Alderman Vos Helix

Alderman James Vos visits Claremont site

As growth of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in Cape Town continues to be recognised as a key driver of investment, up-skilling and jobs in the city, our South Africa team were delighted to welcome Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, and the department’s Portfolio Committee to our Claremont site.

The visit was part of a large piece of work Alderman James Vos is doing to promote Cape Town and the BPO sector, working directly with Cape BPO and BPO providers. Ranked first in the world as the most favoured offshore destination in last months BPO omnibus, over the past 3 years the BPO sector in Cape Town has attracted R3,4 billion worth of investments fuelling economic growth and employment.

Alderman James Vos explained:

When I was given oversight over the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department in 2018, one of my main goals was to see the City of Cape Town make meaningful strides in the fight against unemployment and to stoke economic growth. We could achieve this by targeting high growth sectors such as BPO and working with our Strategic Business Partners in those industries. The result is a phenomenal R3,4 billion in investments pumped into the economy in the past three years alone. The sector employs more than 60 000 people in the city, with over 17 037 of them gaining employment in the last three years.

“This goes to show that Cape Town, despite these trying times, is still seen as one of the preferred destinations for contact centres to base their operations. As a high-performance African business hub, we are working on all fronts with investors, high growth sectors and small to medium enterprises to create the right conditions for investment and development.

The BPO sector also drove over R1,2 billion in investments in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic with Brandon Aitken, Webhelp’s Chief Commercial Officer in South Africa, saying:

Despite the pandemic, we have brought eight new clients to South Africa since the start of 2020 and in doing so created 2050 South African jobs, with 1400 of these roles coming to Cape Town. International clients from the retail sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, as well as the travel sector, have driven this exceptional growth. Looking ahead, 2021 promises to be another year of new and exciting employment opportunities for young South Africans.


Peak Voices Part 1: Increased Service Demand in South Africa

When describing a peak in customer experience, there are two separate meanings: the first is a peak moment as experienced by the customer – when they personally experience the best service under the best circumstances possible. The second is peak activity, when there is a high demand in the market, and providers (and clients) see a sharp uptake in service use.

At Webhelp our goal is to combine these two distinct experiences, to make sure customers experience excellent service, at the points that matter most, for example when searching for that perfect Black Friday deal, or when they need a fast response during periods of high demand.

Our people are at the heart of making this happen, and as we approach Black Friday, our South African colleagues share their passion and excitement for one of the busiest times of the year.

Ismail Jattiem

In preparation for this year’s peak activity, we have ramped up our headcount as many of our campaigns do at this time, whilst our Peak People Engagement plan is filled with exciting and fun initiatives, which aim to keep everyone engaged and energized for the period.

This year is a first for us in ensuring that we keep our teams working from home engaged as well!

I have been fortunate to experience many peaks over the years and my highlight is always the energy of the people and their commitment to our customers. It inspires me to see how our people pull together during our busiest period of the year. I have learned that perseverance and unity is what ensures a successful peak.

During Peak 2019, we on-boarded circa 500 Harambee candidates. Harambee provides opportunities for previously disadvantaged job seekers who don’t have the means or the experience to enter the job market.  I am proud that I was part of a team that helped combat youth unemployment in our country and at the same time help to deliver a successful peak for one of the UK’s largest online retailers.

Black Friday brings excitement, anticipation and is very energetic.  It can be extremely challenging, but very rewarding for all involved.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think outside of the box this year. Social distancing, employees working from home and other restrictions, meant that we needed to take another look at our People Engagement Plan and find innovative ways to keep everyone engaged and enthusiastic.

As usual, we will still be teaming up with our client and collaborating through peak, but this time it will be virtually.

But, no matter how tough or challenging, we will consistently manage to rise above it and deliver a successful peak for our client, our business and our people, because we work together!

Personally, I love peak because as our client is in the e-commerce industry, peak coincides with the festive and holiday seasons. We support our customers with purchasing, ordering and delivering gifts for their loved ones, or themselves… and it is rewarding to know that we have a small part to play in putting smiles on people’s faces.  This also means that our festivities start early – as once we have celebrated a successful Black Friday week, we enter our festive season!

