Peak Voices Part 2: Increased Service Demand in South Africa

A demand peak in Customer Service Management is expected during Black Friday, the festive season and beyond. In the second part of our South African colleagues from Engagement, Operations and Learning and Development teams at the heart of delivery for clients, share their enthusiasm,  highlights and experience as they support customers during one of the busiest times of the year.

Justine Appolis

To keep energy levels up during this busy time we created 200 hype boxes, to be delivered to our colleagues who are currently working from home. Plus, our office based employees will be getting a sugar rush, games, lots of prizes to be won and recognition throughout the period.

I think my favourite moments from previous peaks have to be The Catwalk we held in the canteen and playing ‘spin the wheel’ with colleagues.

This year is a bit different, as my usual advice would be to wear comfortable shoes! But with Social Distancing many interactions will be virtual.

To me Black Friday is about shopping and getting value for money!  At peak I love the atmosphere, the energy and most importantly recognising our people who are serving our customers.

Faiz Osman

We come prepared for every peak!  I use the previous peak to anticipate delivery and to have adequate trainer resource ready to support our advisors.

Learning and Development is focused on giving people opportunities and this is what creates excitement in our space. Highlights are hard to pin down as every year the demand is much greater but it is always very exciting.

New personalities, a set of fresh eyes and most of all subject matter experts from the Operational space all add flavour to the training experience we provide.

Recently we have been delivering Induction Training and internal change requests are always coming through! However, I can honestly say that variation is always great. And, it has been fantastic to see how our Accredited trainers deliver across the new platforms.

A key lesson I have learned would be never under estimate the power of technology. Also – never underestimate the power of working together across all departments. Having all stakeholders around the table every week made a significant difference to the previous Peak 2019 delivery.

Plus, giving a trainer a camera and delivering from home has definitely brought the blended learning approach to the Learning and Development department.

Every peak is unique based on the training requirements. But this peak is different in that COVID has definitely accelerated our outputs to deliver the same level of Induction Training, but still conforming to social distancing regulations.

During Black Friday the Learning and Development Team supports operations, whether it is taking calls, supporting or managing teams.

Finally, I love the adrenalin rush and the hype of just supporting our customers.  

Mathew Carolissen

To get ready for this peak we analysed our previous customer contact channels and optimised our digital platforms to ensure that the customer experience will be a smooth and effective journey.

By focusing on user skill sets, we have realigned our resources to ensure the most benefit for our client. Aiming for an exceptional peak by giving attention to the skills of our people and putting them in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time.

Based on my experience, the highlight of peak is always the amount of unity that is experienced during this time, not only within the campaign itself but within the organisation.

Operations is usually a very interactive space however during peak everyone seems even more engaged and there are so many initiatives and activities that encourage us to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

I believe there are always lessons to be learned through every period of change, and we have all worked hard to make each peak better year after year. This is possible due to the partnership we have with our client and also our collaborative approach to process improvements and change implementation to optimise the delivery and capacity for customer experience.

In our space, Black Friday means the start of peak, the beginning of an extremely busy and important time of the year where we need to ensure that we are providing quality customer experiences and influencing their issues positively more than ever with the stretched capacity of all work streams.

What I love most about peak is the energy and spirit that is felt throughout the period. There is an infectious sense of high energy and positivity.

We hope you have enjoyed this insight into how peak works at Webhelp, find out more in part 1 of this series, with voices from our Team Leaders, Facilitators and the Engagement and Project Teams.


Black Friday, the retail rush in the COVID era

Black Friday is an American consumer institution, where hordes of shoppers traditionally lined the streets waiting for the stores to open the day after Thanksgiving to pick up what they hope will be the bargain of a lifetime. In recent years Black Friday, closely followed by Cyber Monday, has heralded the global festive shopping rush. Here Brandon Aitken, CCO of Webhelp South Africa and India takes a look at how this year may be different, and the ways which our teams and the retail and logistics industries as a whole are preparing to meet an unprecedented online demand.

In the mainstream media, Black Friday is typically represented by crowded scenes of over-excited and frustrated shoppers, fighting it out for that last item on the shelf and stealing items from each other’s trolleys. But in reality, a huge amount retail activity takes place online, and this figure has been steadily growing.

