Delivering customer experience innovation for Derby

“Webhelp UK...required a location that had a strong local workforce and a partner that understood our goal of creating long term sustainable employment in their community – Derby delivered." David Turner CEO, Webhelp UK

Webhelp UK has engaged in a long term lease for the Derby Pride Park centre. The site has a range of outstanding facilities, making it both a stimulating workplace and an engaging environment.

Previously the site housed EggÂ’s Credit Card Business and has the infrastructure in place to be rapidly deployed for any new operation. Webhelp UK are seeking a strategic partner to drive market di


Knowing the product helps deliver an excellent customer experience

By redesigning our employee education process we can guarantee a more consistent customer experience.

Mike Eadie, Director of People Development

Equiping our team

It is extremely important that we equip our people with the right tools and the right technical skills to empower them with the confidence to be able to professionally convey that knowledge to the customer, our advisors just need to bring the right attitude and the right customer service focus.

Traditionally, learning and development teams would provide induction and on-going technical training.  While this type of on-going training programme for employees may be the conventional way of dealing with our clients rapidly changing products and services, inevitably this means that some staff members are much better at recalling product information than others.

So, our radical approach was to redesign the whole process to ensure that the customer has access to the latest product information through our customer service advisors no matter which agent handles the call.

Informed service

Webhelp UK is transforming how contact centers work. Instead of continually updating our employee product knowledge, we have developed industry leading turnkey systems that store each client’s most current product and service information, which is available live to all customer advisors, enabling them to deliver a better, more informed service.

We’re also training our customer service employees in questioning techniques which allows them to better understand the customer’s problem, how to quickly access the relevant product information, and how best to deliver an answer to the customer improving their overall experience and thereby reducing call volume and customer frustration.

More than ever, people are demanding excellent customer service delivered expediently, where they want, when they want

More than ever, people are demanding excellent customer service delivered expediently, where they want, when they want.  They want their particular issue solved, and they want it solved fast, but they’ll get as much reassurance from getting that problem solved from the way they are spoken to, and how they are questioned, making the interaction part of the customer journey a more enjoyable experience.

This cutting edge approach means that we can ensure a consistently higher level of customer care, and it allows us to focus on building superior customer relationships skills rather than focussing on ever-changing product knowledge.  We have seen a 30% increase in CSAT, unequivocally proving that our methodology delivers results; our smarter systems really do deliver a superior service for our clients.


Webhelp UK’s move from contact centre to customer experience

My first action at Webhelp UK was to look at what we offered our clients and how we could deliver excellent customer experience.

David Turner, Chief Executive Officer

What I learnt

Not to see whether we did a good job or not, because I knew that we already did, but I just couldn’t see how we differentiated from our competitors in terms of value add for our clients. I had a vision about contact centres and where I thought we needed to go, but I knew it would take significant surgery and a radical rethink to ready us for that journey.

It was clear to me that although we met all of the service level agreements the business had; there was no real reason to keep us on as a supplier, because we didn’t do anything for our clients that was over, above and beyond that.

I had a vision about contact centres and where I thought we needed to go, but I knew it would take significant surgery and a radical rethink to ready us for that journey.

That’s the problem with commoditised businesses, the only way they can differentiate is on price, so I wanted to move us away from that and position ourselves more as a consulting business developing outcome based solutions.  I think our most significant asset is that we deliver a more qualitative service to our clients based on knowledge and insight rather than going after the cheaper volume based activity that a lot of our competitors pursue.

Evolving the contact centre into the customer experience centre

We needed to stop thinking about ourselves as a contact centre business, and more as a company that sold solutions around improving customer experience which at the same time improves our client’s revenues and profit.  That, in a nutshell, is what we started to do three years ago, and it’s what determined Vodafone choosing us as their strategic partner and started the growth of the business over that period of time.

The most important thing we provide today for our clients isn’t just about answering the phone... it's about the knowledge we can provide that makes them a better business.

Not to over simplify things, it was about understanding that our business had to change, that our proposition needed to be different.  The heart of what we did, which was answering calls and talking to customers still needed to beat as strongly as ever, but we needed to make sure we were also delivering unique, insightful outcomes to our clients.

The most important thing we provide today for our clients isn’t just about answering the phone, it isn’t even about giving them better CSAT, it's about the knowledge we can provide that makes them a better business.  It's all about how you use data in this business.  Data is so much more powerful and important when it is used correctly.  How we house the data, how we analyse it, what additional insights can we go back to our clients with, and those insights should all be around driving revenue, profit, customer advocacy and retention.

