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


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.


The DSA – a newfound content moderator

Strengthening the responsibility towards online platforms, the DSA could be the newfound content moderator.

As the digital economy continues to grow and evolve rapidly, it becomes more imperative for platforms to manage the content they have on their websites.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is part of the EU’s digital strategy to regulate the online ecosystem. Clarifying rules that propose a new liability framework for online platforms and the content hosted on their sites.

We could wonder – “How does this differ to GDPR?”: GDPR aims to protect customers’ personal data at the forefront of every business. It is the EU legislation that regulates how organizations use personal data, but it does not regulate the content that is shown online to customers. This is where the DSA comes into action.

The European Commission announced the DSA as being a package formed of two pillars proposing the following new frameworks:

  1. New rules framing the responsibilities for digital services – protecting customers in the digital ecosystem when it comes to user-generated content and new risks that may arise on these platforms
  2. Ex-ante rules for large online platforms that act as gatekeepers to ensure platforms act fairly and challenged by new entrants – the market stays competitive and innovative, so customers get the widest choice.

This is not to say it does not come with its own limitations and challenges. These new provisions can facilitate users to identify issues and risks that is indistinct with the current regulations. It augments more attention to platforms’ guidelines and safety measures.

It is crucial these online intermediaries take responsibility and introduce trained content moderators to avoid these potential faults.

Growing liability for online platforms and digital gatekeepers

Online intermediaries have been protected by the e-Commerce Directive against content liability, enabling these providers to establish their own content moderation regulations.

Social media is one of the most popular ways for users to spend their time and engage with people. It has become an integrated communication tool for people to connect with others and express public opinions. From their personal views in politics or about a product they recommend (49% of consumers depend on influencers recommendations on social media according to Oberlo). Statista states Facebook has 2.7 billion monthly active user’s vs Instagram with 1 billion monthly active users.

Social media user-generated content statistics show daily:

  • Every 60 seconds there are more than 317,000 status updates and 54,000 links shared on Facebook
  • 94 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram

The virality of content can be constructive as well as destructive. With the current regulation for the interdependence of these large platforms, it does not allow for legal reprisals and liability.

According to the DSA, a new standard for large platforms that act as digital gatekeepers will attempt to impose tech regulators with the power to enforce rules where content could be deemed illegal or inflammatory. Creating a fairer, and more competitive market for online platforms in the EU.

Implementing these new standards requires content management services to support focusing on the right content for your business. Poorly handled owned content can be pernicious and potentially discriminating.

Adapting the DSA on a global scale

Online platforms are key drivers of digital trade, innovation, and globalization.

The EU is an attractive market that was the motivation for GDPR scope to become transnational as compliance is required when companies encounter EU citizens personal data. Consequently, forcing international firms to adapt to these regulations.

As with the DSA, the intention is to improve the supervision on digital services and to help protect EU citizens across the single market.

The framework offers benefits to sellers and consumers, with an attraction to different gatekeepers in the market as the digital ecosystem continues to grow and broaden its reach. The DSA introduces broad derogations for members discretion – the UK is not obliged to follow these regulations due to Brexit, as the UK’s transition period ends before 2020. Nonetheless, this package requires harmonization between the UK, EU, and even international platforms to obtain the balance of legal protection of responsibilities to protect its customers.

Our services

The DSA invites more regulation for online platforms, but this cannot be transformed in the current way content is moderated. It requires dexterity and vigour.

Putting our people and our clients at the heart to ensure we build trust, and a safe user experience is part of our think-human approach – 74% of our operators recommend Webhelp as an employer (NPS). Our teams are trusted to detect and assess issues for user generated content with our content moderators, as well as finding the right content for your brand with our content management service. We have managed 1 billion pieces of content in 25 languages every year with flexible operations onsite and homeworking. This role is time-consuming and requires attentiveness, so it is important for us to provide our content moderators with mental health support.

We focus on our robust processes and in-house technological solutions to ensure a smooth delivery of outcomes and a high productivity rate to deliver on objectives.

Are you interested in how the DSA may affect your organization? Talk to us today about how Webhelp’s Content Management services can help you.


Corporate citizenship can go very far

Corporate citizenship can go very far

“Corporate citizenship can go very far, as long as it does not destroy value”

The concepts of economic performance and societal commitment, far from being in conflict, are nourished by each other and work to make organisations more competitive, believes the co-founder of Webhelp, as long as they don’t destroy the values which drive a company forward.