According to Adobe, in 2019 US Black Friday online sales beat all previous records, at an astonishing $7.4bn, up from $6.2bn in 2018. CNBC reported that Cyber Monday was an even bigger day for online shopping than Black Friday, with sales totalling $9.2bn, up 16.9% on 2018.[1]

And, Barclaycard data reveals that the story was the same in the UK too, with Black Friday sales climbing by 16.5% last year, while Cyber Monday transactions rose by 6.9%. Their CEO Rob Cameron said:

“Our data shows that consumers have not only been buying more, but also spending more than last year – which will no doubt come as welcome news to the retail sector”[2]

It doesn’t take a huge leap to imagine that in 2020, Black Friday will drive even more customers onto their phones, tablets and laptops, as companies attempt to avoid crowded in-store events, to safeguard their customers in the COVID era, without losing retail sales.

With the global high-street restrictions still impacting on brick and mortar profits, a successful Black Friday via online channels is something all retailers will be hoping for.

At Webhelp, we are well prepared for this event. We have a highly successful track record of managing Peak Demand in customer service for the international retail and logistics brands we support. Behind the scenes, this success hinges on an incredible amount of preparation and hard work from our people and of course close collaboration with our clients. If you’d like to know more you can read just a few of our employee stories

We have four customer service centres in SA, offering a blended delivery solution with advisors both working from home and safely on site.  Every year, leading up to the peak period and during the ‘eye of the storm’ we create an exciting atmosphere to support and motivate our people during the toughest time of their working year. We focus on motivation and ensure we reward people for their hard work.

Along with the energy and commitment of our people; technology and adaptability will obviously play a huge part in any response to increased service demands, and have a robust and reliable solution that has performed well both at peak and under crisis during COVID.

Webhelp has over 1,000 people working from home supporting 8 different international retail and logistics clients to ensure we are able to sustain support for their customers, and this can be adjusted in response to the evolving landscape of the pandemic.

The skills and expertise that our teams have shown in quickly reacting to changing customer demands really does set us apart and is reflected in the incredible feedback that we have received from our client partners. Commenting on our joint response to the pandemic Michaela Simpson, Customer Experience Director at Yodel reported that:

 “Suddenly home shopping habits changed completely, as a result we have been effectively running at peak operation, which we usually spend a significant part of the year planning and laying out logistics for. However, we managed to switch this on in just a few hours and since then we have maintained very, very high numbers, well above our plan”.

It’s clear that this year, more than usual, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will create added pressures for the retail and logistics sectors, but in South Africa we have the talent and a stable infrastructure to help create success for our clients by providing their customers with an exceptional on-line shopping experience.

[1] Cyber Monday sales hit record $9.4 billion, Adobe says CNBC.com

[2] Black Friday 2019: What happened, where and why? Barclaycard.com


Peak Voices Part 1: Increased Service Demand in South Africa

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

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

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

Ismail Jattiem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 - blog

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

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

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

Liam Jacobs

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

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

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

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

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

Clinton Van Stade

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

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

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

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

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


Automotive distance selling framework: building a successful sales strategy

Webhelp sector experts Carole Rousseau, Business Unit Director Travel, Leisure, Automotive & Mobility, and Stéphane Chavatte, Account Director, share their insights into the current traction automotive distance selling is gaining in France.

What is the current performance of outsourced automotive online sales?

Webhelp’s observation is in a distance selling framework, the average monthly turnover exceeds €400k per advisor. Admittedly, this figure benefited slightly from a “Covid effect” but we are making this observation with a decline of several years.

We now have 7 years of experience in automotive distance selling, in which we have reached a certain maturity. We have developed operational intelligence and best practices to achieve a successful sales model that is part of a triple win logic: our client, ourselves, but above all, the sales advisors.

These sales advisors who manage to sell 1.5 vehicles every day, on average – which is beyond the sales figure of a salesperson in an agency.

Provided that a satisfactory customer experience is put in place, and in particular a perfect fluidity between the online sales site and the call center agents, these performances lead us to believe that automotive VAD has found a promising outsourcing model, which we must now take advantage of.

What sales services can be outsourced in this way?

Webhelp supports a multitude of players in the automotive and mobility sector: large manufacturers, players in new markets, or operators of new mobility via our two major automotive hubs based in Vitré in France and Braga in Portugal.

Our services cover the sale of new, 0km vehicles, and used vehicles online; considering the range of existing financing services using inbound calls, leads (hot and nursing), and portfolio management.