Investing in people

While we are still very evolutionary, we’ve come a long way from being a commoditised supplier to one that delivers complex solutions and is now a true strategic partner to our clients.

I am passionate about changing the perception of this business to be one where you don’t just come here for a job; you come here to pursue a career.

But it's not just data and technology that makes a difference the biggest reason our business will continue to succeed is if we invest in our employees.  I feel a tremendous sense of duty towards our people and the biggest kick I get is seeing them reach their optimum potential, when they’ve challenged themselves, when they’ve found new ways of solving problems and adding value.  I am passionate about changing the perception of this business to be one where you don’t just come here for a job; you come here to pursue a career.

And we can offer people real career progression here; there are so many opportunities to grow and a clear path of succession through the business, and that’s a terrific reason for people to want to stay within the company to develop their abilities and to achieve that potential.

This is what I really want to see happen, if I went out and spoke to the guys at the front end of the business today, I’d like to think that in 10 or 15 years time somebody in that audience will be sitting on the board looking after my pension!


Customer Effort Score – a key metric in analysing customer experience

Accurately measuring customer behaviour is critical to business success. Can CES help deliver an excellent customer experience?

Jim Findlay, Head of Business Insight

NPS vs CES

Many methods of assessment and metrics have been used to measure customer behaviour, including tactical measures such as satisfaction, resolution and more strategic assessments such as NPS (net promoter score). NPS has, in the last decade, become the customer experience metric of choice in the industry.

NPS is seen as a pretty reliable indicator of customer advocacy with reasonable predictive capabilities but many organisations have struggled to reconcile contact point NPS results to corporate objectives.

A recent frisson of excitement in the industry would suggest that CES (customer effort score) is the latest metric contender is being touted as the most effective, predictive measure of future customer behaviour’s available as well as being able to identify the true root causes of customer detraction and is therefore the best operational customer contract metric to drive customer loyalty and experience.

Tools not solutions

In truth, no one metric can be viewed as a panacea.  Metrics can disconnect from actual objectives, leaving organisations driving a number with no tangible output.  Also metrics with corporate entity level relevance may not translate well to more granular investigation, for example, touchpoints and root cause analytics.  At this granular level, metrics may not have a predictive validity aligned to the corporate objectives.

If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

Experience would suggest that using a variety of complimentary metrics allows a 360 degree view of performance and customer experience.  The strengths of each metric can then be utilised to create the best possible view of reality.  This ensures that measurement has a relevance to objectives both tactically and strategically.

To gain clear insight it is enormously important to identify all aspects of a customer's journey to its end.  Each touchpoint is relevant to the customer, each action, even if it is not a contact is also relevant.  If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

How we see it

Webhelp UK have identified that measuring customer effort to achieve an objective against their expectations of effort required is an effective predictor of future customer behaviours regarding advocacy, loyalty and future spend if used in conjunction with other tailored metrics.  Effort profiling, using Webhelp UK's effort algorithm, of customer journeys across all elements of that journey allows a comprehensive view of both multichannel and non contact experience.

CES should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.

In combination with Webhelp UK's effort profiling, the use of any other relevant metrics can be combined to give a truly holistic view of business impacts of customer experience and journeys.  This allows the right actions to be taken in regard to people (customers and employee interactions and behaviours), policy (company policies that may not be aligned to objectives, products (are products meeting business and customer needs) and process (are processes effective in delivering objectives).

In conclusion, there are benefits to be gained by using both NPS and CES metrics (as well as other complimentary measures).  Webhelp UK Insight are particularly interested in CES, however, and feel that it is likely to have strong applicability at granular levels particularly in Contact Centre Management.  CES is equally applicable to any contact medium and is reflective of a customer’s journey and holistic experience.  This feature has great synergy with Webhelp UK’s strategy of multi-channel customer journey management and as long as CES is used as one of many data mining tools to derive business improvements and performance, the metric should be a key weapon in any customer management organisation’s arsenal.


Webhelp UK Chairman appointed as GlobalScot

Sunil Kant Munjal, Webhelp UK Chairman, has been appointed as a GlobalScot by Scottish Enterprise, a decision endorsed by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The prestigious appointment recognises Mr Munjal’s commitment to Scotland, Webhelp UK's widespread influence as a major Scottish employer and India's growing investment into Scotland.

The GlobalScot network promotes Scottish businesses at home and abroad and underlining the widespread influence of Scotland abroad and the benefits Scottish expertise can bring.