Does a company have to be a corporate citizen today?

In 2020, it is natural. The notions of economic performance and societal commitment, far from being in conflict, feed off and make the company more competitive. Since it is impossible to commit on all fronts (the UN charter to which Webhelp adheres has no less than 17 sustainable development objectives), it is necessary to know how to arbitrate across the areas, to find a balance that will have a tangible impact on an organisation’s ecosystem and beyond.

Corporate citizenship is a general management subject that I lead as one of my main priorities. It gives me immense pleasure and can be found in Webhelp in terms of talent attractiveness, engagement, customer satisfaction, and performance. This civic responsibility is part of the DNA of Webhelp, which has been running successfully for twenty years.

How has this been delivered within Webhelp?

The PACTE law sets a framework and offers interesting initiatives to be taken up; our rationale is thus still being formulated, and rests on four pillars.

As part of the first pillar, focused on philanthropy, we federate our initiatives within an umbrella foundation. The Think Human Foundation, dedicated to reintegration and education in the forty or so countries where the group is present, has an endowment fund amounting to 1.5 million – 2 million euros annually. The latter is supplied by the shareholders, the founders and our 55,000 employees. To them are added contributions of our customers via an invoice rounding system.

The “People” pillar aims to improve employees’ careers and their professional skills as well as personal well-being. This can include health issues, for example nutrition, smoking or alcohol problems, budgeting assistance, and support actions following family tragedies.

Does an increasing adoption of automation affect this focus on thinking human?

Despite robotization and artificial intelligence, which the group happily uses, Webhelp is one of the rare players in the client industry whose strategy is based above all else on human resources. “People first” and “think human” are not empty expressions for us. For example, Webhelp proactively recruit and then train young people who are often isolated in rural areas of France or from townships in South Africa.

How has this focus been affected by the health crisis caused by COVID-19?

Protecting our employees was our first objective. At that time, there can be no question of trying to save points here or there; all notions of economics fall to the wayside. Overnight 44,000 people recreated a work environment outside of the company, with huge congratulations due to the IT professionals who made it possible to telework smoothly, so I can now speak to the group’s 55,000 employees by teleconference. Then, it was necessary to reassure employees who feared losing their jobs, particularly those who were supporting clients in tourism or air transport, two of the highest affected sectors. Today the easing of lockdown measures continues with discipline and the desire to conquer market share to ensure the sustainability of the group.

What are the other two pillars of citizen action?

One concerns important issues of ethical behaviour, such as Sapin II law, anti-corruption law, legislation, whistleblowing cells, and data protection.

The other is environmental. Even though Webhelp does not emit a lot of greenhouse gases, the group has 140 sites of around 400,000 square meters. A Carbon 4 balance has enabled us to reduce our electricity consumption by 30%. Through initiatives such as automatic standby screens for computers, reconfiguration of various electrical installations and optimization of our transport policy we are making exciting progress.

How will these commitments change in the future?

I am optimistic when I observe and listen to the younger generations. We will be able to tackle challenging climates over a reasonable period of time with more and more actions and commitments, including from the five million French SMEs keen to tackle these subjects. I invite those who claim that everything was better before, to read the Swedish author Johan Norberg.

It will be better tomorrow on the condition, however, of preventing these black swans, or even these weapons of mass destruction, that could cause cyber viruses. And we should re-examine what the notion of progress is, in an environment where we are unable to protect and to be ourselves self-sufficiently. But we will succeed!

Despite the growing economic crisis?

Against all expectations, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed for economic digitization and saved it fifteen years. Today the question is how to transform to have an even greater impact. Through introducing new technologies and using remote management, teleworking is able to support transformation and have a positive impact on the environment.

How far can we progress these societal issues as a corporate citizen?

We can go very far in the communion between Corporate Social Responsibility and economy. The limit is the destruction of the company’s competitiveness. The choices made must not downgrade this logic and destroy what drives the company forward. The notions of growth and profit remain important.