2 - blog

There is a lot of work that goes in to preparing for peak, which includes: Agreeing Peak Principles, Reviewing Seating Capacity, the Training Approach, Mobilising Academy Review, Engagement Review/Sign off, Internal Advisor Selection and Approach and finally Implementation of Peak.

A key highlight from previous years had been the Engagement Model used across both sites; I love the engagement and the hype that is generated towards peak!

And I have learned, from previous experience, to create suitable holiday budget allocations for the period, to help our people cope with the high demand.

Liam Jacobs

As peak approaches, I have prepared my candidates to be the best advisors – we always keep the client/customer at the heart and are ready to serve them with pride!

A highlight for me is getting Peak Ready – and having a positive outlook on what is to come. I enjoy the engagement, and am always interacting with our team and ensuring they are content.

My advice would be to focus on people. When our people are looked after, our clients and customers are too. In fact, this year during COVID-19, peak teaches us to be grateful. Many are still working from home and we will have to work hard to make sure this doesn’t detract from the pre-peak festivities. But, we are all gearing up for a great Peak 2020!

Unlike many colleagues, Black Friday does not impact my client immediately as we work in logistics. It is after Black Friday that we really come to the fore ensuring that “We Take Delivery Personally” on behalf of our client.

I love paying it forward at Webhelp and recognising the ones that mean the most. Going out and making sure that our people are looked after!

Clinton Van Stade

For this year’s peak we have prepared Morning Huddles to revise all processes and make sure we have no issues (Things tend to get crazy!)

In the past my highlights have been the collective spirit of the Management team and advisors, the themed Fridays and also the spot prizes. It will be different this year, as ramping was exponential, but we will keep spirits up!

I have learned in previous peaks that communication is key and advisor engagement daily is vital.

Black Friday is just another day, servicing more customers with a smile! But I love the energy and the vibe of peak, despite how busy it is!

We hope you have enjoyed this insight into how peak works at Webhelp, join us in part two, when our people in Operations, Learning and Development and Engagement share more of their experiences.


Changing Lives in South Africa: Advisors in their own words

As Webhelp’s partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator continues, Cathy Kalamaras takes a look back at the story so far, explores why the alliance remains a priority, and shares some of the positive career journeys and life changing experiences of our Harambee colleagues.

Changing lives in SAAs a South African who has personally witnessed that investment in the right training, effective coaching appropriate tools and the right attitude, can transform the outlook for the youth of South Africa, I am delighted to report that Webhelp’s partnership with Harambee, which was established in 2016, continues to go from strength to strength.

Harambee are experts in the dynamics of the South African unemployed youth labour market, which is much needed as youth unemployment in South Africa was called a “national crisis” by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019. The figures have reached an all-time high of 59% in the first quarter of 2020.

Brandon Aitken, our Chief Commercial Officer for South Africa, remarks:

“The employment landscape has undoubtedly been impacted by the devastating COVID crisis, so it is NOW more than ever that we need to nurture and create opportunities for the enthusiastic and skilled young people in South Africa. We remain doubly committed to our work with Harambee, and the amazing candidates that have joined our business and I am delighted that we are in a fortune position to convert all our Harambee contractors into permanent employees. The work-readiness programme has prepared these candidates for the world of work, and our inhouse training and working experience opportunity has assisted in uncovering the high levels of potential within our people, thus allowing us to continue to deliver a high standard of customer excellence to our clients.”

I deeply believe that Harambee provides an invaluable lifeline in the fight against poverty, and that together we can create economic opportunities and growth for our youth. At Webhelp, we are in the perfect position to do this; as according to the Business Process enabling South Africa (BPeSA), the umbrella industry association for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in South Africa, in their fourth quarter 2019 results, the sector now employs approximately 260,000 people, and remains a growth area. It is also a sector that doesn’t need formal tertiary education for entry level positions, which opens up the opportunities to growing and developing talent.

Whilst Harambee’s bridge into work activity has been halted by COVID-19, Webhelp made space for work ready candidates who missed out on an opportunity with another firm due to the pandemic. As a result, an additional 20 Harambee candidates have recently joined our Webhelp family to begin their journey into skilled employment. Plus, Webhelp is delighted to have driven a massive conversion rate for the Harambee recruits hired during our period in 2019, by moving 165 employees from fixed-term contracts to permanent placements.*

Since 2016, we have welcomed around 800, Harambee recruits into our organisation, and have found permanent positions for at least 633 supporting various campaigns and clients, to remain in full time employment. Of those 70 also took part in our learnership programme.

