WEBHELP GROUP BOOSTS INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION

WEBHELP GROUP BOOSTS INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION WITH THE LAUNCH OF FIRST SITE IN SOUTH AFRICA

The rapid expansion of UK-based customer experience company Webhelp UK has continued with the opening of its first two centres in South Africa.

The company will open a 7,500 square metre state of the art facility in Cape Town, and a 4,500 square metre site in Johannesburg. The South African operation will be known as Webhelp South Africa and has plans to recruit 1000 people in the country over the next 12 months.

The Webhelp Group, one of Europe's largest customer experience providers took over the former HEROtsc business earlier this year. The re-branded Webhelp UK has already won new contracts and boosted people numbers at many of its UK sites.

Webhelp UK, which employs 6,000 people across 10 sites and works for brands such as Sky and Vodafone, recently reported revenue growth of 36 per cent in the 12 months to 31 March 2013 to £111m.

While still confident of continuing UK growth, this South African venture will give the company the ability to service international contracts, operating a blended onshore, offshore and near shore model.

Craig Gibson will join Webhelp SA as CEO. Craig joins Webhelp SA with significant experience in the customer management sector. In his 20 year career, he has been responsible for establishing Vodacom's retail presence in South Africa, growing Ernst &Young's JD Edwards enterprise resource planning (ERP) practice and winning new clients for Dimension Data's Customer Interactive Solutions, among a range of blue chip financial institutions.

The Webhelp Group has revenues in excess of 400m Euros, with 35 centres serving more than 130 clients across the world. Webhelp UK runs 10 UK centres – and has created jobs in the UK over the past 12 months following contract wins with PhotoBox, Now TV and Mobile by Sainsbury's.

David Turner, CEO, at Webhelp UK, said: "This represents a significant milestone in the continued development of our business, by giving us the ability to support our customers across multiple geographies and is complementary to our existing English language, eastern European, nearshore locations.

"We have seen a trend over the last 12-18 months of organisations repatriating work from other offshore locations such as India and the Philippines as a result of poor customer experience.

"All of our research tells us that SA can deliver an equivalent customer experience to the UK for certain processes. We firmly believe that our UK, Romanian and South Africa capability gives us the best possible blend of off, near and onshore capabilities."

Peter Ryan, Industry Analyst, at Ovum, said: "The similarity of the professional qualifications and the compatibility of the data protection laws make South Africa an excellent partner location for Webhelp UK. The country is particularly attractive because, alongside a stable regulatory environment, there is a talented workforce with high standards of customer experience knowledge. "

Craig Gibson, CEO of Webhelp SA, comments: "South Africa successfully delivers BPO services to the domestic markets of Australia and the UK. The language and culture is closely matched, enabling us to offer a far higher standard of customer service than some traditional BPO markets such as India and the Philippines.

"The arrival of the Webhelp Group in South Africa is another great development for the BPO industry in the country. In recent years we have seen some big brands choose South Africa and the country is establishing itself as a BPO destination of choice.

"I am delighted to lead Webhelp SA and be part of such a progressive global organisation"


Rothesay Webhelp UK volunteers give local primary school a playground makeover

St AndrewÂ’s Primary School on Gowanfield Terrace in Rothesay has been given a colourful playground makeover thanks to the creative talents of volunteers from Webhelp UK.

The Webhelp UK team, who are based on Barone Road in the town, rolled up their sleeves and brought along their paint pots for the day to create a giant mural in the schoolÂ’s playground.

St AndrewÂ’s Primary pupils designed the seaside and mountaineering scene, which the Webhelp UK volunteers cleverly brought to life to give the playground a fresh and colourful transformation.

Five customer experience professionals from Webhelp UK team gave up their own time to take part in the St AndrewÂ’s Primary School playground project, including Michelle Borland, Nic Whitelaw, Graham Young, Ryan Aird and Paul McIntyre.

Local fundraising and charitable donations are an important part of the work undertaken at Webhelp UKÂ’s sites around the UK. The creative approach to promoting teamwork and problem solving is helping to build excellent working relationships and the opportunity to contribute to worthwhile local projects and causes.