OneShot - Three opinions

Hervé Rigault, Director General for France of Netino by Webhelp

Herve-Picture

The notion of a key opinion leader is coming back into fashion. Previously, this role was held by journalists, speakers, analysts, etc. Yet, on the one hand, journalists no longer have the time to do research and, on the other, many experts lack neutrality. This is because influencers have learned to establish themselves with solid audiences, mainly thanks to blogs and curation, but also thanks to social media. This phenomenon is seen in both B2C and B2B. LinkedIn’s recent and considerable development, for example, is a result of its transformation: this social network has become a very influential social media platform. So it is no longer enough to be an expert to become an influencer; you have to have a vision, a certain talent for expression, a taste for sharing, a dynamic network, etc. Brands can profit from it, through attentive listening.

 

Jérémy Rodney, Head of Digital Content & Social Media Bouygues Telecom

At Bouygues Telecom, influencer marketing started in 2013, with 4G. We had to spread the word about its high data speeds, relying on the power of recommendations from a few influencers. First we targeted gamers, big bandwidth consumers and their subscribers. Today, the use of influencers is ingrained in our media campaigns. We don’t use nano-influencers, they are too complex to manage with our services and products. When we have a reach objective, we look for macro-influencers. And to find more engagement, and oproduce original content, we work more and more with middle or micro-influencers. Adults, parents, seniors, etc. All age ranges are represented; the palette of influencers has become very large and diverse.

 

Jeroen Dijkema, CEC Cluster Lead Europe Unilever (Rotterdam)

Unilever has a vast galaxy of agribusiness brands of international renown. Some of these brands have strong local ties. On an international or local level, we reach out to influencers with three goals in mind: to develop brand reputation, deliver messages on specific brands and test certain new products. The authenticity of these influencers is a criteria for selection, since our products are built on data that reflects the needs of the consumer, but they are also a societal goal. Mainly on Instagram and Facebook, we reach out to macro or micro-influencers.

Read the full article

Customers increasingly expect responsible business practices

Our research shows 78% of leaders expect additional scrutiny on how they operate since the pandemic.

Responsibility, transparency, and trust are now perceived to be more important than they were prior to the pandemic.

Our research shows 78% of leaders agreed that customers were paying closer attention to how responsible their business practices are, compared to before the COVID-19 crisis.

It highlights the needs for brands to be more human in their service delivery – looking after colleagues’ wellbeing, supporting emotionally intelligent conversations with customers, and building a genuine connection which can effectively address customer needs.

This research, carried out by Gobeyond Partners and Webhelp, covered 500 senior business leaders and has been used to make recommendations on how service should be reimagined to better meet customer needs.

Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners comments on the findings:

“When considering the seismic changes that COVID-19 has already driven for businesses on a global level, it is heartening to note that many brands have responded remarkably; adapting to rapidly shifting consumer demands and rethinking propositions at unprecedented pace.

“However, some have also suffered significant damage too. Certainly, at the start of lockdown, social media feeds were awash with examples of brands accused of behaving irresponsibly and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by their customers.

“As organisations rush to respond to changing consumer behaviour and working practices, by making much-needed technology and operating model changes, our research highlights the importance of doing this in a responsible, and human way.”

Craig Gibson, Chief Commercial Officer at Webhelp Group continues:

“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a major shift when it comes to the health and wellbeing, and of course, the safety of team members. However perhaps more interestingly customers have been paying even more attention to how companies deliver on this.

“We have already seen, and indeed will continue to see, a new more “responsible” behavioural shift, with more empathy for those at the front line. This in turn will place more pressure on businesses to deliver on responsible human work practices and ensure this is communicated as part of their customer journey.

“Never before has there been a greater need to demonstrate transparency and create genuine and deep emotional connections with customers and colleagues.”

Whilst technology and a rapidly changing environment is transforming service, it’s clear that people and the human experience will still make the crucial difference in delivering a world-leading customer experience.

How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations need to adapt? And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises?

By combining Webhelp’s expertise in global customer management with Gobeyond

Partners’ customer-journey design, alongside our research with 500 senior business leaders, we’ve provided a unique perspective in our #servicereimagined white paper.


OneShot – Hashtag #TrustYourInfluencer

Your brand? Your products? It’s the influencers that talk about them best. In any case, they are better understood by your target market. Here are three tips for working well with them.
1. Consider the influencer to be a true partner.

