Webhelp obtient le label RSE exemplaire de l'AFNOR

Webhelp rewarded for its commitments

Webhelp obtient le label RSE exemplaire de l'AFNOR

The group obtains the highest distinction of the AFNOR label for the French region

 

Webhelp, one of the world leaders in customer relations, has obtained the label RSE Engagé with the level Exemplary issued by AFNOR for the French region.

 

This award is the result of a strong commitment, which has been driven since the creation of Webhelp by its two founders, Olivier Duha and Frédéric Jousset, by integrating the policy of corporate responsibility (CSR) at the heart of the group’s business model and strategic management.

Several criteria were evaluated by AFNOR. The organisation awarded Webhelp the highest distinction of the label, a level rarely awarded during a first evaluation, according to 4 axes:

  • The positive impact of the group’s locations on the territories: creation of jobs, new trades and new local skills.
  • Respect for employees: they are at the centre of the strategy to improve customer relations and the innovations proposed.
  • An organisation that attracts talent and ensures personal development through promotions and internal development.
  • Precise monitoring of performance via quantified commitments and monitoring dashboards covering social, economic, health and safety, quality of life at work and environmental issues.

 

Vincent Bernard, Global Chief Operating Officer, welcomes this label: “Our commitment to CSR has taken root and become stronger within the company over the years. This year, it is reflected in this 3-star rating, which rewards the commitment of everyone in the various territories where Webhelp France is present. Bravo and thank you to our employees, let’s continue together to embody our common Think Human philosophy

 

Present in 49 countries through 170 sites and 65,000 employees, Webhelp is committed to promoting the values of diversity, equality and diversity in all the territories where the group operates. The group’s commitments are structured around 4 pillars:

  • People : The group is working to create a future and career path for populations with difficult access to the labour market and to create the best possible working environment for teams, in particular through the global WebHealth program.
  • Planet : The group has implemented a policy of reducing its emissions to aim for carbon neutrality and is building a climate roadmap aligned with a 1.5°C/2°C trajectory.
  • Progress : To make market practices more ethical: in particular on data protection and corruption. Webhelp selects partner companies that respect the same rules of conduct as the group.
  • Think Human Foundation : This translates into the implementation of citizen actions in favour of education and reintegration in each of the countries where Webhelp is present, in particular through Think Human Foundation. The Group is also a signatory of the Diversity Charter and has joined the United Nations Global Compact.


KYC know your customer

Whitepaper: Using KYC to deliver competitive differentiation

KYC know your customer

Revealing why KYC is no longer just a regulatory requirement but a matter of competitive survival

The process of knowing your customer, commonly shortened to KYC, describes the actions that organisations undertake to verify the identity of their customers. Regulatory compliance is fundamental to an effective KYC operation, but it is only the start.

As brands undergo rapid and necessary digital transformation in response to COVID-19, the importance of the experience created during the KYC process must not be overlooked. From regulation to differentiation, the customer must still be at the heart of the KYC journey.

KYC processes are increasingly viewed as competitive differentiators, for both clients and consumers alike across multiple industries. KYC can be flexed to provide differentiation linked to an organisation’s broader strategy, whether that is delivering a seamless journey for customers, rapid response times or reduced cost.

In this paper, authored by Senior Account Directors Ali Fry and Virginie Raux at Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, we review the impact of new technologies, lessons learnt from other digital industries, and two key focus areas for KYC improvement activity.


social media

Webhelp Ranked Highly Across all Aspects of Social Media by Leading Analyst NelsonHall

social media

Firm announces host of analyst accolades 

Paris, France , 11 February 2021  

The leading global customer experience (CX) and business solutions provider, Webhelp has been recognized by top-ranking industry analyst, NelsonHall, for its social media capabilities. 

The firm was recognized across three core areas: customer care and sales capability; online reputation management capability; and content moderation, trust and safety capability.  

NelsonHall’s Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT), part of a “speed-to-source” initiative, enables strategic sourcing managers to assess vendors’ capabilities to identify the industry’s best performers during the sourcing selection process. The methodology specifically evaluates the quality of players’ abilities in several categories, such as technology and tools, service innovation, geographic footprint, and scalability, amongst others. 

“We are thrilled that NelsonHall has recognized our social media capabilities. Now more than ever, and in an increasingly digital world, businesses need to deliver high-quality and trustworthy customer experience interactions. Webhelp has a diverse range of digitally enabled services, which allow us to support global brands with their social media interactions and reputation and work with social media platforms and marketplaces themselves to support a safer online environment for users. We are very proud of our achievements in this space,” said Webhelp Co-Founder Olivier Duha.  