The placement of financing products is becoming increasingly important in the sale of vehicles. Our teams have successfully built confidence in sales with considerable finance turnover rates.

What are the new challenges of automotive VAD?

To summarize, I would cite 3 trends that support the development of automotive distance selling:

  1. The arrival of intermediaries to historic manufacturers agents: who offer used, new and 0 kilometer vehicles. These agents need to equip themselves with a network that allows them to cover the whole country for logistics purposes, while the historic players need to rationalize their distribution network, often colossal, to remain competitive.
  2. The explosion of shared mobility and alternative modes: leasing, rental, valet services, alternative means of transport (Blablacar, Uber, Lime, etc.). The automobile is in the process of leaving the ‘owner’ model, especially for the younger generations.
  3. The shift towards online automotive sales: for example, a large national manufacturer which has recently entrusted us with developing the performance of its online sales site. In consultation with our teams, improvements and technological bricks will be added to increase traffic on their site, optimize the customer journey and increase the conversion rate.

Related article:


Webhelp signs partnership with Allente

STOCKHOLM November 5th 2020

Allente has chosen Webhelp for the delivery of customer experience solutions including customer service, contact center platform and solution design for Canal Digital.

Allente, the merger between Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, is offering high quality satellite TV and broadband TV solutions to 1,2 million customers throughout the Nordics.

Since 2010, Webhelp, a global leader in customer experience and business solutions, and Allente’s brand Viasat Consumer have developed a strong partnership of resilient and commercially successful customer service operations.

Webhelp is now adding Allente’s Canal Digital customer services for the Swedish market to its substantial portfolio of Nordic TV/Media clients.

Webhelp will deliver the Canal Digital customer service on behalf of Allente through a best-shoring operation located in Kalmar, Sweden, in Malaga and Alicante, Spain, as well as through advisors working from home. The recruitment of new team members has just started.

Victor Sundén, Chief Commercial Officer at Webhelp Nordic, said:

“We are very excited that Allente has extended our partnership to include Canal Digital, in addition to Viasat Consumer. We look forward to broadening our partnership at this important stage in Allente’s transformational journey, making sure Allente’s customer base is served with the consistent quality, brand ambassadorship and commercial prowess that we are known for. Together we will continue developing a partnership that powers the customer experiences in today’s and tomorrow’s TV and broadband solutions.”

Victor Liljeroth, Country Head Sweden, Allente Nordic, said:

We have very good experiences of working with Webhelp, and are pleased to add on Canal Digital to our partnership. Webhelp will be able to provide valuable insights and support for our business at this exciting time for our company, and we will keep developing our partnership to give our customers premium service in this extended cooperation.”

Contact information:
Victor Sundén
Chief Commercial Officer, Webhelp Nordic
victor.sunden@webhelp.com
Mobile: +46 70 032 20 04

Maja Wikman Ulrich
Corporate Communications & PR Director, Allente Nordic
maja.wikman.ulrich@allente.tv
Mobile: + 46 936 99 26 65

 

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 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.

Webhelp believes that Emotional Intelligence creates a lasting impact, and their skill in marrying a differentiating human touch to the right technology is what makes a real difference for their clients.

By choosing Webhelp they access the passion and experience of 60,000 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 invests in people and the environment they work in, because they know that when people thrive, it has a powerful impact on them, their customers and on their partners’ business.

Webhelp believes that making business more human leads to a better customer experience – and a healthier bottom line.

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 

About Allente:

  • Allente offers TV distribution via satellite and broadband to 1,2 million customers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
  • Has approx. 300 employees in four countries
  • Telenor Group and Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) each owns 50% of the company
  • Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer had a net revenue of 7,5 billion SEK 2019


Webhelp named CXM Leader by Everest
Group for the second time in 2020

Following our positioning as a Global Leader in Customer Experience Management (CXM) by the leading analyst, Everest Group, we have now been recognized as a Leader again in its CXM in EMEA Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2020, rating high in terms of vision and capability.

This report is an objective recognition of Webhelp’s successful growth strategy, and our unique people-first, end-to-end approach with Skand Bhargava, Vice President, Everest Group saying:

“Webhelp is a leading CXM provider globally, especially in Europe, supported by a large multilingual workforce of more than 60,000 agents. With a focus on digital transformation, CX consulting, and customer journey orchestration, Webhelp has been able to drive exponential growth over the last few years,”

He continues “Further, its deep digital and domain expertise, outcome-focused approach, and strong leadership have allowed it to resiliently navigate the uncertainties created by COVID-19 and continue on its growth journey.”