Webhelp UK team leader, Michelle Borland, who organised the St Andrew’s Primary School playground project said: “Seeing the children’s reactions to the finished mural made a really enjoyable day even better. They were so excited and couldn’t wait for the paint to dry so they could enjoy the new mural.

“The playground is just one of the projects weÂ’re hoping to take on in Rothesay.  ItÂ’s such a great way to come together as a team outside of work and take on new challenges.  We would like to say a big thank you to the parents of the pupils; local businesses - George HansonÂ’s, D.C. MurrayÂ’s and the local recycling centre for their generosity and support.”

Staff at St AndrewÂ’s Primary really appreciated the hard work the Webhelp UK volunteers put into the playground mural and left them a thank you message on one of the classroom whiteboards.


Greenock’s Webhelp UK team tee off to help raise over £9,000 for Quarriers

A team of four customer experience professionals from Webhelp UK in Greenock has helped raise £9,970 for Scottish social care charity, Quarriers, as part of an annual charity golf day at Mar Hall Golf and Spa Resort in Bishopton.

Quarriers supports children, families and young adults across the UK and is the official charity to the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Robert Steele, Christopher Hempsey, Christopher Hennan and Mark McFadyen from Webhelp UK in Greenock were invited to take part in the annual golf day following a £300 donation to the charity by Webhelp UK earlier in the year. Quarriers was one of three charities chosen by Webhelp’s Greenock team to receive a business donation, and it is a cause that is close to their hearts.
The Webhelp UK team faced some tough competition on the five star course, but what they lacked in experience, they made up for in enthusiasm and dedication.
The climax to the fundraising day was a prize-giving ceremony in the resort clubhouse.  The team were awarded ‘The Lucky Yellow Ball’ trophy, after managing to make it through the full 18 holes without losing it.

Mark McFadyen, from Webhelp UK in Greenock was one of the lucky four picked to participate in the charity event. He commented that being able to take part in the day with the support of Webhelp UK and his colleagues in Greenock gave him a real sense of achievement, and has even motivated him to take up playing golf regularly again.

Mark said: “Representing Webhelp UK at the Quarrier’s Annual Golf Day was an amazing experience, especially given the opportunity to compete on the Earl of Mar course and play our part in raising such an impressive amount of money for such a worthy cause.

“Being back out on the green has inspired me to start playing regularly again and everyone at the Greenock site is looking forward to planning our next fundraising event.”

Robert Steel, who is a Webhelp UK Ambassador in Greenock and co-ordinated the team’s entry, said: “There was a lot of interest from Webhelp UK’s Greenock team in taking part in the day, so we thought the fairest way to select a team would be by drawing names out of a hat. The four of us had a fantastic day on the green and felt really proud to represent Webhelp UK and help raise money for Quarriers.

“Quarriers has a long history in Scotland and their work is life-changing for so many people. We’ve been really inspired by what they achieve and are looking forward to working with them again soon.”


Webhelp UK Dunoon team raise over £800 for Charity

A team of over 100 customer experience professionals from Webhelp UK in Dunoon has raised more than £800 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) in a series of fundraising events. 

Team member David Miller contributed £320 to this impressive total by completing a 100-mile charity cycle ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh as part of thefreshnlo ‘Pedal for Scotland’ 2013. Our Falkirk Cycling team participated in the 47 mile ride to raise over £400 for the Pedal for Scotand Appeal.

David chose one of the more challenging rides offered by Pedal for Scotland - the ‘Sportive’ route, completing a gruelling 110 miles, including sections of a variety of Scottish racing circuits and steep climbs. 

Inspired by other fundraising events happening at Webhelp UK’s Dunoon site, David decided to undertake the cycle to help raise even more money for CHAS.  Commenting on the charity cycle ride, David said: “The Sportive route offered a real physical challenge and the opportunity to continue the work of Webhelp UK’s Dunoon team in raising money for this worthy cause. Having the support of my team behind me was really encouraging and we’re already looking forward to taking part in Pedal for Scotland 2014.”