Ivan KotzevNelsonHall CX Services analyst, said:

“Webhelp’s strong performance in social media support and sales is built on a fundament of proprietary technology, channel management experience, and CX consulting capability. Notable is the company’s expertise in lead generation and sales activities on social channels, an increasing priority for brands looking to meet their customers on these channels.” 

Webhelp’s extensive capabilities and growing global footprint continue to be validated by the analyst community, with esteemed U.S.-based analyst, Gartner, naming Webhelp as a Niche Player. This builds on the analyst’s reporting of Webhelp as a Rising Star in 2019/20, as the business further establishes its reputation as an industry disrupter and credible alternative to the more traditional players in the North American market. 

These recent accolades amplify Webhelp’s current positioning by global analyst Everest Group as a Leader in Customer Experience Management (CXM) in its PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2020, as well as a Leader in its CXM in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Services PEAK Matrix, recognizing Webhelp as being particularly strong in terms of both vision and capability. The Everest Group positioning extends to a new report where Webhelp is recognized as a Major Contender in work-from-home solutions amongst other global players.  

Everest Group wrote in its WAHA (Work aHome Agent) CXM Services PEAK Matrix Assessment:

“Webhelp is driving digital transformation through cloud adoption, CX consulting, and automation by partnering with technology vendors such as Amazon Connect, MS Azure, and UiPath, utilizing their platforms as per clients requirements.” 

 


Fashion Tech – Reshaping customer experience

Fashion has always been a playground for innovation. The acceleration of fashion tech today, responds to brands’ needs to upgrade their supply chain, rethink their digital channels and relationship with customers, while boosting their sales.

Once the preserve of luxury brands, disruptive innovation is now expanding into ready-to-wear, with customer experience as its focal point, from product design to marketing.

While millennials or Gen Z customers are looking for a new connection with labels and a sense of exclusivity. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of reinventing the customer experience – with or without a physical outlet – and the need for brands to embrace change and innovation.

Fashion players ranging from LVMH – which has established its accelerator La Maison des start-ups at the heart of Station F – to fast-fashion players – all of them strive to develop the technologies that will differentiate themselves, internally or through partnerships with the latest tech start-ups.

New players, from D2C specialists to platforms, are also challenging incumbent brands. Not only by revolutionizing their products but also by offering new consumption patterns.

In this article, we have included several exciting fashion tech businesses to follow that support major fashion players reshaping their customer experience!

Product design – AI on the runway

What will be the ultimate fashion detail that all fashionistas will wear next year? Many designers would dream of having such a crystal ball. Paris-based start-up Heuritech is already collaborating with leading brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Adidas to help them capture early signals from fashion influencers and consumers. Using the power of AI and data to scan millions of social media images, the company provides a trend forecasting platform enabling brands to predict demand and trends more accurately, controlling their product launches and inventories.

Made-to-order: tailor-made clothes for everyone?

Fashion is known as one of the most resource-intensive industries in the world. As consumers demands change, sustainability, as well as personalization are notably becoming unavoidable trends for fashion brands. Hong Kong-headquartered start-up Unspun is ticking these two boxes. They create custom-fitted jeans using 3D scanning and robotics technology, collaborating with major industry players such as H&M. Customers can get a 3D scan of their body —using a phone app or an in-person Fit3D body scanner in Unspun facilities to generate their virtual customer avatar with 100,000 data points. Then, they select their desired fabric made from organic and recycled materials before Unspun uses their weaving technology, which reduces off-cut waste and delivers a unique pair of jeans.

Product discovery – Finding a needle in a haystack

While COVID has encouraged online shopping, consumers are often flooded with inspiration from social media, and might struggle to find their dream product among the overabundant online offering. Syte’s platform offers brands a first-of-its-kind product discovery platform; powered by visual AI (camera search), NLP (natural language processing), and hyper-personalization engines, claiming an average increase of 177% in the conversion rate of its clients. For instance, shoppers can upload their latest Instagram screenshots to find the closest matching product on the brand website.

Size recommendation engines – The end of fitting rooms?

With the increase in online shopping and ‘free shipping and returns’ offers; brands are consequently facing the need to minimize user returns while limiting overproduction and waste.

To improve the accuracy of original purchases, especially regarding fit, companies such as True Fit or ZyseMe are helping brands leverage their consumer data. They enable them to improve and personalize their customer’s shopping experience by guiding consumers to the products that best fit their needs and recommending the best size for them. Some brands have developed these capabilities in-house, such as Nike with Nike Fit, an app scanning shoppers’ foot to find their perfect pair of shoes.

