OneShot - Three opinions

Hervé Rigault, Director General for France of Netino by Webhelp

Herve-Picture

The notion of a key opinion leader is coming back into fashion. Previously, this role was held by journalists, speakers, analysts, etc. Yet, on the one hand, journalists no longer have the time to do research and, on the other, many experts lack neutrality. This is because influencers have learned to establish themselves with solid audiences, mainly thanks to blogs and curation, but also thanks to social media. This phenomenon is seen in both B2C and B2B. LinkedIn’s recent and considerable development, for example, is a result of its transformation: this social network has become a very influential social media platform. So it is no longer enough to be an expert to become an influencer; you have to have a vision, a certain talent for expression, a taste for sharing, a dynamic network, etc. Brands can profit from it, through attentive listening.

 

Jérémy Rodney, Head of Digital Content & Social Media Bouygues Telecom

At Bouygues Telecom, influencer marketing started in 2013, with 4G. We had to spread the word about its high data speeds, relying on the power of recommendations from a few influencers. First we targeted gamers, big bandwidth consumers and their subscribers. Today, the use of influencers is ingrained in our media campaigns. We don’t use nano-influencers, they are too complex to manage with our services and products. When we have a reach objective, we look for macro-influencers. And to find more engagement, and oproduce original content, we work more and more with middle or micro-influencers. Adults, parents, seniors, etc. All age ranges are represented; the palette of influencers has become very large and diverse.

 

Jeroen Dijkema, CEC Cluster Lead Europe Unilever (Rotterdam)

Unilever has a vast galaxy of agribusiness brands of international renown. Some of these brands have strong local ties. On an international or local level, we reach out to influencers with three goals in mind: to develop brand reputation, deliver messages on specific brands and test certain new products. The authenticity of these influencers is a criteria for selection, since our products are built on data that reflects the needs of the consumer, but they are also a societal goal. Mainly on Instagram and Facebook, we reach out to macro or micro-influencers.

Read the full article

Customers increasingly expect responsible business practices

Our research shows 78% of leaders expect additional scrutiny on how they operate since the pandemic.

Responsibility, transparency, and trust are now perceived to be more important than they were prior to the pandemic.

Our research shows 78% of leaders agreed that customers were paying closer attention to how responsible their business practices are, compared to before the COVID-19 crisis.

It highlights the needs for brands to be more human in their service delivery – looking after colleagues’ wellbeing, supporting emotionally intelligent conversations with customers, and building a genuine connection which can effectively address customer needs.

This research, carried out by Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp, covered 500 senior business leaders and has been used to make recommendations on how service should be reimagined to better meet customer needs.

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.”

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.”

Whilst technology and a rapidly changing environment is transforming service, it’s clear that people and the human experience will still make the crucial difference in delivering a world-leading customer experience.

How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations need to adapt? And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises?

By combining Webhelp’s expertise in global customer management with Gobeyond

Partners’ customer-journey design, alongside our research with 500 senior business leaders, we’ve provided a unique perspective in our #servicereimagined white paper.


OneShot – Hashtag #TrustYourInfluencer

Your brand? Your products? It’s the influencers that talk about them best. In any case, they are better understood by your target market. Here are three tips for working well with them.
1. Consider the influencer to be a true partner.

Everything starts with a good collaboration with them. A good partnership isn’t simply asking an influencer to showcase your product to their followers. This way of looking at it - as forming a human sandwich with the brand - is inefficient, even counter-productive. Today, influencers ask to include the spirit of the brand. Therefore, the influencer should be seen as a consultant for communicating on social media, and not as a simple megaphone. So, the entire challenge is first in identifying which influencers will be the most suitable with respect to the brand’s objectives. The error generally lies in always working with the same pool of influencers and reasoning quantitively based on the number of followers accumulated. It is better to customise together, that is to have a very qualitative and individualised approach based on legitimacy.

2. Let yourself be influenced by your influencers.

In general, brands assume a risk when they express themselves on social media. Trolls will find something there to vent about... The goal of collaborating with an influencer is to create a message that will be appreciated by their community – by relying on their legitimacy and expertise. This opens new doors for the brand, and therefore the brand finds new playing fields and new forums in which to express themselves. In a nutshell, influence allows brands to have a voice accepted by a
community, rather than top-down. The influencer knows their community perfectly well: they are the only person who knows whether or not they will be on board. Therefore, it is better to listen to them and trust them! Particularly as many of them are born communicators...