Organised by Webhelp UK Ambassadors Fiona McCartan, Natalie Bonnar, Robert Paterson and Business Lead Julie Geoghegan, the Dunoon team’s other fundraising events included a ‘Bring a Pound to Work Day’, a bake sale, a raffle and a ‘What’s in the Bucket’ guessing game for some of the centre’s more daring team members. The Dunoon team also sported onesies and superhero costumes in aid of CHAS. 


Webhelp UK gets STV Appeal fundraising day into full swing

The Webhelp UK team at Larbert in Falkirk has raised almost £500 for the STV Appeal by staging their own crazy golf tournament.

Around 400 customer experience professionals swapped their usual work clothes for comedy golf attire and went head to head in the charity fun day to raise even more money for the worthy cause.

Webhelp UK gets STV Appeal fundraising day into full swing

20 teams battled it out for over four hours to putt their way to the grand fundraising total. Giada Foniciella and Stuart Burns from Webhelp UKÂ’s Falkirk team were also voted best dressed on the day.

Lisa Beyaz from Webhelp UK in Falkirk, said: “Our crazy golf event was a great way for as many people as possible from the Webhelp UK team to get together and raise money for such a worthwhile cause. Around 400 people from our Falkirk site took part in the event and got into the fun spirit of the day by coming along in fancy dress too.

Webhelp UK gets STV Appeal fundraising day into full swing “We raised over £500 for the STV Appeal on the day, which is a fantastic team achievement. We’ve already planned our next fundraising events at our other sites and can’t wait to raise even more money for the Appeal.”

Webhelp UK is a big supporter of the STV Appeal. Throughout September and October, the companyÂ’s office in Glasgow will be hosting a number of other fundraising activities in aid of the STV Appeal.

Two weeks ago, a team from the Falkirk office donned cycling shorts to take part in the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh. This year the STV Appeal was the event’s charity partner and the Webhelp UK cycle team raised more than £400.


Webhelp UK backs ‘Proud of Derby’ campaign

Webhelp UK’s team in Derby is getting behind a year-long campaign called ‘Proud of Derby’ to showcase the city’s great achievements and ambitions.

Led by Derby County Council, the campaign is focussing on regeneration and investment, bringing new employers to the city and supporting those companies like us who are already committed, removing barriers to creating jobs and achieving the highest standard of education.

As one of the UKÂ’s leading cities for technology and engineering, the campaign is aiming to raise DerbyÂ’s profile regionally and nationally.  It will also act as a catalyst to strengthen the local community and raise the raise and well-being of the people of Derby.

We opened our doors in Derby in 2012, employing 400 people.  Now, 18 months later, the figure sits at more than 1200, and weÂ’re continuing to show our support for the city and the local community, having made the Derby site our centre of excellence.

In recognition of their role as a key employer in the city, Our Derby team were recently invited to take part in the Proud of Derby campaign launch at Pride Park Stadium in Derby and included Abigail Bramley, Scott Fawkes, Shahzad Nabi, David O'Leary, Abigail Matamezano, Anthony Hibberd and Stacey Hardy.

Our team joined top businesses and organisations from around the city, including Rolls-Royce, the Derby Telegraph, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue to celebrate the campaign launch as part of the outdoor fun day.

The Derby team took along a special exhibition to showcase Webhelp UK, the job opportunities weÂ’re proud to have created and the talent weÂ’ve found in Derby.

Craig Purdie, Service Support Manager from Webhelp UK in Derby, said: “At the Proud of Derby Day other local companies brought their biggest assets.  Rolls Royce brought an aircraft engine, Bombardier brought a train and we brought ours – our people.

“Being part of the Proud of Derby campaign is a great way to show our continued support for the city and the local community.   We want to inspire local people with the exciting job opportunities on offer to them at Webhelp UK in Derby.