AR and VR solutions – Replacing or augmenting in-store experience

Augmented and virtual reality solutions for retailers have improved tremendously over the last decade. While the first pilots looked like low-tech video games, they now enable brands to offer new experiences to their consumers. The start-up Obsess, which has collaborated with Dior, Diesel and Coach, enables a 360-degree VR reconstitution of flagship stores on their websites, and offers consumers a 3D e-commerce experience at home or in-store to visualize or compare products, thanks to AR. To revolutionize the in-store consumer experience, MemoMi has developed the Memory Mirror®, an augmented mirror enabling customers to try products virtually and get recommendations based on profile, style, and preference.

Supply chain – Tracing products origin and fighting counterfeiting

Following the global Fashion Revolution movement (#whomademyclothes), it has become increasingly important for brands to improve their transparency efforts.

Apps such as Clear Fashion provide consumers with a brand’s rating on criteria: environmental impact, working conditions, animal welfare, etc. Increasingly boosted by blockchain technology, these kinds of solutions improve the traceability of products from fiber to fabric, and empowers consumers to make more conscious and informed decisions.

Sweden-based TrusTrace provides traceability and sustainability solutions based on AI, Blockchain and IoT, to automate data collection from suppliers and help brands and customers understand the true cost of a product. Similarly, the Provenance platform uses blockchain certificates to verify where a product comes from and enables brands to highlight their sustainability efforts through stories for their consumers.

Needing to know a products’ origins also applies to the luxury industry as it is increasingly undermined (in terms of revenue and image) by counterfeiting. Start-up Entrupy, for example, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to authenticate products, while the French company Cypheme attaches a unique tag to each product: a simple picture makes it possible to recognize this identifier with certainty and confidence.

Among supply chain innovations: protecting the planet while limiting costs for brands is Returnity. The start-up creates custom-designed reusable packaging for e-commerce (bags and boxes guaranteed for more than 40 shipments) using recycled and reusable fabrics.

New consumption models: from clothing-as-a-service to secondary markets

When it comes to new consumption patterns, it is impossible to overlook consumers’ interest in the $40 billion worldwide second-hand fashion market, and its main players Vinted or Vestiaire Collective. To enable brands to benefit from this trend and keep their customers engaged, Reflaunt offers brands an intuitive platform to connect to second-hand marketplaces. This enables shoppers to resale past purchases on the brand’s website and earn shopping credits.

Interestingly, the growth of the online clothing rental market, which could reach $1.9 billion by the end of 2023, is being watched by retailers. Start-ups such as the Berlin-based RE-NT, the American CaaStle, or the French Lizee, provide brands with white label e-commerce and logistics solutions to easily set up their clothing rental platforms.

The list of new fashion tech players obviously doesn’t stop here. This is only a small sample of what’s out there!


Webhelp created The Nest to work hand-in-hand with the startups that will shape tomorrow’s business landscape. This program dedicated to fast growing companies supports them in their customer experience development, through a dedicated approach enabling them to scale-up their CX dream team, quickly and simply.

In parallel, we collaborate with our community of startups and tech players around CX themes, through exclusive workshops, also offering them mentoring and business development opportunities throughout our partnership.

Author

 

 

Andréa-Lou Laffitte

Group Program Manager

The Nest by Webhelp

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Want to learn more about how you can transform your brand using technology?

Register now for our upcoming fashion webinar.



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Content Management

Americans distrust tech companies to moderate content online

Where do we draw the line between freedom of speech and allowing misinformation to be broadcasted online?

Content moderation is crucial for social platforms to ensure a trustworthy relationship with their users. Without moderators, billions of social media users would be shown potential harmful content every day.

Government control – trusting the system

There are many nuances of user generated content, and there are concerns that governments will take control over the content posted on media platforms, removing the platforms purpose of sharing content freely (within the guidelines).

For example, the U.S. Government signed new laws to ban social media platform TikTok – which has over 80 million daily users in the U.S. The platform has since won a preliminary injunction that will allow for the app to be used and downloaded from the U.S app store.

This precedent shows that if the government had more control, they would be quick to implement such regulations on these platforms. It is unlikely to happen as political figures use social media platforms to connect with their constituents, communicate their views, and advocate for political campaigns.

Free Speech vs Content Moderation?

According to Gallup and Knight Foundation survey, “55% of Americans say that social media companies are not tough enough, with only 25% saying they get it right”.
For instance, Trump’s behaviors and actions on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms, have allowed communicating harmful propaganda which can influence political views and undermine election campaigns. As well as provoke/incite violence by sharing false and deceptive information to the public which we have witnessed during his election campaign in 2020, and more recent events at the US Capitol with Trump supporters.

The violent storming of the US Capitol led to the big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook suspending Donald Trump from using the platform due to his alleged role in inciting violence and sharing misinformation; with many other players permanently banning him from their platforms. The platform Parler, which has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, was taken off major service providers app stores as they accused the platform of failing to police violent content.