Everything starts with a good collaboration with them. A good partnership isn’t simply asking an influencer to showcase your product to their followers. This way of looking at it - as forming a human sandwich with the brand - is inefficient, even counter-productive. Today, influencers ask to include the spirit of the brand. Therefore, the influencer should be seen as a consultant for communicating on social media, and not as a simple megaphone. So, the entire challenge is first in identifying which influencers will be the most suitable with respect to the brand’s objectives. The error generally lies in always working with the same pool of influencers and reasoning quantitively based on the number of followers accumulated. It is better to customise together, that is to have a very qualitative and individualised approach based on legitimacy.

2. Let yourself be influenced by your influencers.

In general, brands assume a risk when they express themselves on social media. Trolls will find something there to vent about... The goal of collaborating with an influencer is to create a message that will be appreciated by their community – by relying on their legitimacy and expertise. This opens new doors for the brand, and therefore the brand finds new playing fields and new forums in which to express themselves. In a nutshell, influence allows brands to have a voice accepted by a
community, rather than top-down. The influencer knows their community perfectly well: they are the only person who knows whether or not they will be on board. Therefore, it is better to listen to them and trust them! Particularly as many of them are born communicators...

3. To generate engagement, favour micro-influencers.

On social networks, in order to add a human dimension to the relationship with the brand, it is wise to switch to micro-influencers instead of working with a ‘face of the brand’. Admittedly, the latter option is historically ingrained and it allows brand legitimacy to be established. But today, it is engagement that becomes the main challenge –moreover, platforms are constantly improved to favour it. Once you have set yourself a goal for engagement or ROI, it is better to work closely with micro-influencers, who are involved and relevant, even those with ‘only’ 3,000 to 5,000 followers. Legitimacy is key. A macro-influencer like Bixente Lizarazu, for example, could also be considered a micro-influencer for cycling, which he is a huge fan of!

An article by Ludovic Chevallier, Head of Havas Paris Social.

 

“Be a fan of your fans by making them heroes of your story.”

Mark Schaefer, author of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins


What will motivate the customers of the future?

Successful brands all have at least one thing in common, they clearly understand what customers want, and can pinpoint the most effective way to deliver their products and customer services to meet that need. Here we talk to industry experts from both the Webhelp UK Region and our co-brand Gobeyond Partners to find out how the consumer landscape is changing and what this transformation will mean for customer experience.

Customer behavior is changing, how can businesses build interactions and services to adapt to this change?

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK:

Knowledge will be the key.

It’s absolutely essential that organisations understand their customer’s journeys and identify how these have changed as behaviours and expectations have shifted as a result of the crisis.

For example, it’s clear that the face of retail has changed, perhaps forever, with many brands catering to a larger, more mixed demographic who are now adopting e-commerce as their new normal. We are all shopping more frequently online and avoiding the store experience. [1]

Subsequently, companies who establish a real depth of consumer knowledge and who uncover and meet their customer’s core motivations and expectations at relevant points on the service path, are the most likely to succeed moving forwards.

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Transformation in consumer trends and actions will become a natural driving force in the evolution of business processes. Being able to identify behavioural change undertaken by a specific demographic and how this relates to failures (and opportunities) in the service process, will be crucial in shifting the dial.

As will identifying how and where to integrate technology to fully support the end-to-end journey and drive a peak customer experience.

What are the stumbling blocks business should be aware of when creating enhanced customer relationships to build recovery?

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Investment in new infrastructure, more advanced service models and increased data capture and analysis will be prerequisite for sustainable recovery. However, speaking realistically, finding working capital to deliver these solutions may be an issue for brands already suffering from economic pressure due to the pandemic.

The ability to make agile business decisions will be imperative and to minimise risk it is absolutely essential that investment is focused in the right places.

Dave Pattman, MD CX Services, Gobeyond Partners

Added to this, consumer confidence is still fragile – although the UK index rose slightly over the summer[2] – and early signs of recovery stand in the shadow of the second wave of the pandemic, now projected to hit Europe hard in the colder months ahead.

Obviously, brands are now challenged to create viable forecasts against shifting consumer demand, and to be adequately resourced to meet them. In this uncertain climate decisions on pivot points such as when to recruit to meet demand and when to reduce outlay become much more abstract and theoretical.

There will be an increased need for increased online services & intelligent automation to meet these fluctuations economically and to increase flexibility and response rates.

How can brands use innovative digital thinking to respond to new consumer attitudes?

