Why understanding emotion can be key to customer service!

Webhelp has launched a new whitepaper looking at the impact of emotional connection in CX.

The paper reveals the importance of establishing emotional connections with customers, and how brands can pin-point, monetise and measure those connections to drive value to their business.

We know that emotion is a huge part of the human experience. During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. The emotions he identified were happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger. However, new research indicates that our spread of emotion could be much more complicated, which may have significant implications for how customer service is delivered.

Take a look at the infographic below for an overview of the new research and why harnessing emotion is so important in creating good CX.

Plus, Webhelp’s Disruptor Series takes a deeper dive into the issues facing the CX industry, including the impact of emotional connection by sector.


Webhelp partners with Operation Hunger to fight against malnutrition

Webhelp is delighted to announce Operation Hunger as their new charity partner in South Africa for 2020. Operation Hunger has a 40 year history of taking positive action to fight against malnutrition in South African homes, schools and communities by using sustainable and proven methods that empower people to tackle this vital issue.

The organisation aims to improve levels of nutrition in impoverished communities through sustainable integrated income generating food security schemes such as soup kitchens, small scale subsistence and commercial farming and various small enterprise community development projects.

They help to deliver programmes to provide clean and accessible water to households where water is not readily available so that individuals and communities can develop gardens, support livestock and be protected against water borne diseases.

The charity was chosen from a diverse group of causes, nominated and voted on by Webhelp employees in South Africa, who are keen to support the great work the charity does with donations received from a range of fundraising activities.

Webhelp Director of People South Africa, Cathy Kalamaras, shares this enthusiasm saying:

“Operation Hunger not only provides food, it works with people to create sustainable food sources through education and practical assistance. It’s a privilege to support the life changing work the organisation does.”

Sandy Bukula, Acting CEO & Business Development Director at Operation Hunger commented on the partnership:

“On behalf of Operation Hunger and the communities we serve, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to Webhelp for selecting our organization to partner during 2020. Voluntary multi-stakeholder partnerships are central to Operation Hunger achieving its goal of food security and sustainable strategies to benefit vulnerable members of our communities. We are so excited to welcome Webhelp in joining us  on  our journey.”

 To find out more about the incredible work the charity does to tackle malnutrition and poverty in South Africa visit www.operationhunger.org


Webhelp and Right Management Release Informative ‘Creating A Leadership Framework’ Webinar for 2020

Organisations across the UK understand the value great leadership brings to achieving success. But defining what this looks like in your particular organization, getting under the skin of what makes you unique and then bringing this to life so that its felt throughout the business is easier than it sounds.

With this in mind, Wehelp and Right Management have released a free webinar on ‘Creating a Leadership Framework’ – showcasing the difference the innovative implementation of a leadership framework can make in international and forward thinking companies. Click here to view the webinar.

Webhelp’s Julie Mackenzie, Talent Development Manager, and Judith Ferguson, Director,  People Business Partnering and Organisation Development, discussed with Bernadette Hampton, Right Management’s Principal Consultant,  the importance of creating a framework that focuses on putting people first in order to create high performing teams

The framework they suggest creates consistency across teams, not only recognising the steps that need to be taken, but also proven guidance on how best to embed it into company culture. The webinar also features insights on why high performing organisations rely on a leadership framework, and what your organisation should be considering to ensure you have the right talent in place for future success.

This webinar is free and includes resources such as:

  • Leadership Assessment Solutions Brief
  • Leadership Development Solutions Brief
  • White Paper: Most Likely to Lead – Predicting, Developing & Measuring Leadership
  • Effective Team Solutions Brief
  • Why Traditional Leadership Models Fail Infographic

To view the webinar visit: https://webinars.on24.com/right_management/webhelp


Webhelp hosts industry discussion on why emotion is key to the future of customer experience

Webhelp hosted the highly anticipated third instalment of their Disruptor Dinner events at the Shangri-la at the Shard in London yesterday. The evening formed part of the ground-breaking series, established in early 2019, which has been challenging perceptions around significant disruptors of Customer Experience (CX). This session went into depth on emotion in the customer journey, and how this affects consumer behaviour.

The event was attended by many industry peers, including Scott Logie, Customer Engagement Director at the REaD Group and Chair of the DMA Customer Engagement Committee. Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners - part of the Webhelp Group, also attended and was delighted to share with guests the latest developments in HX (Human Experience).

As many brands undergo digital transformation, the discussion revealed that emotional connection – as well as ‘human’ brand attributes - must not be over-looked. Often, given the number of channels that can be used to communicate with customers, brands can become dislocated from creating ‘human feeling’ during customer journeys.

Brands that cannot tackle this disruptor face falling behind as technology and insight develop in this field, which is growing rapidly, giving those in the ‘emotions’ game a tactical advantage.

Craig Gibson, Webhelp Chief Commercial Officer, was passionate about the value of this series, and the forum it provides for the sector saying:

“I was delighted to join the discussion at the latest Disruptor Dinner in London. There were some great insights and conclusions made by a mix of current Webhelp clients, prospective clients, independent guests and industry experts. We were delighted to welcome both new and returning faces, and look forward to hosting further events in which we will to continue to promote innovation, share game-changing ideas and inspire collaboration.”

To stay on the cutting edge of public opinion, read our new Emotion Whitepaper, and watch this space for more details, as we prepare to launch the fourth chapter in our Disrupter series, looking at the human face of risk and the impact of cyber security on CX.