“As a leading employer in the city, we have a key role to play in helping to strengthen the local community by offering people a range of training and development initiatives, as well as great career prospects within Webhelp UK.”

Webhelp UK backs ‘Proud Of Derby’ campaign


Falkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appeal

A team of cycling enthusiasts from Webhelp UK in Falkirk have saddled up to raise over £400 for the STV Pedal For Scotland campaign.

Pedal For Scotland includes Scotland's Biggest Bike Ride and aims to get more people cycling more often.

Laura McGrandles, Debbie Graham, Emma Duff and Megan Wilson, who all work at Webhelp UKÂ’s Larbert headquarters, teamed up to conquer this yearÂ’s 47 mile Pedal for Scotland cycle challenge from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

The Webhelp UK team were part of over 7000 cyclists taking part in the challenge, which included a range of ages and abilities, from five-year-olds to people in their 80s.

Laura McGrandles, whoÂ’s an Accredited Trainer for Webhelp UK in Falkirk and was the leader of the Webhelp UK cycle team on the day, said:  Â“We really enjoyed the cycle challenge and working as a team outside of work.  It was a great fun way to help raise money for such a worthwhile cause.

“There was a great sense of achievement after everyone crossed the finished line and were awarded with a medal and a goody bag.   I would highly recommend the cycle challenge for anyone willing to push themselves and raise money for charity with colleagues, friends or family.”

Falkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appealFalkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appealFalkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appealFalkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appealFalkirk Cycling Team raise over £400 For STV Pedal For Scotland appeal

Webhelp Group plans €100m acquisition drive

Webhelp Group, one of Europe’s largest providers of customer experience services, has outlined plans to consolidate the market with a programme of strategic acquisitions. 

The Group, which opened new UK headquarters in London earlier this year, said it planned to invest up to €100m over the next two years to build further scale and specialisms, with a primary focus on the UK market. The group’s strategic goal is to become the number three within its sector in Europe by 2015.

The announcement follows a successful €275m refinancing of the Group’s funding facilities, led by its private equity backers Charterhouse Capital Partners.

Earlier this year, the Group signalled its intent to consolidate the fragmented customer experience market with the acquisition of Webhelp UK, one of the UK’s largest operators, from India’s Hero Group.

Webhelp manages customer relationships across traditional voice and email channels as well as fast-growing areas of social media and webchat. Its customers include some of Europe’s leading brands, such as Virgin Mobile and Boursorama Banque.

It was established in France in 2000 by co-Chairmen Frédéric Jousset and Olivier Duha. In 2011, Charterhouse backed the €340m acquisition from its previous owners, French private equity group Astorg Partners.

Today, the Group generates revenues of approximately €400m and operates a total of 35 centres in seven countries. It employs some 17,000 people.

Its UK division, where it employs 6,000 people across 10 sites and works for brands such as Sky and Vodafone, recently reported revenue growth of 36 per cent in the 12 months to 31 March 2013 to £111m.

Frédéric Jousset, Webhelp Group founder and co-chairman, said: “The way in which consumers want to engage with the brands they buy is changing at an alarming rate, driven by new technology, new lifestyles and new expectations. The battle for brand loyalty is won or lost on the quality of a customer’s experience across every channel, not just a call centre or email.”

He added: “Having developed an integrated customer experience offering for our clients, we see tremendous opportunity to build real international scale to support new and existing clients internationally, with a mixture of onshore and offshore locations.

“The Group’s refinancing gives us the capital structure and funding facilities to accelerate that strategy through a highly targeted acquisition programme.”  


Webhelp UK hires the Recruit

Two young people have secured jobs with Webhelp UK through a personal development programme -The Recruit.

The Recruit, based on television series The Apprentice, involves final year school pupils participating in 400 hours of activities over a four month period, from outward bound days to raising money for charity and attending Corporate Challenge Days.

Webhelp UK delivered the corporate challenges for the scheme and has been involved in the programme, run by Inverclyde Council, for the past two years.