Mark Palmer, CEO, Gobeyond Partners

Our recent Whitepaper revealed that, to reorient and flourish in the new consumer landscape, brands must become more adaptable, focused, digital and human. Of these four pillars, the need to become more digital is perhaps the easiest for brands to understand, but the hardest to deliver in a meaningful way.

They know that new online citizens are emerging and that the world of work has undergone a radical change, but they may have difficulty identifying the pain points that this transformation will bring to their customer journeys – and how and where to embed the most useful digital offerings to best address them.

They must seek out resources to help laser focus their efforts to deliver rapid, effective change – and make the most out of their limited resources.

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK:

Many organisations will be exposed due to their lack of digital literacy and will struggle to create effective engagement strategies that ensure they maximise the power of digital intervention at the relevant points in customer lifecycle.

If you don’t thoroughly understand the customer journey, it is difficult to automate or digitise processes in a way that will positively impact customer experience. There is also a danger that you may jeopardise future ability to offer additional propositions, products and services in the best window for action.

Customer insight must be embedded throughout the whole digital transformation process, as it provides the basis to offer intelligent next best action tools.

At Webhelp, we are identifying where human support adds value to digital experiences. Providing guidance and support to customers and brands during high value, complex and emotionally important journeys is critical.

Dave Pattman, MD CX Services, Gobeyond Partners

Brands that honestly seek to innovate have to be willing to supersede ‘faceless’ digital experiences and really connect with their customers. Technology is changing the way service is approached, created and delivered, but the juxtaposition of advanced technology and the human touch, must be carefully managed to enhance rather than hinder customer experience. Success will only be achieved through combining the right technology with a human mindset and strong digital strategy.

Finally, the time has come for brands to let go of dated and limiting legacy technologies and infrastructure, which are often swept under the carpet of the digital transformation roadmap. Failure to do this will put them at a serious disadvantage, as innovators will swiftly build the future of service without them.

[1] Forbes

[2] research-live.com GfK Consumer Confidence Index


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WebHEALTH goes above and beyond to raise funds and awareness.

This September we set out on our WebHEALTH Kilometer Challenge, traveling the circumference of the world in 30 days.

As a people-first company with a strong dedication to our social and environmental responsibility Webhelp embarked and completed an inspiring journey with great success.

By partnering up with STEPtember, a charity event raising funds for critical research on cerebral palsy, we’re happy to contribute to a world in which children will be able to overcome this debilitating motor disorder.

WebHEALTH September

As exercise and simply moving are also great to prevent heart disease, we put the spotlight on World Heart Day, spreading awareness and knowledge on keeping up a healthy lifestyle.

World Heart Day

And of course, we managed to live our values and reinforce our unique culture every day. Community and support are essential to well-being, especially in the challenging time that is 2020, and we strive to enjoy every day by focusing on the positives whenever we can.

Reuniting thousands of amazing, unique people across the world around a common vision is something we do daily, making sure we’re a great place to grow.

Thanks to the contributions and support of our Webhelpers from around the world, it has been an incredible journey. And as passionate game-changers who thrive on making a difference, the participants not only reached our target of 40.075km but went on to reach for the stars.

We traveled an incredible 112.968 km, walking, running, biking, rowing and all you can think of, not only around the Earth, but the Moon, Mars and Venus!

We’ve always known our Webhelpers are a talented bunch, so we weren’t surprised to see them enjoying so many different forms of exercise throughout September. Check out our highlights reel featuring clips and photographs of our journey here below.

Our journey doesn’t end here though. This challenge is part of our global WebHEALTH program which focuses on our people’s wellbeing every day and everywhere. We’ll continue to invest in our people and planet through dedicated initiatives, bringing our vision of making business more human to life in everything we do.


Content Moderation - why every boomtown needs a sheriff!

As online engagement will be the next boomtown for customer experience, Andrew Hall, Director of Strategic Engagements, Webhelp UK region, looks at the future of this new frontier and how content moderation will be critical to protect brands and users.

Andrew Hall - content moderation boomtown - Twitter

Back in 1996, when the internet and social media as we know it now was pure science fiction, Bill Gates wrote a pivotal essay entitled ‘Content is King’ saying:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” And he realised the new freedom for self-expression that this would provide by adding; “One of the most exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”[1]

Fast forward to today, and across every conceivable social platform, the internet is now heaving with content marketing – from thought leadership, brand videos, sponsorship, influencer tie-ins and stories promoting everything from consumer goods to dating services.