3. To generate engagement, favour micro-influencers.

On social networks, in order to add a human dimension to the relationship with the brand, it is wise to switch to micro-influencers instead of working with a ‘face of the brand’. Admittedly, the latter option is historically ingrained and it allows brand legitimacy to be established. But today, it is engagement that becomes the main challenge –moreover, platforms are constantly improved to favour it. Once you have set yourself a goal for engagement or ROI, it is better to work closely with micro-influencers, who are involved and relevant, even those with ‘only’ 3,000 to 5,000 followers. Legitimacy is key. A macro-influencer like Bixente Lizarazu, for example, could also be considered a micro-influencer for cycling, which he is a huge fan of!

An article by Ludovic Chevallier, Head of Havas Paris Social.

 

“Be a fan of your fans by making them heroes of your story.”

Mark Schaefer, author of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins


What will motivate the customers of the future?

Successful brands all have at least one thing in common, they clearly understand what customers want, and can pinpoint the most effective way to deliver their products and customer services to meet that need. Here we talk to industry experts from both the Webhelp UK Region and our co-brand Gobeyond Partners to find out how the consumer landscape is changing and what this transformation will mean for customer experience.

Customer behavior is changing, how can businesses build interactions and services to adapt to this change?

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK:

Knowledge will be the key.

It’s absolutely essential that organisations understand their customer’s journeys and identify how these have changed as behaviours and expectations have shifted as a result of the crisis.

For example, it’s clear that the face of retail has changed, perhaps forever, with many brands catering to a larger, more mixed demographic who are now adopting e-commerce as their new normal. We are all shopping more frequently online and avoiding the store experience. [1]

Subsequently, companies who establish a real depth of consumer knowledge and who uncover and meet their customer’s core motivations and expectations at relevant points on the service path, are the most likely to succeed moving forwards.

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Transformation in consumer trends and actions will become a natural driving force in the evolution of business processes. Being able to identify behavioural change undertaken by a specific demographic and how this relates to failures (and opportunities) in the service process, will be crucial in shifting the dial.

As will identifying how and where to integrate technology to fully support the end-to-end journey and drive a peak customer experience.

What are the stumbling blocks business should be aware of when creating enhanced customer relationships to build recovery?

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Investment in new infrastructure, more advanced service models and increased data capture and analysis will be prerequisite for sustainable recovery. However, speaking realistically, finding working capital to deliver these solutions may be an issue for brands already suffering from economic pressure due to the pandemic.

The ability to make agile business decisions will be imperative and to minimise risk it is absolutely essential that investment is focused in the right places.

Dave Pattman, MD CX Services, Gobeyond Partners

Added to this, consumer confidence is still fragile – although the UK index rose slightly over the summer[2] – and early signs of recovery stand in the shadow of the second wave of the pandemic, now projected to hit Europe hard in the colder months ahead.

Obviously, brands are now challenged to create viable forecasts against shifting consumer demand, and to be adequately resourced to meet them. In this uncertain climate decisions on pivot points such as when to recruit to meet demand and when to reduce outlay become much more abstract and theoretical.

There will be an increased need for increased online services & intelligent automation to meet these fluctuations economically and to increase flexibility and response rates.

How can brands use innovative digital thinking to respond to new consumer attitudes?

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Our recent Whitepaper revealed that, to reorient and flourish in the new consumer landscape, brands must become more adaptable, focused, digital and human. Of these four pillars, the need to become more digital is perhaps the easiest for brands to understand, but the hardest to deliver in a meaningful way.

They know that new online citizens are emerging and that the world of work has undergone a radical change, but they may have difficulty identifying the pain points that this transformation will bring to their customer journeys – and how and where to embed the most useful digital offerings to best address them.

They must seek out resources to help laser focus their efforts to deliver rapid, effective change – and make the most out of their limited resources.

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK:

Many organisations will be exposed due to their lack of digital literacy and will struggle to create effective engagement strategies that ensure they maximise the power of digital intervention at the relevant points in customer lifecycle.