We thought that there would be no better way to give you a sense of how profound our impact sourcing model has had than to share some success stories, (in their own words) from the customer service advisor colleagues right at the heart of the partnership:

Devon JacobsDevon Jacobs: Contact Centre Advisor

“The learning experience that Harambee had offered us is something I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I’ve made friends and learned so much about working in the corporate world. We learned about people’s backgrounds and different upbringings which, in my opinion made us grow so much closer to each other, and we still remember and check up on each other.

The environment is perfect for youth, we had five weeks training at Harambee as well as an additional five weeks at Webhelp that was beneficial for us in my opinion.

It feels great helping customers and actually being able to make people happy. I see myself growing here, and would love to become a Team Leader within the next 2-4 years, as I’m happy with my work environment and see myself hopefully a bit higher on the corporate ladder.

I am so happy I recently signed a new permanent contract on The Very Group Campaign, and I’m just in the perfect headspace to grow within the business because at Webhelp there is growth in abundance!”

Neziswa MkitikaNeziswa Mkitika: Contact Centre Advisor

“My name is Neziswa Mkitika, I’m 33 years old, have two kids and passed my matric in 2007. I started working as a clerk for six years and studied HR while I was working for human resources. I then worked in retail for four years as a merchandiser and became a field marketer.

Harambee was a bridge for me to cross, when I started I was at my lowest. They changed the way I think, started me from scratch and they have taught me how to come out of my shell. No university can teach you more than they can teach you. They are the experts in the industry and I am the person that I am now because of all the hard work that they have put into me.

I have a calling to work with people, which is my gift, because I can read a person. Thanks to Webhelp I have found myself, Webhelp values define me as I love people, it’s not about money – it’s about doing what you love.  Webhelp has many opportunities, I cannot wait to grow in the business!”

ZubairZubair Samuels: Contact Centre Advisor

“I got an opportunity at Harambee, I started in mid-May and to be honest it was quite challenging to be in that position where I was preparing myself for the world of work. We spent five weeks at Harambee working hard and having fun,

When it came to an end I was really sad, we were leaving the place where we were taught how to manage time, be responsible, be organised and well-disciplined – not to forget learning appropriate dress code. But the journey began and we succeeded in moving to the next step which was huge, I finally I got a job!

I was so excited and nervous at the same time, because it was a whole new challenge, a different environment and different people to adapt too. Firstly we had to go on a training course, to be honest those were the best five weeks ever, training is basically the best ever!

We had so much fun and obstacles in our way as well that we had to overcome. The trainer was very knowledgeable and extremely chilled which made learning the product so much easier. The training prepared us for how it should be on the operational floor.

The first time on the operational floor I was so nervous, even though we had call listening in training. But, as I took my first call the advisor sitting with me was very helpful and made it easier. I made a lot of mistakes which I learnt brilliantly from, it helped me grow as an advisor. The campaign I am on is very busy but I love challenges and this was one of my biggest ones. It paid off and I passed GRAD BAY and then became LIVE, which was a great achievement!

Then finally my role became permanent, this company is really good and they provide lots of growth opportunities.

In the last of couple of months it has been tough due to the current pandemic, but it has been worth it as now the opportunities are actually flying out – giving all of us the chance to grow and succeed. I would actually love the chance just to showcase my ability in a leader role, I dearly hope that this journey does not end here and is continued with many more opportunities available to come!”

This is a model that has truly benefit our organisation, and there has been nothing more fulfilling; knowing that we have had an opportunity to nurture the untapped skill potential of unemployed youth in our country, not only impact their lives, but also the lives of their immediate families. We are proud to be playing our small part to #changinglives

Civic responsibility is part of the DNA of Webhelp, which has been running successfully for twenty years. Discover the four pillars of Webhelp’s citizen action here.


Webhelp South Africa launches unique leadership diversity programme

Webhelp South Africa launches unique leadership diversity programme in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Business School

Webhelp South Africa launches unique leadership diversity programmeWebhelp South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch Business School are delighted to announce an innovative new educational partnership.

