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. 


Benefits of integrated Content Management for Retail

Fierce competition, fostered by the necessity for shoppers to go online during the consecutive lockdowns across the globe, calls for key differentiators and operational excellence for ecommerce, marketplace, and classified ads platforms.

These now well-established players, ruffled by constant newcomers, aim to provide the lowest prices to their customers, but low profit margins do not allow them to always reach a lower selling price than their neighbors. Another key pillar for them to stand out is offering an even smoother online user experience. But how is it possible for the users to live an experience that is comparable to an in-store purchase, once they have been attracted to their website?

At first, Content Management seems to be a relatively simple concept, especially when applied to retail: it is important to have consistent information on products shown to the clients, in the right place at the right moment. If a customer is not able to find it on one marketplace or ecommerce platform (this can also happen to classified ads, to a lesser extent), but they are able to find it on a different one selling it for a similar price, they would not bother returning to the original website to make that purchase. Therefore, it’s important to retrieve all product information from different sources by skilled and industry-specialized content managers who are also able to run promotions or discounts, update prices, and take down sold-out products. This is what is commonly called catalog management.

This enables retailers to be efficient at organizing their products by ensuring consistency and quality information is displayed across different channels. Moreover, the combination of dedicated software with skilled content managers facilitates a collaboration between the advisor and retailer for a smooth online experience.

These three software tools significantly refines this whole process:

  1. Digital Asset Management: These tools will help different teams across an organization to easily operate together in an organized way, and modify media files such as images, documents, and videos.
  2. Product Information Management: They centralize the details that customers, platforms, or employees need to know about the products they are selling.  Syndication allows the data to be shared across all sellers, channels and languages. Managing it well is a lever to the localization of your catalog.
  3. Content Management Systems: These are essential to create consistent online user experiences. Their collaborative features support the organization of workflows and queues, as well as the ability to create, store, edit and publish web content. Moreover, they allow to put this online content into context.

With the three of these software tools combined, it is possible to offer a smoother online experience that is closer to in-store. It facilitates teams to have an exact idea of their stocks, a close connection to their CRM, and flawless ad equation between online and offline stocks for the whole organization. By using this data, it enhances the customer experience by being able to analyze and forecast trends.

The three immediate impacts:

  • It is possible to show more relevant recommendations to any specific customer
  • Avoids huge disappointments when a product that was displayed as available on the website – has just been sold or ordered in a shop
  • The retailer is able to have an integrated view of the performance of its products to then act upon it.

Automation and tools play a critical role in this process, but reactive content managers with the ability of retrieving information in an ad-hoc manner if the software is missing information is key, as one will not be able to work as efficiently as you would want it to.

This strategic stock management, that can only be allowed due to integrated Content Management, can be pushed even more when a retailer is present across different markets with different languages. To offer a best-in-class experience, customers need to feel close to the company’s values, which are mostly embodied by marketing strategies and the salesperson who is selling the product to you in a shop.

Online, this can be done through an accurate localization plan following trends analysis, based upon which digital asset works, in which context (placed by the content manager at the right time).

Thinking about its Content Management strategy as unified and collaborative, making use of the right combination of tools and the right people to enact it, is a lever to gain competitive advantage in a space that is getting more and more saturated. Consumers are searching for companies they resonate with, that are capable of not only understanding their needs but also predicting them.

The link to CRMs makes even more sense when the retailers know that a product lifespan is about to reach its end, and then offers to renew its purchase for example. Those smart ways of engaging with customers, which can only be facilitated by integrated Content Management – should be the go-to for any online platform aiming to remain competitive in the market.

Finding a partner like Webhelp, who is conscious of the different technologies available on the market and is able to find, train and nurture the right profiles that fit to your brand, with the ability to develop your digital strategy, is becoming more important than ever. Whether you are a retailer selling your products across multiple platforms or you are a platform yourself.

Talk to us today about how Webhelp’s Digital Content Services can help you deliver best-in-class online experience to your customers through designing the best mix of technology and people.


 

Author

Thomas Japy

Digital Content Services Business Analyst

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Webhelp and Signify bring home a win at the Customer Experience Excellence Awards

28th May 2021

Webhelp, the leading global customer experience and business solutions provider, and its global client Signify, the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers, brought home an award together at this year’s Customer Experience (CX) Excellence Awards.

The ceremony, presented virtually on Wednesday the 26th of May, as part of the NICE Interactions 2021 event, awarded Signify and Webhelp teams for the Best CX Innovation category.