If you don’t thoroughly understand the customer journey, it is difficult to automate or digitise processes in a way that will positively impact customer experience. There is also a danger that you may jeopardise future ability to offer additional propositions, products and services in the best window for action.

Customer insight must be embedded throughout the whole digital transformation process, as it provides the basis to offer intelligent next best action tools.

At Webhelp, we are identifying where human support adds value to digital experiences. Providing guidance and support to customers and brands during high value, complex and emotionally important journeys is critical.

Dave Pattman, MD CX Services, Gobeyond Partners

Brands that honestly seek to innovate have to be willing to supersede ‘faceless’ digital experiences and really connect with their customers. Technology is changing the way service is approached, created and delivered, but the juxtaposition of advanced technology and the human touch, must be carefully managed to enhance rather than hinder customer experience. Success will only be achieved through combining the right technology with a human mindset and strong digital strategy.

Finally, the time has come for brands to let go of dated and limiting legacy technologies and infrastructure, which are often swept under the carpet of the digital transformation roadmap. Failure to do this will put them at a serious disadvantage, as innovators will swiftly build the future of service without them.

[1] Forbes

[2] research-live.com GfK Consumer Confidence Index


Your Guide to build an efficient patient-oriented strategy at a
global scale

In a context fueled by digital disruption and global acceleration, healthcare companies must design a new framework to better provide a seamless, constistent care accross all moment and all frontiers Through this white paper, Webhelp Medica reveals its best practices and learnings based on more than 20 years of expertise. Mixing feedbacks, testimonials and regulatory analyses, here are the keys to a winning strategy.

Read the Whitepaper Here

Content Moderation - why every boomtown needs a sheriff!

As online engagement will be the next boomtown for customer experience, Andrew Hall, Director of Strategic Engagements, Webhelp UK region, looks at the future of this new frontier and how content moderation will be critical to protect brands and users.

Andrew Hall - content moderation boomtown - Twitter

Back in 1996, when the internet and social media as we know it now was pure science fiction, Bill Gates wrote a pivotal essay entitled ‘Content is King’ saying:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” And he realised the new freedom for self-expression that this would provide by adding; “One of the most exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”[1]

Fast forward to today, and across every conceivable social platform, the internet is now heaving with content marketing – from thought leadership, brand videos, sponsorship, influencer tie-ins and stories promoting everything from consumer goods to dating services.

And, accelerated by the physical limitations introduced by COVID-19, this new digital frontier is still growing. In the UK for example, in June 2020 Ofcom reported a substantial rise in the incidence of social media accounts on platforms like WhatsApp (70%, up from 61% in 2018), Instagram (43%, up from 38% in 2018), and YouTube (42%, up from 35% in 2018).[2]

And although the shadow cast by the mountain of Facebook (forecast to hit 1.7 billion users worldwide by the close of 2020) continues to dominate this landscape, it now shares engagement time with multiple platforms.

So, it’s clear that navigating this expanding territory could be a rough ride for many companies, with this gold-rush of new users, bringing fresh disruptions and challenges.

We know that it is vitally important to reach your customers where there are most active, and as McKinsey reports, that is now online:

“Demand patterns have shifted. Overall online penetration in China increased by 15–20 percent. In Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose by 81 percent in a single week, creating significant supply-chain bottlenecks. Customers need digital, at-home, and low-touch options. Digital-led experiences will continue to grow in popularity once the coronavirus is quelled, and companies that act quickly and innovate in their delivery model to help consumers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively will establish a strong advantage.”[3]

It’s clear that any new delivery model must include Content Moderation, and as digital-experiences assume more importance in our lives, user-generated content (UGC) will undoubtedly continue to grow in impact and variety.

In simple terms, content moderation helps companies monitor, analyse and respond to UGC including comments, reviews, videos, social media posts or forum discussions, using predefined criteria and legal boundaries to establish suitability for publication.

As Webhelp Group Senior Director of Content Management and Moderation Solutions, Chloé de Mont-Serrat, explains:

“Leveraging user-generated content is fast becoming a powerful and flexible tool to raise brand recognition and enhance customer trust, especially in the booming e-commerce industry. Consumer content is instrumental in influencing both purchase decision making and in the uptake, visibility and popularity of brands online.”