Since becoming part of the HERO Group in 2007, Telecom Service Centres, rebranded as Webhelp UK, has expanded rapidly to be one of the UK's leading customer management providers.

It now has 5500 staff in 10 UK centres, seven of which are in Scotland, bringing employment to over 3000.

The company has established long term strategic partnerships with leading blue chip companies and is recognised as one of the sector’s most innovative and progressive companies.

I am delighted that Mr Munjal will join the network of GlobalScots who use their influence to promote Scotland internationally as a great place to invest and do business. - John Swinney, Finance Minister. 

Webhelp UK Chairman Mr Munjal today met Finance Minister John Swinney as part of his visit to Scotland.

Mr Swinney said: "I am delighted that Mr Munjal will join the network of GlobalScots who use their influence to promote Scotland internationally as a great place to invest and do business. The network has gone from strength-to-strength and now has 778 senior business leaders showcasing Scotland's strengths.

"Breadth of knowledge, skills and experience is a key factor in Scottish business success. Having a leading businessman such as Mr Munjal act as a business ambassador will make a valuable contribution in supporting this Government and our enterprise agencies ongoing work to secure new investment and jobs to Scotland."

In accepting the GlobalScot nomination, Mr Munjal said:

"I am proud to receive this on behalf of Webhelp UK and our employees who bring so much credit to our company.

"We are very aware of the important role that Webhelp UK plays in the communities where we operate and are delighted that we have managed to grow our business recently and bring more jobs to Scotland.

"I share the FM's pride that a Scottish company is now receiving widespread UK recognition for its leading edge expertise in its field."

Anne MacColl, chief executive, Scottish Development International, said: "Webhelp UK is one of the strongest players in Scotland's dynamic call centre industry and we are heartened by the company's continued commitment to Scotland - a sign of our ongoing attractiveness to major international companies.

Webhelp UK is one of the strongest players in Scotland's dynamic call centre industry and we are heartened by the company's continued commitment to Scotland

"The latest annual results for Scottish Development International show that 2011-12 was GlobalScot's most successful year-to-date with over 450 requests for assistance from Scottish companies to members of the network. The figures also show that last year, 65 new members joined the network and 50 GlobalScot events were held in Scotland and overseas, with 430 attendees and 140 one-on-one meetings between companies and GlobalScots. "We look forward to working with Mr. Munjal as a valued member of our GlobalScot team in our continued effort to attract both new business to Scotland and to mentor Scottish businesses at home and abroad."

The GlobalScot network is made up of over 778 members located throughout the world, working in a wide range of industries at the very highest level. GlobalScots all have strong connections with Scotland - whether through their heritage, ancestry or professional background - and each of them has a strong desire to see Scotland succeed in the global business arena.

One of the key aims of GlobalScot is to cultivate a more open business community in Scotland, where Scottish companies are happy to seek advice and learn from individuals who have already achieved a high level of success in their chosen field.

Offering their time and knowledge freely for the advancement of Scottish commerce, GlobalScots work together to form a truly unique network - one which gives Scottish companies and organisations an invaluable competitive edge in international business. GlobalScots will support companies by giving advice face to face/by phone; reviewing business plans; brokering introductions to target customers; speaking at events; attending events to promote Scottish businesses; hosting interns and fellows of The Saltire Foundation etc.


Webhelp UK salutes heroes at the Glasgow Science Centre

£1000 cheques for six as Webhelp UK reward super staff in gala night of celebration.

For the second year in succession, Scotland’s biggest city saw its population increase for the day as over 170 Webhelp UK staff from around its UK-wide network of 10 sites joined in a celebration of some fantastic individual achievements in the past year as the Our HEROES campaign 2012 came to a dazzling conclusion.

Once again, the attendees were nominated by their fellow workers as the company looked to find star performers in six main categories – with the enticing prize of a £1,000 cheque waiting for the winner of each. In addition, in this Olympic year each winner also received a gold medal

With staff from each sites rooting unashamedly for their workmates, there were great celebrations as the winners were announced. They were:

  • Best Team Leader - Julie Batchelor (Kilmarnock)
  • Best Manager - Stuart Holmes (Dearne Valley)
  • Best Role Model (Operations) - Craig Purdie (Derby/Falkirk)
  • Best Role Model (Support) - Miriam Elliott (Falkirk)
  • Best Adviser - Katrina Thompson (Aviemore)
  • Most Outstanding Contribution - Craig Maloney (Dearne Valley).

As well as the overall winners, there was deserved praise and compliments for those who made the short list of awards - underlined by the difficult job the judges had to make when faced with such a barrage of praise and skilful performances.