And, accelerated by the physical limitations introduced by COVID-19, this new digital frontier is still growing. In the UK for example, in June 2020 Ofcom reported a substantial rise in the incidence of social media accounts on platforms like WhatsApp (70%, up from 61% in 2018), Instagram (43%, up from 38% in 2018), and YouTube (42%, up from 35% in 2018).[2]

And although the shadow cast by the mountain of Facebook (forecast to hit 1.7 billion users worldwide by the close of 2020) continues to dominate this landscape, it now shares engagement time with multiple platforms.

So, it’s clear that navigating this expanding territory could be a rough ride for many companies, with this gold-rush of new users, bringing fresh disruptions and challenges.

We know that it is vitally important to reach your customers where there are most active, and as McKinsey reports, that is now online:

“Demand patterns have shifted. Overall online penetration in China increased by 15–20 percent. In Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose by 81 percent in a single week, creating significant supply-chain bottlenecks. Customers need digital, at-home, and low-touch options. Digital-led experiences will continue to grow in popularity once the coronavirus is quelled, and companies that act quickly and innovate in their delivery model to help consumers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively will establish a strong advantage.”[3]

It’s clear that any new delivery model must include Content Moderation, and as digital-experiences assume more importance in our lives, user-generated content (UGC) will undoubtedly continue to grow in impact and variety.

In simple terms, content moderation helps companies monitor, analyse and respond to UGC including comments, reviews, videos, social media posts or forum discussions, using predefined criteria and legal boundaries to establish suitability for publication.

As Webhelp Group Senior Director of Content Management and Moderation Solutions, Chloé de Mont-Serrat, explains:

“Leveraging user-generated content is fast becoming a powerful and flexible tool to raise brand recognition and enhance customer trust, especially in the booming e-commerce industry. Consumer content is instrumental in influencing both purchase decision making and in the uptake, visibility and popularity of brands online.”

“However, despite these benefits, utilising externally produced content is not without risk, especially for companies that are unaware of the detrimental impact this can have on the user perspective of the brand if not properly managed.”

Source: Content Moderation for Dating Applications

And the danger is that, when left unmanaged UGC can permanently damage brand reputation and revenues, leaving the barn door open for harmful content like flame wars, online abuse, mounting customer complaints, unsuitable imagery, fake news, fraud and cyber bulling. Not to mention clearing the field for automated spam content, troll farms and false reviews. 

Controlling and making the most of this vitally important demographic is where, much like a local sheriff looking after the townsfolk and wellbeing of the community, content moderation becomes key to creating healthy, responsive two-way engagement that benefits the brand and protects all the users.

The research article ‘Re-humanizing the platform: Content moderators and the logic of care’ describes content moderators as;

“The hidden custodians of platforms, the unseen and silent guardians who maintain order and safety by overseeing visual and textual user-generated content.”[4]

The report highlights, as we believe at Webhelp, that thinking human and maintaining empathy and insight, should be a critical and creative factor in current and future platform arrangements.

Webhelp’s recent research paper Reimagining Service for the New World a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, spotlights the tensions and challenges between the need to be simultaneously both more digital and more human. As companies are increasingly being tasked to deliver seamless, technology-enabled, and experience-led service across multiple channels, while demonstrating transparency and creating genuine and deep emotional connections with customers.

And, with 78% of leaders agreeing that customers will be paying much closer attention to their business practices, maintaining a human face online, especially in reacting to confrontational or illegal content, will become more important than ever.

At Webhelp we are passionate about supporting our clients through their content moderation challenges, and have guided them through a range of topics; such as identifying under-age members, inappropriate images, tackling online harassment and preventing accounts being used as a platform for illegal activity such as scams and fraud.

We protect brand reputation and enhance user experience, mobilising effective and skilled teams with specific sector experience. They utilise both their human judgement and cutting edge analytical services to effectively police and nurture online communities, providing growth for the brand and safety for the user.

Later blogs will focus on specific industry moderation pain points and the best ways to correct them, but for now we leave you with this thought;

“There’s a new sheriff in town – and they’re called called Webhelp!”

 

To discover more about customer experience models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp group, on Reimagining service for the new World which is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future. Or read our new paper exploring the Content Moderation pain points in the Dating application sector and the way towards a more comprehensive and game changing solution.