After Trump’s 12-hour ban was lifted on Twitter, he continued to violate their policy. They concluded that his tweets during the incident was against their Glorification of Violence policy and left them with no choice but to permanently suspend his account.

To give multiple chances to an individual with this level of influence, users continue to express their views that big tech companies are being taken for a ride and not doing enough to stop the virality of content. Consequently, this has resulted in people not trusting the platforms’ moderation policies and algorithms to display authentic, unbiased content efficiently.

Trusting the system

Controversially, US online intermediaries are under no legal obligation to monitor content, “social media companies are under no legal obligation to monitor harmful speech, and governments can’t really make them or compel them to offer things like counter speech without running into First Amendment roadblocks”, Forbes, 2020.

Section 230 – a constitution act for Americans which protects the freedom of expression. In comparison to other countries, the U.S. Section 230 provides online platforms with immunity for legal reprimands with few exceptions, “they can avoid liability, and object to regulation as they claim to be editors of speech” outlined in Section 230(c)(1). There are many caveats and exceptions – particularly when it comes to interpreting images and videos.

Therefore, when it comes to accountability, this legislation has limitations to hold online intermediaries liable for user generated content on their platforms. It does not establish what is considered tortious speech, harmful or misleading information. Rather, big tech companies are left to outline this in their policies; to do the right thing by their users.

Moderating content

Early last year, Twitter introduced new labels on Tweets containing “synthetic and manipulated media”, likewise Facebook created labels that flagged harmful or unverified information.
Although these companies continue to introduce new tools to highlight harmful content, it is important for moderators to have the correct tools and expertise to moderate sensitive content and not solely rely on technology to do this. Without the right guidance and principles, misinformation and propaganda will manage to fall through the cracks.

Lear more about our Digital Services, or contact us to find out more.

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Why fashion businesses need to move from channel-first to customer-first

For years, consumer brands have promoted omnichannel strategies as a ‘Holy Grail’ for attracting and retaining customers. Many believe that integrating sales, communications and tech platforms is a magic wand for generating sales and improving customer lifetime value.

But with bricks-and-mortar retail suffering and direct online sales skyrocketing, those who have succeeded in managing demand effectively were not necessarily those who implemented full-scale re-platforming and omnichannel transformations but those who had a real understanding of their customers.

We have seen many brands – mainly medium-sized businesses – feel pressured into implementing or scaling e-commerce functionality as a way of pivoting around retail closures and lockdowns caused by COVID-19. There was panic and reaction – businesses scrambled to implement e-commerce strategies and manage influxes of online orders, as well as an exponential rise in customer service requests across multiple languages and time zones.

In our experience of working with over 50 global fashion brands, those who are most successful adopt a customer-first mindset. Using the same laser-focus that they use in their designs to identify exactly what their customer needs and pain points are. There’s little debate – companies which are market or customer-focused are more profitable and enjoy better sales growth, customer retention and product success. That’s according to the renowned global marketer John Narver.

By adopting a customer-first approach, brands can ensure that any digital solution will meet customer needs. Fashion businesses often have an intrinsic understanding of their consumer – and have a real opportunity to truly connect with customers, understand their needs, and get ahead on the service proposition behind any future digital offer.

We see this play out within strategic, digital-first brands such as ASOS, which traded around 35% higher year-on-year after combining an understanding of customers with a slick digital platform. In the 2021 State of Fashion report, McKinsey gives further hope, claiming that there will be another 20% annual digital growth during 2021.

What does a truly customer-first approach look like in practice?

With 3,000 professionals serving the fashion industry, we have seen that firms which marry customer understanding, data and analytics, see the best successes in maximizing brand profile, customer experience, and profits.

Most often, fashion brands come to us with the following needs in developing a customer-first approach:

1. Really get to know the customer – You wouldn’t design ranges for a customer you didn’t understand, and the same goes for designing service. Forget any assumptions you have made about your target customers, which can lead to a lack of understanding and a swathe of false and risky beliefs, which can be a fast-track way to waste money.

Data drives better decision-making, and the most advanced brands access millions of data points collected in real-time from across the whole industry – not just their businesses – to inform the next steps.

This approach also helps solve another problem we often see in fashion – where C-level directors and business owners are not close to the critical customer data and insights collected by less senior colleagues. Leveraging this data effectively will enable businesses to become far better informed and make more intuitive, proactive, and predictive decisions.

Armed with data, you can then create personas built on facts, enabling you to build better customer relationships and personalize experiences based on real insights about their preferences, behaviors, and purchases.

2. Understand the opportunities in your customer journey – In an increasingly complex sales environment, many brands need help mapping out the entire customer journey. Visualizing the current experience through the end-to-end process, from attraction to selection, retention, and upselling. This will help you identify areas that can be streamlined and opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.