The award recognized the companies for the flawless roll-out of NICE in Contact’s CXone, a cloud-based solution, enabling Signify to deliver an omnichannel experience from three consolidated multilingual hubs across Europe, the Asia Pacific, and North America. With the help of 200+ brand ambassadors who cover 40 languages, Webhelp provides multichannel customer support to Signify’s consumers and professional customers.

The technology solution also enabled ambassadors to have more precise insights into Signify’s customers’ needs while gaining back time to focus on engaging in higher quality interactions.

When Signify and Webhelp renewed their global partnership in 2019, Webhelp initiated this project to drive digital transformation and pursue world-class operational excellence on a global scale. The project featured in the submission focused on the Nordic region, which served as a front-runner for the implementation. The roll-out is currently underway across the other regions.

Luite van Zelst, Global Vendor Manager, Signify, stated,

We are proud to accept the Best CX Innovation award together with Webhelp, which reflects the immense effort and teamwork to deliver one seamless experience for our customers. With Webhelp’s support on this front, we’ve managed to build out a centralized process together, enabling us to address the core needs of our customers. Given customer-centricity is a key focus, we will continue to expand the solution with an iterative approach to ensure our customers are serviced at a high standard.

Andrea Kaminski, Global Industry Lead, High Tech and Media, Webhelp, said,

We are thrilled to receive recognition for our work with Signify. Over the past years, our teams have worked incredibly hard to support Signify’s rapidly growing global customer base. With technology enablement as a core strategic pillar of our work with clients, we’re happy to work with an organization like Signify, which is open to adapting to new technology in the ever-changing CX landscape. This award is certainly a special moment as we continue on our transformation journey together.”

NICE honored CX excellence award winners at the virtual interaction event, celebrating the delivery of exceptional experiences and CX agility through innovation. The Best CX Innovation award category recognized the adoption of innovative artificial intelligence, analytics, or automation that drove digital fluency, transformation and business results.


Protect your community of dealers and buyers in the online marketplace

Managing content at each step of the online marketplaces’ customer journey

Protecting users online is crucial for businesses. It’s imperative to have a safe and secure platform for a seamless experience, and provide customers with trustworthy content to engage throughout the customer journey.

Did you know: 67% of consumer’s fears towards the sharing economy are related to trust, and 73% of people are unlikely to return to a site if ads have poor descriptions?

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

Download our insights to learn more and discover our solutions.


 

Author

Thomas Japy

Digital Content Services Business Analyst

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Fashion: sales agents role

[Fashion] "Sales agents play a key role in brand development!"

Fashion: sales agents role

Jérôme Tordjmann runs the Talk sales agency, specialising in urban fashion and streetwear, in both physical and digital environments. He answers 4 questions put to him by Aline Abeya, Sales Manager France & Benelux at Webhelp Payment Services.

The role of a sales agent is to help fashion brands, whether they are emerging or well established, to grow in a market. And in these complex times, they play the even bigger role of a facilitator. So at Webhelp Payment Services, we pay particular attention to our relationship with sales agents, to whom we offer a comprehensive range of payment services. Your agency, Talk, specialises in urban fashion and streetwear. Can you tell us a bit more about what you do?

Jérôme Tordjmann: I set up the Talk agency and have been running it since June 2019. It’s one of the subsidiaries of JV Fashion which I established in 2006. Talk specialises in urban fashion and streetwear for men and women on a B2B basis.

Our team of 7 people offers selective or comprehensive support in 3 areas:

managing sales in France and around the world (business development, sales, after-sales), with the overall management of billing, payments and debt collection taken care of in partnership with Webhelp Payment Services

creating temporary sales outlets: in-store corners, pop-up shops and shop-in shops (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Samaritaine, etc.), as well as recruiting and managing teams, training, merchandising and logistics. We also have a permanent showroom in central Paris, and we rent temporary showrooms during the fashion weeks in January and June.

– organisational consultancy: marketing, positioning, creating or adapting collections, artistic direction. We work alongside brands in all these areas, in both physical and digital environments – in the phygital world if you like. As far as the digital world is concerned, we can help brands with marketplaces like Zalando and Amazon which are becoming more and more influential from a commercial point of view.

So to sum up, we help a lot with “value creation”: sales agents play a key role in developing fashion brands!

To give you an idea of how well Talk is growing, our turnover has doubled each season.

Can you describe the kind of brands that you work with?