“However, despite these benefits, utilising externally produced content is not without risk, especially for companies that are unaware of the detrimental impact this can have on the user perspective of the brand if not properly managed.”

Source: Content Moderation for Dating Applications

And the danger is that, when left unmanaged UGC can permanently damage brand reputation and revenues, leaving the barn door open for harmful content like flame wars, online abuse, mounting customer complaints, unsuitable imagery, fake news, fraud and cyber bulling. Not to mention clearing the field for automated spam content, troll farms and false reviews. 

Controlling and making the most of this vitally important demographic is where, much like a local sheriff looking after the townsfolk and wellbeing of the community, content moderation becomes key to creating healthy, responsive two-way engagement that benefits the brand and protects all the users.

The research article ‘Re-humanizing the platform: Content moderators and the logic of care’ describes content moderators as;

“The hidden custodians of platforms, the unseen and silent guardians who maintain order and safety by overseeing visual and textual user-generated content.”[4]

The report highlights, as we believe at Webhelp, that thinking human and maintaining empathy and insight, should be a critical and creative factor in current and future platform arrangements.

Webhelp’s recent research paper Reimagining Service for the New World a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, spotlights the tensions and challenges between the need to be simultaneously both more digital and more human. As companies are increasingly being tasked to deliver seamless, technology-enabled, and experience-led service across multiple channels, while demonstrating transparency and creating genuine and deep emotional connections with customers.

And, with 78% of leaders agreeing that customers will be paying much closer attention to their business practices, maintaining a human face online, especially in reacting to confrontational or illegal content, will become more important than ever.

At Webhelp we are passionate about supporting our clients through their content moderation challenges, and have guided them through a range of topics; such as identifying under-age members, inappropriate images, tackling online harassment and preventing accounts being used as a platform for illegal activity such as scams and fraud.

We protect brand reputation and enhance user experience, mobilising effective and skilled teams with specific sector experience. They utilise both their human judgement and cutting edge analytical services to effectively police and nurture online communities, providing growth for the brand and safety for the user.

Later blogs will focus on specific industry moderation pain points and the best ways to correct them, but for now we leave you with this thought;

“There’s a new sheriff in town – and they’re called called Webhelp!”

 

To discover more about customer experience 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. Or read our new paper exploring the Content Moderation pain points in the Dating application sector and the way towards a more comprehensive and game changing solution.


Taking a human centred approach to cyber security

In response to the evolving cyber challenge in the post-COVID-19 landscape, James Allen, Chief Risk & Technology Officer for the Webhelp UK Region, considers the way that risk in customer service has evolved and reveals the steps Webhelp has taken to protect its clients and people, with a human centred approach to cyber security.

The humanitarian crisis brought by COVID-19 undoubtedly caused rapid and universal disruption to businesses across the global stage; impacting economies, and leaving some companies struggling to maintain business continuity, whilst increasingly vulnerable to unscrupulous cyber criminals.

In fact, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime division has reported evidence of a substantial rise in malicious activity (specific to the topic of COVID-19) in areas like phishing, malware, ransomware, infrastructure attacks, targeting teleworking employees to gain system access, fraud schemes (fake medicines and goods), misinformation and fake news.

In July, Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, published that victims had already lost over £11 million to COVID-19 related scams.

Consequently, the pandemic has put an intense spotlight on personal cyber practices, especially as working from home (without proper measures) can create more risk than the traditional controlled office environment. Similarly, Tech Republic reported that, from phishing attacks to malware, 71% of security professionals have been recording increased security threats or attacks since the COVID-19 outbreak, and as a result many countries and companies have been spurred into rapid action.

In the UK more than 80 coronavirus-related phishing and scam websites were taken down in just one day after the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) asked for the public to report suspicious emails. Existing takedown services, in one month alone, removed more than 2,000 online scams related to coronavirus, including 471 fake online shops, 555 malware distribution sites, 200 phishing sites and 832 advance-fee frauds. NCSC chief executive officer Ciaran Martin believes that the rise in technology use is making online safety more critical, saying:

 “Technology is helping us cope with the coronavirus crisis and will play a role helping us out of it – but that means cybersecurity is more important than ever,”   Source: Zdnet.com

 And, according to PWC, 80% of UK CEOs are concerned about the risk of cyber threats to their business, it is the issue they are most worried about, above skills (79%) and the speed of technological change (75%).