3. Re-write what customer service means – Move the contact center from being a cost center to a profit center that reflects your brand values through positive customer experiences while supporting sales.

The smartest firms free up service teams to help customers to buy, not solve problems. This involves automating the maximum number of routine transactions and inquiries, enabling people to engage in personalized 1:1 conversations.

It also means listening to customers and giving them what they want. In a globalized industry like fashion, if someone wants to buy a handbag at 3 am, let them do that. Or, if they’ve purchased a jumper from a collection – show them the rest of the matching collection or items that are seen with that look to ‘shop the outfit.’

For fast-growing firms, it can be challenging to recruit high-caliber customer service professionals to support these sales experiences effectively, particularly at scale. In our experience, the most advanced fashion brands tap into existing hubs comprising multilingual, trained call handlers to quickly achieve scale and ensure the highest standards.

4. Ensure organizational and operational support – Shifting to a customer-first approach is a strategic move that needs to be supported operationally within your business. You will need to scale, transform, and ramp up rapidly and efficiently to support customer demand. You may need support in changing your organizational structure.

5. Optimize commercials – While we strongly advocate putting the customer first, there’s one caveat – it has to be commercially viable. Many firms need to balance their brand promise, meeting customers’ needs, and ensuring they make a profit.

For some, shifting to e-commerce has not been a lifeline pivot – it’s increased the cost to serve significantly. We help brands to develop a commercial strategy, which might include having to say no.

6. Create a frictionless user experience – Customers have high expectations and demand a quick, slick, frictionless experience. Nearly half of us won’t wait even three seconds for a website page to load, according to Dynatrace, which monitors IT performance. Eliminate poor websites, glitches, payment issues, and bugs within apps to minimize frustrations and retain people on-site for as long as possible to maximize spend.

7. Future-proof solutions to avoid a constant cycle of change – Without care, digital offerings can become an area where you can waste money in rapid time.

In previous roles, I’ve seen firms spend millions on IT platforms that become obsolete almost the moment they’re finished because the industry is moving so fast. Another common issue is brands that implement technology for technology’s sake.

There is never a good time for a ‘white elephant’ IT project. But now, with all the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, it’s a particularly bad time to drain your business’s time, money, and team morale.

By implementing a customer-focused technology approach, you can deliver a digitized solution that saves not only time, effort, and money – but also positions you ahead of the competition for business growth.

Thinking customer-first helps you invest in the areas where you and your customers will derive the most value. Not only will this enable you to be both more effective and efficient in delivering your customer experience, with some irony, it’s probably also the best way to give the optimum omnichannel experience in the long term.

Atif Rashid

Solutions Director – Transformation

Gobeyond Partners (part of the Webhelp Group)

Fashion Subject Matter Expert

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The timeless ways fashion businesses can maximize growth

It’s no secret that the fashion industry has endured one of the most challenging trading years in its history due to COVID-19, with shop closures and the seismic shift from bricks and mortar stores to digital selling.

In fact, the 2021 McKinsey State of Fashion report talks of a ‘Darwinian’ shakeout of firms that were weak before the pandemic, while stronger players will be emboldened.

In our experience, supporting the growth of 50 global fashion brands, we see that the strongest firms are evolving their service centers into profit-making entities, geared towards supercharging customer satisfaction while systematically driving up sales – not just solving problems.

Many of the world’s largest fashion brands recognize that customer experience isn’t their raison d’être. They understand they can benefit from external expertise to help them solve critical challenges in this area – such as spotting trends and patterns in data, shifting to new technologies, or engaging always-on, skilled, flexible, and multilingual teams which are passionate about delivering excellence for brands.

These leaders who had the foresight to see that their customer service teams were an asset in waiting are also the same leaders working with us to redeploy skilled people from solving problems to driving sales.

And so, in the middle of a strategic and fundamental business transformation, during a global pandemic, they can remain laser-focused on their core mission – creating the very best clothing collections for customers.

It could be like this for every fashion business. There is still enormous strategic and commercial opportunity to reposition customer service and experience, not as a ‘nice to have,’ but as a function that adds real value to customers and brands’ profitability.

For example, we re-engineered and digitized the customer service center of a luxury fashion client. This resulted in 50% of contacts being deflected into automatable digital channels and a 26% reduction in inquiries tracking orders. We also eliminated warranty claims, which had driven 40% of references to the center.

Operational efficiencies rarely ever hit the headlines – but at a watershed moment for the fashion industry, we believe these numbers can spell the difference between success and failure.

So, what’s new?

The pandemic super-charged online shopping, with e-commerce’s share of fashion sales almost doubling in eight months – from 16% to 29% globally, according to McKinsey’s 2021 State of Fashion report.