Webhelp, a global leader in customer experience and business solutions, is collaborating with the university to develop an inclusive and accredited route into future business leadership, which aims to fully reflect the rich diversity and culture of the country.

The collaboration is another step in Webhelp’s investment in South Africa and the University of Stellenbosch Business School is an ideal partner. The university provides highly-regarded academic credentials and is ‘triple crown accredited’ an accolade given to only 1% of business schools worldwide.

This in-house, bespoke leadership acceleration programme will create a sustainable skill-based pipeline, to promote the development of equity candidates within various levels of leadership. The course will deliver a blended approach, combining formal education, in-role experience and relationship building. It will be available to a range of Webhelp employees from all academic stages and backgrounds.

David Turner, Webhelp CEO for the region, added his support to this approach by saying:

“As a people first business, Webhelp is fully committed to diversity and inclusivity, which starts with giving all our people the skills, confidence and opportunity to fulfill their potential. Together we are actively working towards making sure our leadership teams of the future reflect the full range of talent South Africa can offer.”

As the first candidates start their leadership journeys this week, Dr. Chris van der Hoven, CEO for the University of Stellenbosch Business School explains why they believe this will be such a unique opportunity:

“We believe that the combination of being authentically African and globally accredited is an important element of the contribution Webhelp is making in the development of teams and executives.
“Our faculty and professional staff come from highly diverse backgrounds and feel strongly aligned to the transformational ambitions of Webhelp as a business for Africa. The key account relationship and close partnership allow USB-ED to really understand the business, develop insights into the challenges, and innovate over time to secure impact and relevance.
“Our excitement about working in partnership with a global business in a growing and highly relevant business cannot be overstated.”

Many of these employees will be returning to the world of education while working full-time, so they will be supported by a team of learning process facilitators. This team will help them every step of the way by looking after their individual wellbeing, supporting them to deliver assignments and acting as a friendly hand to guide them through any unfamiliar interactions within the faculty.

Cathy Kalamaras, People Director at Webhelp South Africa is enthusiastic about the possibilities that this new initiative will bring, saying:

“At Webhelp, we truly believe in nurturing the talent of all our people. We work hard to deliver a transformational journey that creates a level playing field and offers all employees an equal opportunity to discover their full potential. This partnership is another exciting step in achieving that, and I am looking forward to seeing our people reach new heights. This programme gives them everything they need to succeed at Webhelp and offers lasting qualifications that they can carry forward throughout their careers.”

Trish Koning, Commercial Director at the University of Stellenbosch Business School adds:

“We are proud to be a partner and look forward to delivering our brand promise in this game-changing leadership acceleration programme. It gives people the opportunity to be the best that they can be and creates a strong pipeline of future leaders.”


78% of directors believe customers are paying more attention to responsible business practices since pandemic

New research from Gobeyond Partners, the consulting firm focused on customer journey transformation, and Webhelp, Europe’s leading provider of outsourced customer engagement services, has today revealed that responsibility, transparency and trust are now perceived to be more important than they were prior to the pandemic. These values are deemed to be so important that over seven in 10 directors of UK companies stated that their customers are now paying more attention to how responsible their business practices are compared to before the COVID-19 crisis.

Responsible business is just one of a number of data points in some joint research and accompanying report by Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp which underlines the importance of a human experience, as we move to a more digital age. It also highlights that organisations will need to work hard to manage this emerging trend, which will be crucial to the future of customer service as we enter this new normal.

Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp surveyed 500 respondents of director level and above across a range of industries about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. By combining Webhelp’s expertise in customer engagement with Gobeyond Partners’ customer journey design and transformation, the two organisations were able to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 across a number of key areas and offer recommendations to businesses as they start to plan towards a post pandemic world.

Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners comments on the findings: “When considering the seismic changes that COVID-19 has already driven for businesses on a global level, it is heartening to note that many brands have responded remarkably; adapting to rapidly shifting consumer demands and rethinking propositions at unprecedented pace. However, some have also suffered significant damage too. Certainly, at the start of lockdown, social media feeds were awash with examples of brands accused of behaving irresponsibly and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by their customers. As organisations rush to respond to changing consumer behaviour and working practices, by making much-needed technology and operating model changes, our research highlights the importance of doing this in a responsible, and human way.”