This result builds on our strong track record in analyst rankings and assessments, and our second year as a Leader in the PEAK Matrix, with Everest Group specifically highlighting our strong coverage in major industry verticals, our geographical delivery footprint, and the value delivered to our clients.

Everest Group defines Leaders as companies that deliver consistent Customer Experience Management (CXM) Services through expansion in new regions, serving various buyer sizes, and delivering high satisfaction scores due to greater technological and advanced digital capabilities.

For this EMEA edition, Everest Group selected 21 organizations to evaluate and compare for their 2020 report based upon the service provider’s market success, vision and strategy, service focus and capabilities, digital and technological solutions, domain investments, and buyer feedback.


OneShot - Dark social

You are certainly missing something; two thirds of content shares take place in private channels. Are people talking about your brand or your product? Is your communication having an impact? If, in order to find out, you analyse your social media traffic with Google Analytics, it will probably only show you a fraction of the stats. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not a (complete) disaster.

What is it?

Dark social is a sharing space that eludes tracking-standards tools. This content – often copy-pasted links – is shared via SMS, email, private or encrypted messages, etc. That is to say, outside the traditional channels (Twitter, Facebook, a brand’s webpage, etc.). This method of sharing is overwhelmingly dominant. For each piece of content (published on a website) shared on social media, there are seven shared in the background via private messages.

Why does it happen?

For socionauts, sharing is clearly part of the private sphere; almost 70% of all content sharing takes place in private and the rest on public sharing channels. Because we don’t give our best discoveries to just anyone, hence the high informational value of ultra-specific sharing, which also involves seniors more than millennials and Gen Zs. The channels vary, but the rule of thumb, on the other hand, remains firm; only value-added content is shared.

Where do you start?

One way to get the ball rolling is to provide short links that are easy to share, attractive and SEO friendly with tools such as Rebrandly (although its scope is limited). Or to use the share buttons on ShareThis. Or specific analytical tools such as GetSocial. How do we see into private emails or encrypted messages such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? We don’t. Above all, keep publishing value-added content and make it easy to share – never mind if you can’t get an accurate measure of the impact later on.

How can you make a performance lever?

Finance, travel, restaurants… In certain sectors, dark social is the sharing channel of choice. Try to gauge its importance in the sharing habits of your target audience. On this basis, you will possibly rethink your current KPIs, and redefine them. Because dark social is not only the dominant channel on a quantitative level, it also brings you clients and prospective clients who are following the recommendations of a trusted person! And it brings them into the light.

To appease the public, Google has created a dedicated site : “Bien vivre le digital”. (Living happily with digital).

It is highly educational, and it covers and clarifies sensitive subjects.

 

Read the full OneShot article here


OneShot – Win back trust in the era of fake news

We take a look at how the social media landscape is overshadowed by scandals with François-Bernard Huyghe, a specialist in geopolitics, director of research at Iris, expert in influence and disinformation.

Fake news, fake followers, fake influencers, deep fake, etc. Political currents, companies and simple individuals fight to spread their representation of reality and the courses of action. The craziest points of view – conspiracy theories, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, and other trolls – bringing together highly active small communities, whose impact is often destructive. In regard to digital technologies, it brings with it an arsenal of highly sophisticated disinformation that is constantly improving and increasingly easy to access. Is there a place for trust among all this?

Fake news, fake followers, fake influencers, deep fake… How did we end up here?
François-Bernard Huyghe: These Anglicisms are recent and numerous: I listed 60 in my essay on fake news (1). They can be found in journalism, politics, geopolitics and even in everyday conversation; so, they are now part of our reality.  Of course, lies and deception go back a long way, but it was in 2016 that the general concern became widespread, with the election of Trump, Brexit, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Catalonia elections, in Italy, etc. So, we have granted great political power to the spreading of fake news -and other ‘alternative facts’- on social media. To the point that it is a threat to democracies, the media, and ultimately, to trust as a common socio-economic foundation. Thus, we have moved into the era of post-truth. And the context of Covid-19 confirms this point of view; WHO even talks of an ‘infodemic’, with harmful consequences.

