On my travels, Germany is becoming one of my most frequented destinations, the Ruhrgebiet region in particular over the past 12 months.  Although it is only 90 minutes from my home in the Netherlands, it feels like a completely new world to me. I would travel the 90 minutes for the coffee alone.

I make the journey  on the  Autobahn and as I cut through the  countryside, I consider the German outsource market.

Germany is a powerhouse in the European field of customer care. As the largest market in Europe it holds a strong attraction to all international players in the BPO sector. It is also a very tough market to break into as several players have found when entering this market. In the past 3 – 4 years we tested the waters several times, but only this year did we decide the time was right to enter the market.

The well-known Germanic direct style is a breath of fresh air to me and when we combine this with tested and tried production skills; our venture into Germany starts to feel really exciting.

The main hurdle faced in Germany is the tough, price-based competition. The German market has evolved in a way which is very different to other European BPO destinations such as France and the UK. The difference is characterised by the lack of high volume offshore capabilities in addition to weak nearshore options in Eastern Europe due to the limited volume of German speakers and the reluctance of German consumers to accept off and nearshore provision. The result is a strong focus on efficiency and low costs throughout the German ecosystem of domestic suppliers. Relatively low margins, compared to other markets, has increased the pressure on salaries and seen a reduction in investment in new thinking and technology.

There would be little value in Webhelp entering the market on the same basis; instead we are leading with an investment in people. Our starting point is to show our people respect in what can be a tough job.  We pay above market rates for advisors, have attractive and tailored benefit packages and give them an engaging place to work in a bid to create a team that is up to the tough challenges that we face in Germany. In so doing we have created a highly motivated employee, which in turn has given  us the opportunity to work with our clients on more result- oriented commercial models clients. This is allowing us to make the head room for investments in transformation and therefore we can add value beyond just the provision of services and drive customer experience improvements.

Our new facility in Dortmund embodies our pioneering spirit and brings to life our intention to be a little bit different. We hope this will be our  ticket to success.

I love taking these rides, I enjoy my time to think about what’s next and perhaps more so, I look forward to finding a new ”Kaffee” every time I return.

These views are my own and do not reflect that of The Webhelp Group.