But with technology developing at pace, simply having the right platforms isn’t enough. The report also discusses the urgent need to give customers the best possible service and experience at a time that could still make or break scores of fashion businesses.

Three features for optimal customer service and experience:

1) Ability to deliver rapid change – Global fashion brands realized they couldn’t deliver rapid strategic change at scale – so they outsourced scalability projects to Webhelp. In return, they got immediate access to a multilingual team of 3,000 skilled and flexible colleagues who deliver a diverse range of customer services, leaving brands to focus on what they do best.

For example, when delivery problems suddenly hit Greece on Black Friday, we used our proprietary talent selection approach to help one global brand source skilled multilingual expert team members, who managed everything from an influx of customer service inquiries problems with logistics and deliveries. This agile approach created a flexible workforce that could optimize service during challenging market conditions in the lucrative run-up to Christmas.

2) Commitment to turn cost centers into profit centers – The smartest brands invest in automation technologies to help customers ‘self-serve’ problems online. For example, one fashion client recently introduced chatbots as part of a customer journey redesign and saw the average order value rise by 20% and customer engagement rocket from 2% to 30%.

This approach frees up agents to engage in personalized conversations with customers, aimed at showcasing options and increasing sales.

3) Deliver customer experiences led by multimedia, and interactive content – Digital traffic to the websites in the top 100 European brands surged by 45% in April last year compared with the previous month, according to McKinsey.

Simply providing a flat, copy-led website won’t be enough when brand leaders are using tech to push the boundaries of customer experience:

Video – When Shanghai Fashion Week went virtual and was live-streamed last year, it drew 11 million viewers with $2.75m worth of clothing and accessories sold directly to consumers. In China, live stream revenues hit $138bn last year due to lockdown – up from $63bn the year before. Meanwhile, in the US – live stream revenues are forecast to reach $25bn by 2023.

Brands like Zara experiment with video – customers who buy via their app can create a personalized video to send with a gift from the store.

Social media – Social media platforms – particularly Instagram – have configured their apps in a way that allows customers to buy direct from stores without leaving third-party sites. This marked a significant boost for fashion companies, which effectively gained another sales channel.

Brands should also continue to maintain strong conversations and relationships with customer communities via traditional platform activity. Again, advanced firms often trust us to deploy 800 people, speaking 20+ languages to manage this – with high rankings from NelsonHall – one of the world’s leading analysts in this area.

Technology – We also see several fashion brands racing to offer or improve existing online sizing tools to maximize customer satisfaction and reduce the massive amount of over-ordering and returns. Consumers have also shown significant interest in scan technology – typically smartphone apps that carry out 3D-body scans and supply accurate measurements to make online clothes shopping more manageable. An obvious example is ASOS’s See My Fit tool, a big hit with its customers.

Also, augmented reality (AR) continues to advance. For example, Dior has embedded AR filters within Snapchat to enable customers to ‘try on’ sneakers, hats, and other accessories. Meanwhile, Burberry’s AR shopping tool lets customers ‘embed’ or 3D-view products within their environment.

There’s no doubt that transforming customer service from a cost to a profit center marks another significant challenge for fashion businesses. But in a cut-throat market, the bravest course of action for many fashion businesses could be to work with partners who can help them reach their potential in 2021 and beyond.

Marta Lopez

Chief Commercial Officer,

Spain and China

Global Fashion Sector Lead

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Daugavpils

Webhelp to launch content moderation services in new office in Daugavpils, Latvia: 55 people are already in training

February 1st 2021

Webhelp, a leading global customer experience and business solutions provider, is opening an office in Daugavpils, Latvia, to support a new global client with content moderation services.
Right now, 55 people are in training and Webhelp is recruiting more new team members during spring.
We have chosen Daugavpils based on the great local talent, the city’s geographical location, support from the local institutions and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, as well as our great cooperation with Daugavpils University.” said Janis Misans, MD Webhelp Latvia.

Webhelp is keen to contribute to Daugavpils’ economic development and the broader Latgale region while offering professional services support to international and local clients, leveraging our global network and extensive experience. Together with Webhelp’s office in Riga, the Daugavpils office will enable Webhelp to create a cohesive service network and further strengthen our service capabilities for the region.

Igors Prelatovs, Chariman of Daugavpils Council, stated:

Daugavpils municipality highly appreciates the cooperation with LIAA, as a result of which an international company Webhelp has started operating in our city.

It is a great opportunity for young, motivated citizens to start their careers in their hometown. As the company is located on the premises of Daugavpils University, it makes it easier for employees to combine their studies with the work.

We are proud that Daugavpils has been chosen as the company’s location and that the people of Daugavpils are competitive for the international labor market.

I wish great success for Webhelp’s plans in Daugavpils so that the company can thrive and evolve, and continue to offer new job opportunities to young people in Daugavpils and the surrounding area.