Where is trust in social networks and media?
F.-B. H.: Trust in social media has flipped; we’ve gone from a concept, or from a meme, “social networks will establish democracy everywhere”, to “social networks are bringing down democracies”. We started with the idea that social networks provided a freedom of speech that would trouble the powers that be – those of governments and brands, in particular. And this would in turn lead to more lucid citizen-consumers, saner politicians and better-quality products and services. Ultimately it is the opposite that has become widespread. In the case of brands, other negative factors also arose, such as Dieselgate, the leak of personal data, its commercial exploitation, the opaque role of artificial intelligence, fake customer reviews, click farms, etc.

What are the consequences of these disinformation practices for the public?
F.-B. H.: Gafam and social media regularly report on the thousands of harmful messages or fake news that they delete. There is also corrective intervention from fact-checking experts or bodies, such as AFP Fact Check, partly financed by Facebook, whose new role is “to refute anything that did not happen”. However, despite this refutation, those who manipulate opinions are well aware that there is still some doubt. As Hannah Arendt already said, “When everyone lies to you constantly, the result is not that you believe these lies but no one believes anything anymore… And with such a people, you can do whatever you want.” Ultimately, the most serious aspect is not any particular fake news article; it is the torrent of them that has had a toxic impact on our minds. Citizen-consumers find themselves overwhelmed with doubt, with an inability to learn and act, which leads to frustration or even anger. Take a look at the USA, where Trump has attacked Twitter, while the social network was doing its job of moderating; it is like the start of a soap opera about freedom to express anything and everything, in other words, to misinform with impunity.

What kind of influence is legitimate in the eyes of the public?
F.-B. H. : We have gone from a time when mass media would publish a message in line with that of esteemed opinion leaders, and we have now arrived – through this crisis of general trust – at a strong legitimacy of nano and micro-influencers. Therefore, over prestige and authority, we now prefer proximity; people who talk to me should be people like me. They and I, we should find ourselves on a level playing field. Hence, also, a form of insularity. The citizen-consumer is eventually stuck between individualism and tribalism. Because a tribe is still necessary in order to feel valued within their choices and their identity. Consequently, speeches that often end up getting through are not those of the experts or the established authorities; instead they are the simple opinions or the raw emotions of ‘real’ people.

How can we rebuild trust?
F.-B. H.: On the part of the companies and brands, it seems wiser to establish horizontal and genuine links with consumers, rather than try to create messages that descend towards ‘the old style’. This probably happens through the human dimension, proximity, localness, transparency, proof, the personalisation of relationships, and by approaches that are more micro than macro. But, in a context of economic revival, they will have to ask questions about a shift in production, of real needs versus luxuries and ostentatiousness, of meaning and values, of the company’s social and ecological role, etc. Is it time for certain brands to make an ethical change and to become companies with a mission? It is worth thinking about.

(1) The term fake news, ‘infox’ or ‘fausses nouvelles’ in French, refers to untruthful information that is spread in order to manipulate or mislead the public.

“Over prestige and authority, we now prefer proximity.”

François-Bernard Huyghe

 

Read the full OneShot article here


Webhelp Confirming End of Operations in Kaunas, Lithuania

STOCKHOLM, October 13th, 2020

Global customer experience company Webhelp confirms their closure of its operational site in Kaunas, Lithuania by the end of this year.

The ramp down of Webhelp’s activity in Lithuania is linked to a strongly reduced demand in the global travel industry, on which the Kaunas team focuses, and will happen gradually from now until the end of 2020.

The tenured Webhelp team serves various clients at the international level in the areas of customer service, finance and data/fraud protection. Each employee speaks and writes two or more languages. Services provided from the Kaunas office are in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Russian and English languages.

Webhelp is very thankful for the loyalty and support of its experienced team in Lithuania and is working together with Webhelp’s international locations,  the local government, and other parties to assist their people in the transition to the next phase of their career.

For questions, please reach out to:

Janis Misans
MD Webhelp Latvia and Lithuania
janis.misans@webhelp.com
Phone: +371 27824787

Terje Andreassen
CEO Webhelp Nordic
terje.andreassen@webhelp.com
Phone: +46 70 226 42 85


Changing Lives in South Africa: Advisors in their own words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon JacobsDevon Jacobs: Contact Centre Advisor

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

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

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

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

Neziswa MkitikaNeziswa Mkitika: Contact Centre Advisor

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

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

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

ZubairZubair Samuels: Contact Centre Advisor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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