need to strike a balance between manual review (which will reduce in terms of volume) and artificial intelligence, which just keeps getting better.

What part does Webhelp Payment Services play in Rue du Commerce’s anti-fraud strategy?

CC: Webhelp Payment Services clearly plays a key role. Internally, for example, we will never have the capacity to compensate for peak seasons because this would require recruiting employees, purchasing equipment, expanding the premises, etc. Outsourcing is “the key”. Especially in an environment in which we will need to learn a new trade and adopt a system to deal with return fraud.
I have every faith in the Webhelp teams to adapt to the new challenges that lie ahead. We also have plans to launch a debt collection service together in the near future.

How would you rate your partnership with Webhelp Payment Services?

CC: 100% satisfied. It’s a real pleasure. Today, we no longer have a “client / supplier” relationship: it’s no longer about people who work “for” us but rather “with” us. I particularly enjoy working with the teams in Romania, with whom we have developed a real climate of trust that means we can work with real peace of mind.
There’s just one thing that I can’t wait for, and that’s to be able to go back to Lasi in Romania after a year and a half of being in a long-distance relationship!

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The creative process behind Webhelp’s sponsored bear

In just a few days’ time, the bears will hit the streets of Sheffield for this summer’s sculpture trail. Ahead of the launch on 12th July, we caught up with Eleanor Young, the artist of Webhelp’s Pastel Pattern Patchwork Bear to learn more about our bear sculpture and the creative process behind the design.

 

First of all, tell us a little bit about your background as an artist?

I’m a designer maker based in rural Perthshire, where I run my design studio Fun Makes Good. Having studied textile design at Glasgow School of Art I now specialise in contemporary patchwork, creating bold, bright, design-led interior products and upholstery as well as large scale bespoke textile pieces for commercial spaces and the public realm. Although primarily specialising in textiles I’ve enjoyed evolving my practice to include murals and pieces of public art too, all in my signature colourful graphic style.

How did you come across the call out for artists to design a Bear for the trail?

I was privileged enough to be asked by The Children’s Hospital Charity’s team to submit a design as I was already working on a project with Sheffield Children’s Hospital. I jumped at the chance, as it seemed a nice way to develop on the work I was already creating for them, bringing the work out of the hospital and into the wider city for people on the street to enjoy.


How did you feel when your design was chosen by Webhelp?

It’s really lovely to have a company behind it who feel passionate about the cause and want to support the sculpture trail. I’m delighted my design was selected!


What inspired you to choose the patchwork theme for the bear?

I chose to create a design that takes direct reference from the textile work that I had been working on for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. I’d recently been making bespoke cushions for seats and seating areas in the hospital that featured soft patchworks of flowing shapes in ice-cream colours. I wanted to use the same colour pallet and reference the same pattern but as if the shapes continued on into one large patchwork, that could wrap around the bear. It was nice to expand on the design and take it into a 3-dimentional space!


How many weeks did it take you to complete the sculpture, did you hit a creative block?

It was very good timing as the bear arrived just days before the very first lockdown last year. It provided me with a very calming activity to work on whilst everything else seemed to be so uncertain. It was really lovely just taking the time to work on it bit by bit unpressured.

Fun Makes Good has created work for unusual and interesting places, what has been the most memorable place?

One of my favourite projects actually took one of my pieces out on tour, to help promote live performance across the Highlands and Islands. I upholstered some theatre chairs in bespoke digitally printed velvet. The chairs travelled across country on the top of a yellow car and were placed in some of the most beautiful locations across the Highlands including beaches, hills and beside lochs. It was such a fun idea!


Can you tell us about your collaboration with Artfelt when you created bespoke textiles and interior decoration within Sheffield Children’s Hospital?

I feel very privileged to have worked with Artfelt, the charity arts programme at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital, on a few different commissions after meeting Jade Richardson the Arts commissioner at a Christmas Market at the Hepworth in 2018. After seeing my cushions at the market I was asked to make some in a hospital suitable material, that could add an element of ‘home’ and comfort in some of the seating areas. Working with healthcare grade vinyl, I made a number of patchwork designs that tied in with the existing interior decoration.

From there, I worked on designing a whole scheme for one of the parent’s rooms, bringing together textiles with hand painted murals and wall art. It was a fantastic experience and I received great feedback from the staff who were all involved in the design process, making sure all the elements were right for the space. I also really enjoyed the experience of coming into the hospital to paint, as I was able to meet some of the parents who would be using the room and could see how much they appreciated having an area designed for them.