Revealingly, just under half of UK CEOs (48.4%) have taken some action regarding their own personal digital behaviour, including deleting social media or requesting a company to delete their data.

This is a worrying trend, which was noticeable even prior to the current crisis, as (according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) 2019 saw a 350% increase in ransomware attacks, a 250% increase in spoofing or business email compromise (BEC) attacks and a 70% increase in spear-phishing attacks in companies overall.

Furthermore, the average cost of a cyber-data breach rose from $4.9 million in 2017 to $7.5 million in 2018. Likewise, worldwide spending on cyber security increased by over 20% during 2017-2019 ($101Bn – $124Bn) and inevitably these costs will continue to rise, but without addressing the human behaviours contributing to this trend, much of this investment could be wasted.

And behaviour change is the key, as research firm Proofpoint revealed that a staggering 99% of threats observed relied on human interaction like enabling a macro, opening a file, following a link, or opening a document – highlighting the role of social engineering in enabling successful attacks, and the importance of knowledge as the top factor for prevention.

A recent FirstData study revealed that 60% of individuals are currently concerned about online security, and feel the need to do more to protect themselves. But information on how to do this is clearly absent, as over a quarter of those asked were entirely uninformed about the subject.

We know that the pandemic has led to record numbers of individuals now working from home – often without prior knowledge and experience of safe remote working practices and the potential security risks.  And, this situation is complicated by the fact that too often companies publish complex security policies, which are difficult to understand for the regular user.

As a people-first company, Webhelp is committed to a human centred approach to Cyber Security, aiming to provide all our people with the essential skills to keep them and their families safe online.

From the start it was clear that education was critical to delivering this goal. We recognised a need for clear and simple guidelines, put forward in an engaging and easy to follow manner, to help employees gain insight and confidence in recognising and protecting themselves against potential scams and take action when approaching cyber security.

So, in 2020 we launched our Cyber Super Heroes Campaign, designed to make complex security advice simple and accessible to all colleagues. This campaign talked to these issues in a humorous yet informative voice, and our activity has accelerated to support our colleagues through a time when cyber threats were increasing.

Focusing on a different topic every fortnight, guidance has been delivered across multiple channels including on site, email, social media, the employee intranet, desktops and screen savers and by using digital animations and posters.

Our people were also given the opportunity to get involved by becoming a Webhelp Cyber Superhero, through signing up for in-depth additional information to better champion the cause to their teammates and families.

The campaign has covered a full spectrum of cyber security topics including:

  • Phishing
  • Safe Passwords
  • Physical Security, both at work and at home
  • Keeping safe online
  • Social Engineering
  • Malware
  • Social Media
  • Keeping kids safe online
  • Safe Online Banking
  • Keeping your devices secure when you’re out and about
  • Cookies

Finally, to add a truly human face to our campaign, personal stories from volunteers in our business were shared. Colleagues were extremely keen to highlight their experiences and offered heartfelt advice to their colleagues, with the goal of really delivering a relatable message that Cyber scams can and do happen, and that together we can make our online activity safer, both in our workplaces and in our homes.

However, the work doesn’t stop there as Head of Cyber & Privacy for Webhelp UK Region, Chris Underhill, explains:

“The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, requiring businesses to monitor threats, adapt to change and deal with incidents swiftly. As part of my new role in Webhelp, I will be supporting our international teams and clients with cutting edge cyber intelligence, training, technology and consultancy services that not only help secure organisations against a growing number of threats, but also provide professional, certified level assurance to help secure business as usual against a backdrop of regulation, uncertain times and new working conditions.

 It’s clear that threats facing businesses extend well beyond the network perimeter and a move towards a new ‘human centric’ approach to cyber security is required to protect critical assets from compromise. Webhelp are committed to supporting our teams and clients using the very best in technology and educational programmes that will provide a robust suite of solutions across the industry.

Agility and innovation in risk has been crucial to managing the pace of change during the pandemic, so despite the challenges brought by COVID, fear must not stand in the way of progress. This is something that will be explored further in a forthcoming blog for the #servicereimagined series.