Making business more human for the world’s most exciting brands

We live in an era of fast connectivity and AI. Today, human experiences have even more power to make businesses come to life in customers’ hearts and minds.

Webhelp is committed to making business more human.

It’s through this commitment that Webhelp enriches customer experience, and designs business solutions that create value for the world’s most exciting companies.

Webhelp is a partner across a range of services including customer experience solutions, social media content moderation through to payment services.

Hundreds of brands across the world trust Webhelp because of their people, the culture they work in, and the ideas and technology they put to work.

By choosing Webhelp they access the passion and experience of 65 000 game-changers from more than 150 locations in 50 countries. Each one determined to bring their own intelligence, empathy and experience to the table every day.

Webhelp is the European leader in their industry, with a revenue of €1,5B in 2019, and aims for a global leadership position.

Webhelp is currently owned by its management and GBL, a leading global investment holding, as of November 2019.

More information can be found at www.webhelp.com

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Janis Misans, MD Webhelp Latvia
janis.misans@webhelp.com
+37167224437
Ida Naper, Nordic Director of Communications
ida.naper@webhelp.com
+4793673123


Three top tips for de-risking your fashion brand's B2B channel

If ever any sector has demonstrated a determination to survive and thrive through adversity, it’s fashion.

COVID-19 has hit the $2.5 trillion fashion industry hard – forcing the closure of stores across the globe and hitting revenue by around 30% year-on-year in 2020.

The pandemic also triggered a rapid and urgent acceleration of e-commerce, omnichannel selling, and digitization, with omnichannel shoppers spending at least 34% more than their offline counterparts, according to The State of Fashion 2020 by McKinsey.

Meanwhile, the B2B fashion sector – including wholesalers, resellers, and e-shops – has also gained a renewed criticality: the opportunity to sell hundreds of thousands of items in bulk and keep inventory (AKA cash) moving has never been more vital.

In total, 82% of businesses fail because of poor management of cash flow. So, for all the consumer-facing tech in the world, getting paid on time by using the correct business processes and human interactions remains the best way to ensure cash flow and financial stability in the long term.

The fashion brands that will excel tend to see COVID-19 as a catalyst to manage risk – ramping up resilience planning and reviewing and adapting payment strategies ahead of new restrictions and consumer shifts.

But many executives tell us they are exhausted after an unforgiving year. They recognize that now is the time to focus on their core business – adding value and supporting competitive advantage.

Our team of 3,000 professionals speaks 25 languages and serves 50 of the world’s leading fashion brands operating in 35 countries. This includes providing outsourced credit management services for the wholesale channel from our regional hubs.

By removing these immediate pressures quickly, brands can achieve a rapid return on investment. This combination of human expertise and technology is key to success.

In our experience there are three keyways for fashion firms to balance their positioning, profitability, and cash flow managing their wholesale channel:

1) Build secure relationships using data – At a time of unprecedented risk of collapses within wholesale and retail, mid-tier firms must use data to drive robust decision-making on risk management, pricing, and payment strategy.

Many brands currently use a mix of credit insurance, external financial scoring, and access to their data to underpin strategies. But many of these methods are no longer sufficient or fit for purpose, at a time when guarantee coverage is low and trading conditions can change almost by the hour.

We manage relationships with 35,000 points of sale worldwide to collect live data from across the fashion industry, analyze the numbers, and report back anonymized data to clients every day to inform their decision-making. We collate these insights about potential risks into our screening processes, analyze client’s retail portfolios, make real-time recommendations (payment methods, payment terms, etc.) to enable everyone to make quick and robust decisions to develop safe business practice.

This enables brands to gain much better visibility and insight to protect themselves proactively from potential payment issues which may arise in the future.

There is no way to completely remove risk from any business, but prevention is better than cure, and the more insight you have about buyers, the better you can protect and adapt your business.

2) Support Global Growth – The wholesale fashion industry has shifted from 5% online to 30% online. As such, brands are managing an increasing number of sales channels, including multi-brand and department stores, resellers, and e-shops.

This rapid change is compounded by an increase in the level of complexity faced by fashion businesses when developing their buyer network across multiple regions and channels – all with different laws, rules, systems, languages, processes, and payment terms. Without care and engaging with numerous industry stakeholders, it’s easy to be caught out – for example, making mistakes on declarations, invoices, or process implementations, which your client would recharge to you.

To get this right, you either need to create your multinational multi-skilled team or tap into an existing network of professionals who understand and advise on navigating regional customs, payment methods, specific channel processes, and interdependencies within a fragmented and complex landscape of countries and clients’ specificities. Experts can also help you to implement new systems and procedures covering all new and existing trading areas.