Around the same time, I was commissioned to design some large-scale cushions to be fitted into internal windows within the newly completed ward. The scale of the large internal windows provided an opportunity to create a space within the corridors for seating. These individual pods could provide semi private, quiet spaces for waiting and contemplation and I designed some complimentary soft seating pads.


Will you be visiting Sheffield to see the Bears?

Yes! I’m very much hoping to make a trip later in the summer with my family as my wee boy has been asking ‘where has the bear gone’ and I know he’ll love hunting out the others across the city.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Eleanor’s designs check out Fun Makes Good amazing product selection here.

As proud sponsors of the trail, Webhelpers across our three Yorkshire sites have various actives planned to raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. We can’t wait to see what they have in store!

In the meantime, let the bear hunt begin #PatchworkBear.


Protect dealers and buyers on classified ad platforms

Consumer content is instrumental in influencing both purchase decision making and the popularity of online businesses.

The trust and safety of users online is crucial in today’s digital world. Classified ads platforms like gumtree and craigslist are increasingly popular for users to publish ads to share or gain information, or sell unwanted, used and new items to generate an income. Therefore, the trust and safety of users on these platforms is significant.

To ensure users are provided with a safe and seamless journey, it requires a balance of technology and human intervention to manage content at each step.

This paper looks at some of the pain points in the classified ads space, highlighting the typical industry reactions and insights into how Webhelp can offer a comprehensive and game changing solution with expert content moderators.

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Author

Thomas Japy

Digital Content Services Business Analyst

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NelsonHall

Webhelp’s growth in the BFSI sector earns recognition as a CX leader by NelsonHall

16th June, 2021

Major international analyst firm NelsonHall has designated Webhelp, the leading global customer experience (CX) and business solutions provider, as a “Leader” for its offerings and abilities in CX services in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector.

Recognized for delivering seamless execution and innovation, the group was placed highly across all four market segments: overall BFSI, revenue generation capability, CX improvement capability, and cost optimization capacity.

Ivan Kotzev, NelsonHall CX Analyst, said,

“The banking and financial services industry is undergoing rapid evolution of CX with demands for the redesign of customer journeys. Webhelp’s innovation framework and resources to rethink the customer-brand interactions and dedicated capabilities in KYC, payment processing, and fintech scale-up are essential elements in a comprehensive approach.”

The recognition Webhelp received validates its ability to deliver value to clients in the BFSI sector through innovative digital enablement and analytics-driven design leveraged to drive transformation. Webhelp, together with its dedicated consulting firm, Gobeyond Partners, has invested heavily to create innovative frameworks and drive the CX transformation agenda.

The company’s integrated BFSI platform, which builds technology-enabled solutions by mapping end-to-end customer journeys, was highlighted as a significant competitive advantage. The report also nods to Webhelp’s dedicated payment services and regulatory and compliance service offerings focused on laying a solid foundation for clients through a proprietary Know Your Customer (KYC) journey approach.

The company’s people-first culture, collaborative way of working, and end-to-end digital transformation solutions are what make Webhelp’s client experience stand out, especially for those businesses looking to retain customers and build long-term loyalty.

Matthieu Bouin, Group Managing Director, Webhelp, stated,

NelsonHall’s recognition is a huge honor for us because we know the BFSI industry is undergoing a complete transformation. This is why we’ve strengthened our transformation capabilities together with Gobeyond Partners. Thanks to their extensive knowledge in the banking and financial services sector, we’ve worked together to design and deliver transformative customer journeys while supporting our clients’ to generate revenue and optimize costs.”

Webhelp’s program, The Nest by Webhelp, dedicated to supporting start-ups and scale-ups during their growth journey by building a hand-in-hand customer experience process, was recognized for its work with fintech and insurtech clients.

With plans to double growth by the end of 2021, the BFSI sector is an essential part of Webhelp’s geographic expansion strategy.

The NelsonHall NEAT vendor evaluation study assessed the performance of 13 major players delivering CX services in the banking and financial services industry. Webhelp’s position as a Leader is the highest category based on capability, performance, cost optimization, and revenue generation, amongst the other quadrants classified as Innovators, High Achievers, Major Players.

To read more about NelsonHall’s NEAT evaluation for CX Services in BFSI for Webhelp, we invite you to download the full report below.


Emotional connections matter

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer for Webhelp UK, takes us through what emotional connections can do for your brand in 2021 and beyond.

When it comes to Customer Experience, research has shown time and again that emotional connection is key. 