Even some of the Sky TV’s best know presenters – joined in on the act in a special video link!

Praising all who had been nominated, CEO David Turner acknowledged another year of fantastic performances by Webhelp UK staff. He said:

“I thought last year’s inaugural event was a fantastic night and I wanted all the staff who attended to go back to their various sites and tell their workmates how good a night they had had - and encourage even more nominations for this year.

You are the reason we can do that. I salute you all. - Chairman, Sunil Kant Munjal

“That worked, it is great to see a representation from all over the Webhelp UK estate including our relatively new sites in Derby and Glasgow. I hope to see lots more from these centres this time next year.

“This is the event which recognises and rewards the staff who go that extra mile in their day to day work. It is that attitude which separates Webhelp UK from our rivals.”

Handling out the medals, certificates and £1000 cheques, Chairman Sunil Kant Munjal also praised not only the winners and attendees at the event, but asked those at the Glasgow event to pass on his grateful thanks to all their colleagues across the UK for another year of superb efforts.

He commented, “When HERO took over the company five years ago, we had seven sites and around 2000 employees. We now have 10 sites, 5500 employees and have the determination, focus and professionalism to keep expanding.

“You are the reason we can do that. I salute you all.”

There wasn’t just praise from the management for Webhelp UK staff. In a special video clip pulled together by client Sky, some of the broadcaster’s best known presenters thanked the staff for a great year and wished them all the best on the night – a great gesture much appreciated by all.

And then it was on with the party.

The evening had started with a number from Fierce Pro Dancers, joined at the end of their routine by members of the senior management team in an enthusiastic if somewhat flawed Flash Mob dance.

And it ended with more dancing as local band The White Room provided the music for a lively end to the evening, which saw every table contributing to a collection for the Prince’s Trust, charity, which as been the focus of a number of company fund-raising events in the recent months.


Reducing client costs through excellent customer service

By delivering excellent customer experience, Webhelp UK have been able to reduce the amount of calls, saving our clients money.

Dean Hartley, Chief Financial Officer

The client comes first

As a business we made a conscious decision to put our client’s needs first, ahead of our own requirements.

We took a good look at how we could add value to our clients, how we could benefit them. With the benefit of the data our Insight team had captured and analysed, we consequently decided to invest in systems and methodology designed to reduce call volumes.

We have proved that by actually reducing contact volume, it fundamentally benefits our clients in the long-term.

Now many might perceive that as commercial suicide, because predictably we then had a reduction in call centre revenues, except that we can categorically prove that it works.  Its part of our DNA now, we have proved that by actually reducing contact volume, it fundamentally benefits our clients in the long-term.

The reduction in revenues to us, through lower demand, actually represented savings to our clients which was delivered on top of improved customer satisfaction.  This meant we subsequently delivered a better service at a lower cost to serve which was exactly what our clients wanted.

How it helped Webhelp UK

Although it required vision, confidence, financial commitment and investment, putting our clients first actually led to us achieving strong financial growth that allows us in turn to reinvest in our most invaluable component, our employees, who are the vanguard of our company and vital in continuing to deliver their outstanding customer service for our clients.

Our primary focus will continue to be the delivery of value to our clients through increasing revenue, reducing cost, improving customer retention and building customer advocacy.

In choosing to expand our thinking beyond our traditional remit, we have aligned our financial strategy with the main business aims.  This synergy may seem obvious, but operationally many financial departments simply don’t look beyond the balance sheet and realise that its not all about cost savings - it‘s about  focusing on our core value creators for our clients.

We have the hard facts and figures to prove this business model works for our clients, and the growth of our business is evidence that it works for us too. Our primary focus will continue to be the delivery of value to our clients through increasing revenue, reducing cost, improving customer retention and building customer advocacy.


Finding the talent to deliver outstanding customer experiences

By analysing Webhelp UK data we discover the talent to deliver the best customer experience for our clients.

Harry Hogg, HR Director

 

Working to our clients' needs

As we continue to grow as a business, I am fully focused on how our people will continue to improve on, and deliver, best in class customer experience. Along with our in-house specialised HR team we are committed to doing more than ever before to attract the right kind of talent into the business in the right role, right first time, who we can be sure will deliver the very best in customer service for our clients.

We wanted to move away from the 'bums on seats' approach and by sourcing the right talent and then growing and retaining that talent means we deliver a far better standard of staff excellence to benefit our clients.

With this interdepartmental teamwork, we have addressed how we should approach the labour market going forward.  Looking more closely at our clients requirements by analysing data, we have a clearer picture of what types of people skills we want, how we asses their talents and behaviours, and then once we have those people; how we keep them for the long term.