 

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.

 


Trends 2020 – Connected vehicles: data sharing will benefit all players

Car manufacturers are in a paradoxical situation: they are bringing back huge amounts of data from vehicles without fully exploiting or sharing it. Yet, the PTOLEMUS Consulting Group's Vehicle Data Market Global Study report reveals there are high stakes in opening up this ecosystem as manufacturers, motorists and third parties would have a lot to gain. The customer experience could be completely transformed - in compliance with current regulations. Manufacturers must act now, otherwise the exploitation of this data will be done without them.

To gather further insights into transforming the customers experience in mobility services, we interview Frédéric Bruneteau's, President of PTOLEMUS Consulting Group, who has over 20 years' experience in mobility services, becoming one of the worlds’ foremost experts in the field of connected vehicles. Our Director of the Telecom & High-Tech BU at Webhelp, Jalil Lahlou, also shares his insights into these transformations.

Why did you launch this study on vehicle data?

Frédéric Bruneteau (FB): The market was close to maturity on the strategic issue of vehicle data, and on the opportunities for value creation offered by their sharing. This hypothesis was confirmed during the 50 interviews that many international automotive professionals gave us, in 18 countries.

I should point out that the study does not only concern car manufacturers, since we studied 8 vertical mobility markets, including: fleet management, car rental and car sharing, payment from the vehicle, car maintenance (remote or local), car insurance, etc.

In the end, these 8 months of work allowed us to better estimate the fantastic data production of the vehicle, current and future, and its fundamental economic stakes. The 600-page report covers the period 2018-2030 and proposes case studies from 7 manufacturers who already share their data.

How is vehicle data produced and what is the role of Vehicle Data Hubs?

FB: Firstly, I would like to point out cars are already producing phenomenal amounts of data, and with good reason. There are a good hundred sensors in a vehicle, and there are more lines of code in the computer programs that manage it than in those of an Airbus.

To take advantage of this data, new platforms are appearing today, these are the Vehicle Data Hubs (VDH).

These are sometimes traditional players who have gradually taken an interest in vehicle data and its use, such as insurance (LexisNexis, Verisk) or maintenance (CCC) providers. These players have been exchanging data with manufacturers for several years now within the scope of their original business which makes them specialists.

In addition, we have recently seen the emergence of more generalist players, such as Wejo, Otonomo and Caruso. Their approach is first and foremost to serve carmakers and open up their data to the rest of the world, in all verticals.

What are the current and future business models for exploiting this data?

FB: The data generated by a rolling vehicle is of all types: traffic information, incident and accident detection, maintenance data, conditions, and modes of use, etc.

Some data takes on a special meaning, and therefore value when crossed intelligently. For example, some VDHs are already doing this and can thus determine which lane on a 3 or 4-lane road runs best. This information can be monetized in different ways.

Another example: for an insurer, interesting data can be retrieved from the vehicle, such as distances travelled, as well as risk levels; depending on whether one is driving during the day rather than at night, on the highway rather than on the road, etc., this makes it possible to build different billing models based on usage.

However, in this insurance niche, suppliers of electronic boxes are already positioned to provide this data; competing solutions also exist, based on the mobile phone. In other words, car manufacturers are already ‘short-circuited' in these business models. This should make them aware of the value of the data they collect...

More generally, the automotive ecosystem is particularly large and diverse, with dealerships, repairers, accessory dealers, leasers, and a multitude of equipment and service providers.

All these players have a strong interest in accessing vehicle data to create all kinds of business models.

Jalil Lahlou (JL): I would simply add that vehicle data can create a lot of value, as long as it can be coupled with user data. The latter are now being exploited in a very relevant way, based on data analytics.

Based on cross-referencing of vehicle-driver data, loyalty and personalisation actions can be imagined. For example, for a manufacturer, this opens-up opportunities for range renewal: the sales pitch to a driver would be much more relevant, since we would be aware of his real uses.

In other words, this opens up opportunities for upselling complementary options, mobility products and services, etc.

For example, a good knowledge of the driver and his or her uses would make it possible to recommend other products - such as the purchase of an electric scooter for a very urban, short-distance, environmentally conscious user.