We’ve previously looked at how emotional connections can be hugely important for brands at a time in which many of us have never felt more disconnected. In our Emotions white paper, we investigated how brands can develop emotional connections with their customers. 

In this article, we explore the ways in which emotional connections can directly impact brands’ relationships with their customers, specifically the impact to three fundamental customer success metrics: 

  1. How likely is your customer to buy more products from your brand?
  2. How likely are they to develop stronger loyalty?
  3. How likely are they to recommend you to others?


What is emotional connection? 

Before we move on, it’s worth qualifying what we mean by “emotional connections to a brand”.  

We define emotional connection as the feelings that come together to form a bond between the customer and a particular brand. When customers have an emotional connection to a brand, they feel positive feelings towards the brand that goes beyond simply ‘liking’ it – behaviours such as being willing to show loyalty, to buy more products, to pay attention to marketing and communications, and to recommend the brand to others, are all more prevalent. 

“People need to believe, which is easier to do when the brand has a strong purpose and values. A bond – or a genuine emotional connection – is more easily created and retained when these are conveyed by a person. Technology can be a powerful enabler, but it’s really people that are key to emotional connections.”  

David Turner,
Chief Executive Officer, Webhelp UK Region
 


Emotional connections in 2021 

In 2020 and 2021, we contributed questions to the Ryan Strategic Advisory: Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey, with an interest in both occasions in understanding the role emotional connections can play in helping organisations build lasting relationships with their customers. 

The 2021 report collated the views of 628 enterprise executives, each of whom is responsible for strategic decision-making over contact centres in their respective organisations. 

The results were interesting: 

From the data, it’s clear that the survey respondents are of the firm and consistent belief, year on year, that consumers who feel a strong emotional connection to your brand are more likely to buy more of your products, they’re more likely to stick with your brand, and, significantly, they’re more likely to act as advocates for your brand. 

What’s also interesting to note is, looking at the data between 2020 and 2021, there’s been a negligible difference in the results, strongly suggesting that the impact of Covid-19 across the globe has had no discernible impact on how customers view their relationships with those brands with which they feel an emotional connection. 

A couple of other significant takeaways from the report: 

  • With a score of 3.53, the area that respondents suggest is least affected by emotional connections is that of price. What this essentially means is, it’s less likely that customers would accept price hikes purely because they have a strong emotional connection with the brand. 
  • Almost half (47%) of businesses surveyed recognise that emotional connections with customers is vital, and have a strategy in place to support this goal. This is an increase of 6% year on year.  


Examples of emotional impact in different sectors 

Judging from these results, it seems clear that brands who invest the time in creating real emotional connections with their customers can expect to see results. 

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples of how emotional impact can build strong customer ties: 

Consumer trust in TransferWise is sky high 

TransferWise (now Wise), a London-based money transfer platform released 5,600 balloons outside Westminster. Each balloon, representing one million of the £5.6 billion pounds lost by British consumers in hidden bank fees in just one year, was tagged with a personal story from a consumer, outlining how much that individual person had lost in hidden bank fees. 

AirBnB show their travel cards 

While the 2018 US travel ban was dispiriting to many, it had a particular direct effect on travel and hospitality firms, including AirBnB. The holiday firm decided not to rest on their laurels, and – echoing the frustration of people around the globe – made their position clear on the matter. Their decision to speak out on what was widely considered an immoral judgement was backed up by their donation of up to $150,000 to the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). 

Samsung (literally) provide Good Vibes 

As one of the foremost manufacturers of mobile devices in the world, Samsung know a thing or two about communication. But they also proved they have a strong consideration of their customers’ needs with the launch of Samsung Good Vibes, an app which allows deafblind individuals around the world to communicate with anyone via their smartphone. Developed in association with Sense International India, the app uses a Morse Code-based vibration system and is free to download from the Galaxy Store. 

These are all strong examples of how brands can directly create strong emotional connections with existing and potential customers. But how can organisations be sure that the connections they’ve built have real staying power? What can they do to embed those connections more deeply into their customer experience?  

Well, that’s where we come in. 

How we can help 

Like any other relationship, these emotional connections with customers need to be nurtured and maintained. They also need to exist on a bedrock of customer service and experience. In other words, there’s no point in trying to build strong emotional connections with your customers if your existing customer experience is poor. 

We can help you to shape the ideal customer journeys for your business. We leverage industry-leading technology and data to continually optimise performance, and to help you scale and grow your business in a cost-efficient way, while quickly adapting to new and changing customer needs.  

In short, we can help you build amazing experiences for your customers.