Polly Ashdown, Marketing & Communications Director, looks at why behaving in a more human way is a vital part of growing brands and building good customer relationships.

Preface: 20/04/20

Since publishing this blog, the world has changed dramatically, with entire countries entering strict lockdown periods and many regions operating under shelter in place instructions. The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an unprecedented impact on business and society across the globe and as a result, its never been more important to humanise your brand, as empathy in CX is more vital now than ever before. 

In this Forbes article it is noted that “The quality of customer experience (CX) defines a brand,” and by extension, we believe that behind every successful brand there is a valued support team. Our focus is now firmly on protecting our people, which is discussed in depth in one of our latest blogs. In keeping with our people first values, 7,000 of our colleagues have now been moved into home working roles to keep them safe. Through unity, commitment and passion we have achieved amazing goals over the last few weeks, and we will continue to be proactive during these challenging times.

You may have noticed it has been all change at Webhelp recently with the launch of our new brand design and vision for “making business more human” which you can read more about here.

At Webhelp, our long-term culture and business goals are specifically designed to put people first. As a result the new ‘Think Human’ identity is, for us, very much a natural extension of our company ethos. It has literally been an inside out brand transformation, bringing our public face in-line with our employee and client experience.

Check out our People First video

However, this change has prompted me to step back and reflect on the importance of humanising a brand, what the challenges might be for other organisations, for our clients and even when designing services.

And, perhaps more importantly – how customer experience can play a part in changing these perceptions?

Interestingly, as our experience shows, this is often a multi-layered and internal process – as Ant Cox, executive director of Dragon Rouge, hits the nail on the head with his comment below:

“So what does it take to humanise a brand? Given how complex human beings are, it’s not surprising that there isn’t a simple checklist, but we think there are certain principles that in combination can lead to more human brands.” Source TheDrum.Com

A core principle at Webhelp is to start any brand journey by gaining an in-depth understanding of the people being spoken to, in particular their needs, vulnerabilities, demographics and emotions.

Age can play a powerful part in this story too, and you can read about the different behaviours in society in our new Generations whitepaper. Helen Murray, Webhelp’s Chief Customer Solutions Officer, is passionate about using these trends to inform our strategy, saying:

“These results show the importance of age-based preferences and priorities. It is now clear that customer experience WILL decide the emotional connection we have with brands. We must invest in the right channels!”

By evaluating the moods, behaviour and impulses of our client’s customers, we can understand them on a deeper level and target them in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.

But understanding alone is not enough.

Speaking directly to your customer is a key humanising factor so hiring the right people can be critical. Orla Strefford Talent Attraction Manager Webhelp UK, India & South Africa explains:

“Emotions are central to engagement, and this is reflected in our recruitment process. The ideal Webhelper is articulate and passionate, with warmth and emotional intelligence. When you hire the right people, who have natural empathy and that certain ‘spark’ then humanisation is a natural outcome.”

The calibre of the people behind the brand is pivotal. They build strong relationships by creating positive experiences during the customer journey. This creates key emotional triggers to inspire loyalty, satisfaction and belonging in the client customer base.

It is hard to fake good customer experience (and why would you want to!) so to really add a ‘human-face’ to your company; your people are your best asset! Recognise and reward talent, energy and enthusiasm and turn them into believable goodwill ambassadors for your brand.

Look after your people and they will look after you.

At Webhelp we use insight and feedback from real people to build our employer value proposition. Our strategy includes focused group discussions, manager interviews, and simply listening and reacting to advisors on the front line. As Gillian Campbell, Chief People Officer UK Region & Director Global Engagement, explains:

“This endeavour is a cycle of continuous engagement, feedback and improvement, through which we identify areas for growth in the existing employee experience.”

And, as our people grow, so does our company.

We are also expanding our inclusive thinking to our industry as a whole, with our recent series of Disruptor dinners, with the most recent centred on discussion of generational factors. Our CEO for Webhelp UK, India & South Africa David Turner is enthusiastic about this knowledge sharing, saying:

“I am keen to continue the momentum in our next event on Emotional Connections. We will continue to ‘Think Human’ as this growing group of independent guests promote innovation, share fresh ideas and inspire collaboration across the sector.”

However, when seeking to become more ‘human’, many brands face a challenge to integrate their online and offline experiences. Knowing how and when to add a personal touch to create genuine emotional connections with customers can significantly increase spend and loyalty. Our expert teams can guide brands on this journey.

For more information on our Disruptor Series contact Ewan McKay (ukmarketing@webhelp.com) and click here to download our new Emotion Whitepaper