Webhelp UK Winning Recruit Joseph McBride

Thirty-one young people took part with the successful candidates selected on their overall performance, attitude, potential, personal drive, determination and employability skills throughout the programme of activities. Joseph McBride, 17 from Gourock received the winning position with Webhelp UK along with a bonus prize of 20 driving lessons. Webhelp UK also hired Jonathon Nelson 17 from Port Glasgow.

Suzanne Nichol, Service Process & Knowledge Manager from Webhelp UK, said: “We set the group a challenge of understanding how benefits and incentives engage and motivate employees, and asked them to come up with some new ideas.

The participants were all energetic and so enthusiastic about the programme, demonstrating a willingness to learn.

“We were blown away by the professionalism and understanding they had of our sector. The ideas were great and we will look to use some of them for engagement moving forward.”

Webhelp UK Winning Recruit Jonathan Nelson

The Recruits managed to raise a record £10,300 for Ardgowan Hospice in Greenock.

In a further move to show its support for employment of young people, the company recently announced the expansion of its Customer Experience Academy, specifically for people who havenÂ’t previously been able to reach the first rung of the jobs ladder.

Following a successful pilot scheme, which ran earlier this year, Webhelp UK is rolling the skills initiative out across its estate.


Start of Make Young People Your Business Week marked by new opportunities

Webhelp UK has announced the creation of 70 new jobs for people who havenÂ’t previously been able to reach the first rung of the jobs ladder.

The jobs form the expansion of the companyÂ’s Customer Experience Academy, and will be based at their Glasgow customer experience centre, ensuring that Make Young People Your Business Week gets off to a positive start. Following a successful pilot scheme earlier this year, Webhelp UK is rolling the skills initiative out across its estate.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:

“Make Young People Your Business Week is all about selling the benefits of taking on an enthusiastic young person to our employers and what better way to get it all started that the announcement of 70 fantastic opportunities for our 16 to 24 year olds. Webhelp UK clearly need no convincing that young people are the future of their business, but in order to support more young people into jobs, we need more employers to come on board with the idea that the younger generation can aid their economic growth.

“Webhelp UK is just one of the many employers I have come across that are fully engaged and recognise the benefits of bringing in young employees. While our youth employment figures are moving in the right direction, we need more businesses to step up and give our talented young people the chance to shine.”

Webhelp CEO David Turner added:

"We launched the Customer Experience Academy as a pilot project a few months ago and now have 137 people in employment with us who have been through this process. These team members are now thriving in their employment with us at Webhelp UK.

"With a rapidly expanding business throughout the UK we are in almost constant recruitment mode. We noted that there were a growing number of candidates who didn't quite have the interpersonal skills to pass our recruitment tests. But they were only just failing. We felt that it wouldn't take much to get them over the line and once they were in employment, they would blossom. The pilot scheme proved this to be the case and we have decided to roll the Customer Experience Academy out across our estate including 70 places in Glasgow.”

Webhelp CEO David Turner with the CEA Team

Background

Webhelp UKÂ’s Customer Experience Academy gives vital additional pre-employment training to a growing number of job seekers who lack the necessary communicative knowledge to pass the standard entrance level of most employers. The Webhelp UK trainees complete a five week work skills course - with a job interview at the company on completion. Those who make it through are not only employed full time by Webhelp UK, on a standard wage, but are also supported through a modern apprenticeship, which takes 12 months to complete. In addition, the traineesÂ’ gain a recognised Customer Service qualification, which will assist them in finding a job with a variety of other employers should they wish to develop their careers with other organisations in the future. The company also participated in the Scottish personal development programme, The Recruit earlier this month and has employed two young people at its Glasgow centre.

Make Young People Your Business Week consists of a series of events and announcements aimed at raising awareness amongst employers of the economic value of taking on a young person. Interested employers can follow the Twitter account @MYPYB and the hashtag #newtalent will be used throughout the week.

Skills Development ScotlandÂ’s ourskillsforce.co.uk provides information to employers on the skills support available from the public sector in Scotland. The Make Young People Your Business area of the site brings together online advice to help employers recruit and develop young people.