In a loyalty and renewal framework, the proposal for a replacement vehicle could be based on reliable bases (age of the vehicle, kilometres travelled, repurchase value of the vehicle, etc.).

These practices are highly developed in telecoms. Conversely, today, manufacturers find it very difficult to keep track of a vehicle's life.

More generally, this cross-referencing of vehicle-driver data would lead to the emergence of new types of prospects and customers, highly relevant to the automotive and mobility ecosystem. Subject, of course, to strict compliance with regulations in force, such as the RGPD, and the rejection of dubious practices of the dark pattern type.

How important is consent to the use of vehicle data?

FB: This is one of the most important questions - how will this consent be granted, and renewed on a regular basis? Some data will not be personal data - anonymised traffic data, for example, but others will fall within this legal perimeter, such as geolocation data.

Significant efforts will therefore have to be made in terms of transparency and education, so that users see their interest in this exploitation of their vehicle data.

This is the sine qua non of consent, whether one-off or more permanent.

Which segments are affected by the use of vehicle data?

FB: Based on the study, 4 segments can be distinguished:

  1. Company cars, which in some markets account for around 50% of new car sales (Belgium, England...),
  2. New cars - the majority of which in Europe are purchased by people over 50 years of age, this population being users of digital products and services
  3. Second-hand cars which often lack a digital link to the manufacturer or other players
  4. As for the digital natives, they see the world without owning a car. However, they are looking for mobility and carpooling solutions from their mobiles. Neither do they have a digital link with the manufacturer or other players.

As you can imagine, each of these segments has its own challenges in terms of the customer experience

JL: As far as new vehicles sold in Europe are concerned, regulations require them to be equipped with the eCall emergency call system. Cross-vehicle driver knowledge creates new opportunities in customer care such as premium support that could concern the optimised use of the vehicle, or a ‘concierge’ type service for vehicle maintenance and to make the driver's life easier, for example.

Preventive maintenance services are also possible on these bases. Generally speaking, these 4 segments could all benefit from a much-improved customer experience and customer relations.

You advocate a model for sharing vehicle data, what are your arguments?

FB: As I pointed out, cars already produce a considerable amount of data flow, and the trend will increase in the future since all new models in Europe are connected. Yet, paradoxically, these gigabytes of data are hardly ever shared with third parties.

Here, a comparison must be made as data from mobile phones has been widely shared and used for a long time. There is a strategic challenge in sharing vehicle data to offer drivers new services and a richer, more satisfying experience.

Apple has just announced its intention to use vehicle data (in partnership with BMW) to launch a digital solution for Car Keys - to open the door of a car purchased, rented, or borrowed with an iPhone.

This enables manufacturers to implement this service for car users so they can easily access the car using their Apple mobile device.

How can manufacturers create a mechanism for third parties to access vehicle data?

FB: The manufacturers we interviewed already have ideas or solutions.

The general idea is to design a platform model that allows targeted access to certain data, with the necessary consents. Each platform would be linked to a manufacturer on the one hand and to third parties on the other.

Of course, there are already some implementations that correspond to this model at some manufacturers, for example BMW or General Motors, but they are still only on a small scale.

It is true that today, manufacturers do not have a data centric culture, or that they have other priorities, but rather extraordinarily complex and heavy in investments: the autonomous car, the electrification of vehicles, the reduction of emissions, and so on.

So, one of the key conclusions of the study is that the most efficient way to go to scale in vehicle data management would be to use specialised players. These have the expertise to create data hubs, and to make them available to thousands of players. This is the purpose of GM's investment in Wejo and Nissan's investment in Otonomo.

What do you think of Apple and Google's App Store model?

FB: It is indeed the model of app stores, as it was developed for smartphones. Millions of developers can thus create applications, often useful and with high added value.

Our analysis and our bet is, this model will eventually prevail, due to a great market demand and the solidity of the model. Moreover, Silicon Valley has proven that by putting customer data at the centre of the organization, we solve all the problems of an industry or service!

Finally, it is very likely that a regulation will be put in place on these subjects, in Europe and the United States in the next 2 or 3 years, and we must anticipate this.

Will manufacturers be able to draw inspiration from the success of Apple and Google?

That would be the start of a new era!