J.T.: They are often European brands, and exclusively involved in young, urban fashion and streetwear. We want to build and promote a really consistent world.

We work regularly with around fifteen brands, including: Daily Paper, ARTE Antwerp, Foret, The New Originals, Libertador, Mercer, Ksubi, Shaka, Rise of Human and Dechase.

Webhelp Payment Services offers sales agents a comprehensive range of payment services, from billing to debt collection, both nationally and internationally. And of course paying the agent their share after being paid by the client brand. What does your partnership look like?

J.T.: I’ve been working with Webhelp Payment Services since 2006, when it was called FDI. Talk’s clients are mainly adopting solutions like order analysis, payment plans, debt collection, credit insurance and customer scoring, both in France and internationally.

So at the moment we are not using the other services that Webhelp Payment Services offers sales agents, such as imports, logistics, paying commissions and KYC.

We are also in discussions with Webhelp Payment Services about offering some emerging brands the chance to embrace processes geared towards wholesale management. This is so that we can work together to help them grow in areas such as managing customer receivables, multi-brand stores and other strategic organisational issues.

How do you see the future of fashion brands in an era of marketplaces and online stores?

J.T.: Quite apart from the pandemic, online sales are booming. These sales compensate, sometimes to a large extent, for the decline in business for multi-brand retailers for example.

So clearly, we need to think about the development of large generalist marketplaces, like Zalando and Amazon, as well as more specialist platforms. We help brands within this environment, which is often new to them.

However, I sincerely believe that opposition to online shops is no longer a big deal. On the contrary, we are seeing the rise of a phygital approach, combining sales in physical stores with digital channels, trying to find the right balance.

The most dynamic emerging brands understand this: I can see that all the ones that we work with have an online store, which gives them a revenue stream, consolidates their financial and commercial position, and lastly, speeds up their growth.

Therefore, a phygital approach is a real opportunity for fashion brands, if they know how to manage it!

To find out more about this topic

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Data revolution: how APIs can and should accelerate your Digital Transformation

Colin Clive, Director of Platforms & Engineering, looks at the history of APIs, and the value they can and should bring to your business.

APIs: a history

The Application Programming Interface or API as it is more commonly known refers to the modern approach of using HTTP to provide access to data. APIs allow software applications and digital services to talk to each other. They return and send raw data, which can be in a standard machine readable format, and are primarily used to support the integration of systems. Modern Web APIs became mainstream in the early 2000s when new start-ups such as Salesforce, Amazon, and eBay published Web APIs to make services available to customers and third party providers.

Since then, APIs have been behind the technology revolution in a number of sectors, and has improved the customer experience in each of these sectors. This includes Financial Services, where the use of Open Banking opened up commerce and payments, and Social Media, where APIs became the power behind the platforms used by giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

You can find more information here on APIs including a link to a popular dissertation on Representational State Transfer (REST) by Roy Fielding, which laid the foundations of Web APIs that we use today.

The Value that APIs can Bring

When an organisation can make it simple to exchange information both internally and externally, it opens up massive opportunities. It is a misconception that APIs are only there to be used by Technology professionals to build applications. They can also be used simply to provide access to a wide range of data sets. To enable this, it is important to make the APIs accessible to non-developers using API tooling that doesn’t require any knowledge of coding.

A simple and powerful starting point is to outline clear instructions, detailing how to use the APIs and where to find to them. Extending this simple concept to your partners or customers opens up the provision of data and digital capabilities outside the organisation, without the need for time consuming and expensive technology integrations.

Of course, with increased interconnectivity comes increased security risk, and APIs are no different. It’s vitally important that organisations employ API security best practices, including API gateways and data encryption, to ensure the APIs are accessible to those who need them, and nobody else.

How APIs can accelerate Digital Transformation

Simplicity is the key to innovation and accelerating Digital Transformation. The focus of the Technology team should be to remove the backend complexity and provide a catalogued suite of APIs that will open up functionality and data to clients and partners.

However, this is not just about Technology. In an API-first organisation, the API strategy should be linked to and driven by business needs, with business owners defining the details of the API contracts, i.e. the data to be sent or received, how it is requested, and the events that allow the data to be sent or received.

With the technology in place and the key business experts involved in defining and prioritising, the capabilities to be integrated through APIs will allow for innovation, and the unlocking of value, at a rapid pace. Working in collaboration with clients to react to changing customer needs through already created and available APIs will accelerate the speed of achieving digital transformation.