To accomplish all of this we need to do a number of things differently.  Historically, the call centre arena is rife with high levels of attrition and low levels of retention and by definition there’s a strong argument there to say the whole industry is commoditised.  However, we wanted to move away from that and by sourcing the right talent and then growing and retaining that talent means we deliver a far better standard of staff excellence to benefit our clients.

How we find the right people

We’ve developed a highly structured People Plan, which fully supports the strategic imperatives of the business and is resulting in cutting edge industry scores which are already benefitting our client base.
It has defined paths of progression, designed to show prospective employees just how far their career journey they can take them.

To give an example, in operations, there is a route from advisor level to a Deputy Team Leader then to a Team Leader, moving on to a Deputy Operations Manager to Operations Manager to Senior Operations Manager and eventually Business Manager together with possible spin offs into other functions within the business.

Our people get job satisfaction and respect knowing we are willing to hear their viewpoints, opinions and their invaluable ideas about how we continue to grow the business. 

This industry used to think along the lines of ‘bums on seats’ because it was so volume driven and commoditised, and we hated that sort of language.  Our view is that this is an outmoded adage and it needs to be brains on seats.  We get much, much more out of our people by valuing the whole and not the part.  Our people get job satisfaction and respect knowing we are willing to hear their viewpoints, opinions and their invaluable ideas about how we continue to grow the business.

There is a great deal of skill involved in becoming an advisor, and even more so in becoming a successful team leader, and not everyone can be successful in those roles.  But by creating a very powerful and engaging workplace culture where likeminded people are drawn to us, we believe that employing people with the right behaviours is the only way for us to ensure we are able to deliver consistently superior standards of customer satisfaction for our client’s and their customers.


From contact centre provider to customer experience experts

By focusing on customer experience, we have been able to grow our business during the global economic crisis.

Andy Doig, Chief Operating Officer

 

Investing in a change

With a global downturn and a double-dip recession in the UK, most of the companies in our sector have adopted a survival strategy.

Webhelp UK decided that this was the moment to invest in a fundamental alteration of our business and our industry and transform ourselves from a traditional call centre to a business solutions provider.

We decided that Webhelp UK needed to become a key business partner delivering outstanding customer experience.

Growth is something companies tend to strive for when the economic climate is favourable, so this slump presented our clients with new challenges.  We decided to invest in creating fresh, new solutions to drive insight and innovation for our clients to help them overcome these challenges.

We chose to take a strategic path that required us to adapt our core values in order to help our clients solve their main strategic business issues.  We decided that Webhelp UK needed to become a key business partner delivering outstanding customer experience, and so we focused on strategic solutions and delivering business enhancing outcomes rather than providing commoditised services.

Through this investment in our infrastructure, our core operating methodologies, our management and our people, we rebuilt our strategy from the ground up. But perhaps most crucially of all, we focussed intensely on doing the things we understood to be most central to our clients; reducing costs, improving customer retention, improving customer loyalty, and improving customer spend and wallet share. In short we stopped thinking like a contact centre and evolved into a customer experience company which delivers an enhanced relationship between our clients and their customers that directly improves our clients’ business success.

We now work at a deeper level with our clients, adding more value, sharing their objectives, taking more risk on a gain-share basis.  By behaving like a true partner by investing in their business success, this enables us to provide real value to the full extent of our capability.

Becoming a true strategic partner for our clients

As a business we are very fortunate to work with some of the UK’s leading brands who had also come to the same conclusion as ourselves – that the old model of contact centre outsourcing, while delivering tactical benefits such as flexibility, could never deliver the real business value that we have been able to create for our clients by working as a true strategic partner.

We are better placed to take responsibility for their customer management, due to our dedicated focus and expertise in customer experience.

These days we spend much more time focusing on improvements in driving customer loyalty, advocacy and spend.

Clients have increasingly come to realise that, more often than not, we are better placed to take responsibility for their customer management, due to our dedicated focus and expertise in customer experience.  We have become specialists at taking over and improving clients’ in-house capability through the application of our methodologies, and then delivering customer experience as a managed service.

Our journey is by no means complete but we remain committed to being at the vanguard of a new wave of outsourced customer management, delivering strategic partnerships aimed at creating a unique value customer experience for the benefit of our clients and their customers.


My love for your is Priceless – Honest

Understanding the effect social recommendations can make on product sales. Through analysis we can understand why, how and when this happens which enables us to help us increase our clients revenues.