Other key findings from the joint research include:

  • 70% of businesses have seen a direct impact to their bottom line as a result of COVID-19, with more than half being negatively affected.
  • These financial impacts are expected to last, with more than 80% of respondents believing they will be financially impacted for six months or more and 50% expecting their finances to be affected for more than a year.

Craig Gibson, Chief Commercial Officer at Webhelp Group continues: “Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a major shift when it comes to the health and wellbeing, and of course, the safety of team members. However perhaps more interestingly customers have been paying even more attention to how companies deliver on this. We have already seen, and indeed will continue to see, a new more "responsible" behavioural shift, with more empathy for those at the front line. This in turn will place more pressure on businesses to deliver on responsible human work practices and ensure this is communicated as part of their customer journey. Never before has there been a greater need to demonstrate transparency and create genuine and deep emotional connections with customers and colleagues.”

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.


Reimagining Service: Insurance spotlight

COVID-19 has dramatically impacted millions of lives and fundamentally changed the direction of the global economy, but what are the emerging implications for the insurance industry, which is currently inundated with enquires and claims across all area of cover?


Half a million UK businesses have shut down, 20% of the workforce furloughed and revenue expectations and profitability has been severely reduced. Whilst insurance was less visibly impacted than sectors like travel and tourism, 2020 losses are still estimated at a considerable $200bn globally. Survival has now become a medium-term question and with the expectation of legal challenges, consolidation and increased loss ratios, radical changes are on the horizon.

Flexibility and speed of response has created frontrunners, and interestingly, type of risk alone is not dictating the level of impact. This now hinges on multiple factors, including leadership, culture, digital maturity, and the way organisations have designed their operating model.

What's next?

There are some emerging characteristics for success, the most obvious perhaps being the critical business continuity provided by investing in supported homeworking, which has in many cases helped to increase productivity and decrease advisor attrition. A heightened focus on swift regulatory compliance and vigour in commitment to operational resilience has also been a crucial factor.

It’s clear that shifting business to digital platforms has created much needed traction too, but this reactionary approach must now become mature, otherwise it will continue to deliver fragmented and frustrating customer journeys. And, companies that invest in mitigating the human impact of the pandemic will reap the benefits in public perception and employee commitment and satisfaction.

Often borne out of necessity (like car or business insurance) or for peace of mind, like home and personal cover, insurance can coincide with major life events that carry a deep emotional impact, so concentrating on relationship building and platforms that inspire trust will help brands to build better experiences and drive scale.

Humanising, streamlining and redesigning operating models should remain high on the insurance transformation agenda, as a critical fulcrum for engaging and creating the customer loyalty. Insurance must now build on the momentum of change generated to thrive and ensure genuine longevity, in this new and challenging world.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.


Reimagining Service: retail spotlight

The existing retail transformation agenda has been radically altered. And, while doors are now reopening following what could be the toughest ever period of trading, it is clear that the sector has been hugely impacted by the current crisis.

Many bricks and mortar stores (and even entire portfolios) are still teetering on the brink, so reduced footfall coupled with social distancing measures may render them un-viable. Government intervention may help in the medium term but, as cash reserves dwindle, insolvencies and consolidation will rise.

For multichannel retailers, digital growth has helped to subsidise bricks and mortar revenue. However those behind the curve on the digital agenda will suffer the most, with w-commerce and mixed model adoption (like click and collect) becoming a huge priority. Emerging winners will need established robust digital channels, a modern and scalable attitude to customer service, and have less exposure to costly store portfolios.

What's next?

Brick and mortar focused organisations will have to work much harder for success, as profit margins decrease. Options include undergoing restructuring, investing in omni-channel approaches, or exploring experiential outlets. But, ultimately, retailers must understand how to recreate brand and human experiences digitally.

Obsolete legacy retail teams must merge with digital teams for the benefit of the consumer and, importantly, new digital should not be layered onto an outdated operating model or “broken” customer journeys. Ideally, companies should be rethinking their new world customer experience from the ground up.

Delivering a seamless, consistent service through a blended home/office model will be a difficult balance to strike, especially as moving forward employees and customers will become less forgiving. So, being human and transparent has never been more important – but a laser-focus must remain on performance management and repeatable customer experience, irrespective of location and model.