What we’re doing at Webhelp

In business process outsourcing, the seamless integration of data and functionality between the client and the outsourcer is paramount to providing the best Customer Experience and insight.

With this in mind, Webhelp is currently putting in place an API infrastructure and deploying an API Gateway to manage, secure, and monitor a rich suite of APIs that will be available internally and – more importantly – externally, to our partners and clients. With an initial focus on data exchange, we will provide an open and secure mechanism over the public internet to allow the common data required for seamless operational reporting and business intelligence through Partner APIs.

We will provide a standard suite of APIs that will be accessible, catalogued, and simply defined using common industry standards. This will allow our clients and partners to use the APIs from Day 1 without the need of any timely and costly IT set up. All that is required is access to a reliable and performant internet connection.

 

Nothing stands still. The ability to develop new APIs and change existing APIs at pace to drive digital transformation, will require a shift from a traditional monolithic design to a cloud-native design supported by modern technology. To support this, Webhelp are moving to a modern enterprise digital platform, leveraging the best practice in the technology industry. This platform, combined with a team of highly skilled engineers using Development, Security and Operations (DevSecOps) to deliver securely at speed, will provide the ability to deploy APIs to the business, and to partners, at lightning speed.


Webhelp to broaden non-profit initiative to support education and inclusion worldwide

As a Think Human company, Webhelp fosters an inspirational culture, one through which Webhelpers are encouraged to make a difference in the world. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has always been at the core of Webhelp’s identity, which is why we’ve championed the support of global charity initiatives since 2015.

Over the years, it’s become clear that the broad disparity in access to education often impacts people’s lives significantly. Exclusion can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background, and just a set of unfortunate circumstances, coupled with a lack of support, could have people left behind.

The founding of SHARED Foundation 

Charged to address the issue in 2015, Webhelp launched the SHARED Foundation (Solidarity, Humanitarian, Aid, Environment, Diversity) under the Foundation of France. SHARED’s mission was to support professional integration and employability by promoting access to general education and digital skills development.

SHARED has supported local associations in the countries where Webhelp operates under the French region. In 2019, Webhelpers began coordinating initiatives to identify local associations in each country and opened the opportunity for employees to participate in volunteer projects. Over the last five years, SHARED has helped 15 associations across eight countries, enabling over 2,000 people to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the local job markets.

An international mission: Think Human Foundation

SHARED’s success in the French-speaking part of the Webhelp world made it possible to envision a more significant impact and fight against inequality in the over 50 countries where Webhelp branches sit.

In January 2020, Webhelp, together with its shareholders and Olivier Duha, co-founder and CEO of the group, formed Think Human Foundation to promote this development globally. The foundation has the same goals as SHARED but with a much broader scope. Webhelpers worldwide can advance our people-first commitment by supporting local charity initiatives, be it financial, time, or expertise support.

Olivier Duha, CEO and Co-founder of Webhelp, remarked:

“Since the creation of SHARED Foundation in France in 2015, we’ve managed to grow Webhelp’s initiative to a force with a global reach, today known as Think Human Foundation. At Webhelp, we believe that education and inclusion are integral for a person to build their life, which is why it’s our mission to promote and foster more equitable opportunities for people to find their place in the workforce,”

“This foundation is more than a charity because our Webhelpers will dedicate their time towards working with local communities, regional networks, and national governments to create opportunities for people in the professional world. We are so proud that this global charity initiative has all the support of the global Webhelp family.”

To learn more about Think Human Foundation, visit the website at thinkhumanfoundation.org.


B2B Marketplace payment terms

B2B Marketplace: how to reduce payment terms?

B2B Marketplace payment terms

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

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

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

B2B Marketplace payment terms

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

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

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

 

Tailored solutions to reduce payment terms

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

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

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

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

 

Our experts will recommend good practice to suit your situation:

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

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

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

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

  • The due date has passed 

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

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

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

 

Although this clarification is mainly for the domestic market, these good practices also apply internationally, adapted to normal practice in each country, something which Webhelp Payment Services does through its seven subsidiaries based in Europe and North America, making payments to more than 35,000 buyers in 35 countries.

 

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

 

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The death of passwords and the move to recognition technology

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

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

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

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

So what exactly is the problem with passwords?

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

Didn’t 2FA and MFA solve the issue?

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

Authentication factors look at four key categories:

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

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

What exactly is recognition technology?

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

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

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

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

So where next?

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

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

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

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


The Nest ESG for startups

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

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

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

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

Click here to know more about ESG for startups
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