3) Negotiate payment terms – It has perhaps never been so attractive for brands to optimize trade with wholesale buyers – selling hundreds of thousands of pieces in a single transaction.

But like D2C, the B2B fashion industry is also facing new risks.

First, there is a financial squeeze, as retailers who urgently need to add a mark-up and ensure profits urge wholesalers to seek discounts.

Then there’s an increased credit risk. Before the pandemic, the majority of fashion brands relied upon credit insurance to protect their stock and profits, knowing that insurers would indemnify them in case of clients’ payments default. But since COVID-19, insurers have dropped the level of coverage by around a third – putting much more orders at risk.

Without careful management, this combination of discounts, together with significant falls in consumer spending on apparel and reduced cover, could result in massive inventory build-ups.

Fortunately, it has been recognized that ‘one issue affects all’ – in an industry as interconnected as fashion, and stakeholders have worked collaboratively to implement a pragmatic response.

Many key resellers and wholesalers have increased payment terms from 30-60 days, which mid-tier fashion brands have widely accepted. Meanwhile, the bounce rate on payments has remained relatively steady at around 1%, despite all the challenges.

It is vital that fashion brands recognize this measured approach in any discussions with B2B buyers and negotiate terms in a way that offers a win-win on financial security for buyer and supplier.

We worked on behalf of a global US luxury fashion brand to manage relationships with 1,500 of its wholesale clients, and implement new payment systems.

As a result, the brand increased sales by over 5,000% over 12 years.

It has also ensured that the brand stays ahead of the curve with its omnichannel strategy and digital transformation.

We recommend engaging a team of professionals focused on providing end-to-end credit management services, from order to cash, to support your domestic and international markets. This includes matching your sales and finance strategies, automating financial processes whenever possible, transforming fixed costs into variable costs, negotiating payment terms, brokering the best credit insurance, and collecting receivables as quickly as possible to ensure cash flow.

This combination of people, processes, and tools will enable you to remove a significant amount of hassle, set the right levels of risk to boost a sustainable business, and secure your sales using best practices in credit management.

Looking ahead

The fashion industry went through a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges in 2020. But the hard truth is that 2021 is set to be just as tricky, with a likely global recession and the continued fallout from COVID-19.

Brands that balance their positioning, profitability, and cash flow will be best placed to realize the potential of brighter days ahead.

Axel Mouquet

President & Chief Executive Officer

Webhelp Payment Services

Global Fashion Sector Lead

Talk to us today

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Webhelp

Alliance Manchester Business School partners with Webhelp to boost tech offering

  • Partnership will provide graduate MBA recruitment and internship opportunities for students
  • Collaboration will drive research in areas including AI, automation, analytics and robotics

Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) has embarked on a strategic partnership with Webhelp, a leading global customer experience and business solutions provider, to pursue collaborative research projects and create new recruitment pathways for students.

Webhelp enriches customer experience and designs business solutions that create value for the world’s most exciting companies; for instance, they run customer service for a number of UK retailers, and technical support for one of the world’s leading tech firms. They partner across a range of services, from customer experience solutions and social media moderation to payment services. The business also provides management consultancy through Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group, which works with clients to solve their complex customer journey challenges.

The collaboration will support Webhelp on the next stage of its growth journey by providing access to world-class research and academic expertise, an enhanced people development programme, and recruitment opportunities. Gobeyond Partners will drive research programmes and collaborative analytics programmes in partnership with key clients and AMBS.

For AMBS, the new partnership will see senior executives from Webhelp guest lecture at AMBS and provide industry insight into potential new programmes. The two organisations will also collaborate on joint research with a specific focus on AI, automation, analytics, robotics, DevOps, and API development. Webhelp will provide University of Manchester students, graduates and alumni career opportunities through its global career service portal.

Professor Fiona Devine, Head of Alliance Manchester Business School, said: “As a business school, we are keen to support high-growth businesses and our focus on digital futures, innovation, organisational excellence, and supporting the development of people aligns with that of Webhelp. We want to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with key players in the industry. So when Webhelp came to us, it was clear that they were trying to achieve something that played to our strengths.

“We are proud that our research-focused approach is enabling us to develop relationships that not only benefit the school and the education we provide to students, but one that has a longer-term impact by creating job opportunities for graduates at all levels, as well as our alumni.”

David Turner, Webhelp UK CEO, added: “Forging a partnership with an establishment like Alliance Manchester Business School will positively shape the future of our business. Alliance MBS has an outstanding reputation, but the most important thing for our people-first business was making sure our organisations were culturally the right fit to work together.

“The relationship will drive new opportunities for our people and our clients, as well as recruitment opportunities for promising graduates. We’re looking forward to fostering a genuine cooperation through which we can mutually learn and inspire each other.”

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