This may be a tall order for those retailers with limited transformation funds, already reeling from the current shock. However, the first lesson in retail is to begin with a deep understanding of your customers: harnessing existing data and insight and ensuring that expertise and exemplary practices are in place when building new journeys, will be the best starting point for retailers to succeed on their digital journey.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.

 


Reimagining Service: Travel spotlight

In 2019 the outlook for travel was fairly optimistic in comparison to some other major sectors. It was at a place of maturity in customer experience, using the ability to emotionally and personally connect, whilst leveraging consumer behaviours to create buy in and deliver enhanced customer journeys.

Some disruption was evident, including financial fragility caused by the emergence of new players and go-between providers, like AIrBnB, and also a growing interest in personalised, sustainable eco-tourism. Both factors were impacting on the traditional value, luxury and price based market. Plus, technology was giving regional providers global reach, and bricks and mortar travel retailers were being challenged by digital startups.

The arrival of COVID-19 increased existing pressures, while lockdown and flight bans created income stasis and refund deficits. Cost sustainability is now a huge factor, especially for standalone venues and cases where low operating margins coincide with high cost distribution or intermediation, with go-betweens and resellers draining income flows.

What's next?

Thankfully, the industry is trading again, but the extended airline recovery period is likely to create immediate price hikes and a lack of availability in the leisure market. For business travellers and the corporate market, this recovery will be much longer.

We can expect short term growth in domestic markets, as people have less money and opportunity for international journeys. With global destinations limited, travel will become a simpler more meaningful and relationship-based activity. Lasting consumer trends will result, including a renewed interest in sustainable tourism and purposeful, enriching travel.

Two segments are emerging: The smaller, local, mid-market meaningful avenues for travel, versus luxury propositions. As companies jostle for space in this new world, mature customer service will be vital. But, there is a substantial learning curve required to develop as a seasoned customer advisor, with the depth of understanding needed covering the sector, brand and processes.

In tandem with the rise of homeworking, leisure travel will become blended with business needs, creating the new concept of ‘Bleisure’. Put simply, the human experience of travel and the need for personal contact and connection will be at the forefront of all these changes, and will be increasingly valued and promoted.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new world which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.

 


How AI and data analytics can support vulnerable customers

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the identification and protection of vulnerable customers was a significant focus for companies and regulators. Here James Allen, Chief Risk & Technology Officer for Webelp UK Group looks at the impact it will have, now and in the future.

In these testing times, the identification and protection of vulnerable customers will now assume even more importance as organisations work on proactively recognising customers who need assistance, prior to the predicted surge in demand for financial support - as aids like employee furloughs, payment holidays and credit schemes end.

Worryingly, prior to the outbreak over half of the UK population were already financially vulnerable, with one in six people unable to cope with a £50 increase in monthly bills, according to a survey of Britain’s personal finances by the City regulator. The Financial Conduct Authority’s biggest ever survey of households found that 4.1 million people are already in serious financial difficulty, falling behind with bills and credit card payments, with 25- to 34-year-olds the most over-indebted.

Furthermore, 50% of adults (over 25.6 million people) “display one or more characteristics that signal their potential vulnerability” and just under 8 million are over-indebted.

And this is not limited to the UK, as the 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard finds that forty percent of American households lack a basic level of savings and don’t have enough savings to make ends meet at the poverty level for three months if their income was interrupted. Almost half (48.1%) of Americans with credit had scores below prime and 20% of households had no credit in the past 12 months and were likely to be without access to it.

Furthermore, a report from the ING Group states that southern European economies like Italy and Spain are especially vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID, exacerbated by the importance of tourism which accounts for at least 13% of GDP and about 15% of total employment. They also have a larger share of vulnerable workers and a higher chance of bankruptcies due to firm size.

However, throughout all this we must remember that vulnerability can be a temporary and fluctuating status, with many causes, including mental health, dementia, changes in employment and personal circumstances, literacy, numeracy and socioeconomic factors.  It is key to use technology to help people on an individual basis, never forgetting that unique set of circumstances they may be experiencing.

Plus, regulators will be keeping a close eye on these new developments, and the pressure may soon be on firms to use all available routes to safeguard customers and prevent the global financial crisis from deepening.

So the question for many global companies has become, in the post COVID world, how do we identify and support customers who are financially vulnerable, without compromising operational efficiency?

And this is especially important for us at Webhelp, as we carry a people-first commitment and our think human value through to the customer base of over 32 clients in the UK, India and South Africa.

It’s clear that data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) is already changing the way that companies offer support to their most vulnerable customers, and that this may play a part in reshaping the regulatory landscape. While establishing if someone is vulnerable and how best to support them is a very human judgment, at Webhelp we believe that sensitive and careful use of data, using AI to segment, can help direct the right customer support teams to the right people, spotting potential issues before they become a problem.

We combine the very best in technology and skilled people to create the best outcomes, as Chris Bryson, Webhelp Global Data & Analytics Director explains:

“We’re helping clients leave no stone unturned to reveal customer vulnerability. Whether customers tell us directly that they’re experiencing issues, or if they show characteristics of someone who can be vulnerable; using analytics from customer contacts and records helps us and our clients see those signals clearly.

We use our own unique speech and text analytics engine, which is applied to advisor and automated customer conversations. The resulting Voice of the Customer analytics drives constant improvements in the way we measure quality and enhances the overall customer experience.

As a result, we can help our clients to spot vulnerable customers who would otherwise slip through the net. At the heart, it’s about helping our advisors to better support that customer, and working with our clients to ensure they are recognising these signs of vulnerability.”

By using this insight, and access to the best analytical technology, and to the right people to put this in action for the greater good, we can confidently move forwards and create a better financial environment for both clients and customers in the future.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group, on Reimagining service for the new world.                                        This aims to address these crucial questions and is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.

 

 

 


Demand Marketing guides salespeople to the best business opportunities

(Article published initially in French in Actionco.fr)

Selling is hard. More than ever, marketing-commerce congruence is essential to accelerate growth by generating higher value qualified leads. 

While the first two thirds of the B2B customer journey is now in digital form, "it is essential to stimulate the customer as soon as he prepares to make a purchasealone, online, to help the business to make this purchase intention a reality", underlines Alexandre Barthel, Marketing Director at Webhelp Enterprise. 

From data to information, from information to action 

Demand Marketing is above all based on data: "The ability to collect data to extract information is crucial to understand your audience and address them in a personalized way, the antipodes of the "’mass’ Direct Marketing actions of 20 years ago". It is now a multitude of highly targeted marketing campaigns that delivers value and feeds Lead Scoring. This method consists of allocating points according to behaviour within a digital path: opening an e-mail, clickingvisiting a site, etc., in order to produce a ranking reflecting the prospect's interest in the commercial offer and his propensity to buy. The objective is to guide the sales force in priority towards these opportunitiesReinforced by automation, Demand Marketing plays a major role more than ever in generating leads, in a daily life without trade shows or even face-to-face meetings. 

Key figures  

 - Between 27% and 40%: this is the average contribution of marketing to turnover (source: Markletic March 2020) 

 - 69%: this is the share of companies that make the generation of qualified leads their top priority for 2020 (source: Hubspot) 

Predicting buying behaviour 

Beyond the essential work of segmentation, marketers are sometimes helped by data scientists to create predictive models: "it is a question of anticipating the need, in order to take proactive action, for example to retain a subscriber for whom signals of risk of termination have been detected"These models are now reinforced by web listening’ techniques, which consist of analysing online interactions to detect purchase intentions. The retailer can then propose an adapted offer, but "it goes without saying that the posture towards the customer, in particular the tone of the message, must be benevolent enough to be perceived positively," notes Alexandre Barthel 

 Social Selling completes the generation of demand  

 Demand Marketing is extended by an individual approach with Social Selling. The modern seller appropriates the brand's marketing content to share it with his ecosystem on social networks. Here again, the goal is to generate business. "This mastery of social selling has become the standard in sales to accurately identify and contact decision-makers. In addition to generating business opportunitiesthis approach enhances the expertise of the sales representativewho makes a commitment on behalf of the brand to a wide audience," says Alexandre Barthel. 

Would you like an audit of your sales model and evaluate the value of marketing campaigns to feed your sales force? Get in touch with specialists.