For more insight into this fast-developing topic, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to executive events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign: https://www.go.webhelp.com/disruptorseries


Using emotion to connect in online retail

Webhelp’s latest Disruptor Series Whitepaper, highlights why, in 2020, it will be absolutely crucial that brands create deep and lasting emotional connections with customers. For the launch of our latest Whitepaper, ‘Emotion’, Kellyann McCafferty, Webhelp Account Director, looks at how emotion can strongly influence customers’ ability to bond with brands, especially in the retail and ecommerce sectors.

Preface: 27/04/20

Since publishing this blog, the world has changed dramatically, with entire countries entering strict lockdown periods and many regions operating under shelter in place instructions. The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an unprecedented impact on business and society across the globe and as a result the emotional component of CX is more vital now than ever before. Click here to find out more on our people first response to this crisis. 

So, how do you succeed in online retail?

The focus of a successful sales strategy, for many companies, will be firmly on brand reputation and visibility, price comparison, search engine optimization and streamlining the customer journey. With the overriding goal of getting the customer to the ecommerce purchase point.

It’s hard to deny that these are all fundamental steps, which we do very well at Webhelp. However, our experience tells us that, often brands do not concentrate enough on how their customers feel, through-out the whole cycle, and especially at the end of the journey.

This failure is the online equivalent of chauffeuring your customer to a grand restaurant, with a stunning red carpet entrance but ignoring their needs and giving sloppy service, once you’ve got them inside!

Marketing author Lindsay Kwan hits the nail right on the head, for industry blog platform Widerfunnel, saying:

“An emotionally resonant customer experience involves more than an e-commerce strategy that solves a problem or incorporates a marketing funnel that is easy to navigate… …are your customers landing on your e-commerce site and thinking this brand really gets me?”

I would agree that this is a huge (but avoidable!) pitfall for brands, especially those who rely on one time metrics like conversion rates and click through numbers, and then find their customers leaving hastily through the virtual back door!

Instead, we help our clients to use their data and insight to create predictive models, establishing the right touch-points for emotionally enriched customer relationships.

To stay with the restaurant analogy, we look after their customers from start to finish, we remember their birthdays (with a discount voucher), we take their coats, hand them that complementary glass of prosecco and ask if they’d like their favorite dish or to look at the new menu… and wave them off at the door, with the incentive to come back for a free dessert next time!

Good service at all levels is everything – and forms the emotional connection that can make the difference in your customer experience.

As Webhelp’s YouGov backed research from our new Whitepaper shows - when taken overall, customer experience was the top source of emotional connection with brands.


The paper shares expert industry insight on how emotion can have a huge impact on customer loyalty, share of wallet and recommendations, which is so important for retail - as David Turner, CEO, Webhelp UK India & South Africa explains:

“If we look specifically at research from the retail sector, it has been shown that customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand are far more valuable. To thrive in today’s competitive landscape, it is obvious that brands must cultivate an emotional connection with their customers.”

Emotion has the possibility to dramatically increase a customer’s lifetime value, as connected customers are more loyal, satisfied, and ready to buy more!

The Harvard Business Review states that emotionally engaged customers are at least three times more likely to recommend your product or service. They are three times more likely to re-purchase, and that (as their diagram shows) fully connected customers are up to 52% more valuable!

And, when we look closely at the market sectors that that UK customers are most likely to form emotional connections with, Webhelp data (as illustrated below) shows that ecommerce leads the way, with online sectors like Clothing, Grocery, Technology and Beauty coming out on top.

Ecommerce is booming with a growth forecast of 16% of all global sales in 2020, and brands that don’t strongly connect with consumers in this area, risk being rapidly left behind.

But the good news is, Webhelp has the right people, experience and insight to leverage emotion to create positive behavioural change and human connections with your customers, to insure they stay loyally connected to your brand. Read on to find out more.

In case you haven’t registered yet, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign https://www.go.webhelp.com/disruptorseries.

What should brands know about demographics and emotional connection?

For the third chapter of the Webhelp Disruptor Series, Webhelp takes a deep dive into the hot topic of ‘emotional connection’ and explore the following questions:

·        To what extent emotional connections exist between consumers and brands?

·        What forms an emotional connection?

·        How people behave if they are emotionally connected to a brand?

This infographic looks at some of the exclusive YouGov research within the paper, to find out how age, gender and social grade affects emotional connection.

Read our new paper to find out more.


Whitepaper launch: Emotion, choice and being human in customer service

Author: Helen Murray,

 Chief Customer Solutions Officer - Webhelp UK, India and South Africa

Webhelp’s latest Disruptor Series Whitepaper, highlights just how important it is for brands to create emotional connections with customers. For the launch of our latest Whitepaper, ‘Emotion’, Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer - Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, shares interesting consumer CX preferences, revealed by our newly commissioned YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK adults.

The best brands make us feel something, be it happiness, reassurance, confidence, comfort or nostalgia, they stir the emotions and make connections with us. In fact, emotional connection with customers is something as old as the hills, and is an extremely effective tool!

Emotional connection really matters - as our research shows it can have huge impact on customer loyalty, share of wallet and the amount and quality of recommendations made. It’s imbedded in all aspects of a brand – and yes, human to human interaction is hugely important, but with the right strategies in place, this powerful connection can happen across the full spectrum of brand activity.

The potential for emotional connections are there in what the brand stands for, its status, values and ethos, how it protects and respects personal data, the amount of trust and credibility a brand inspires, and of course at every step of the customer journey.

And Webhelp research confirms this - our YouGov backed survey of over 2000K UK adults, found that the top source of emotional connection was the overall customer experience, with a 53% share of the vote.

As consumers now have almost unlimited access to brands via multiple channels, establishing the right customer experience, with key emotional impact, has never been more critical.

According to the Office for National Statistics, virtually all adults aged 16 to 44 years in the UK were recent internet users (99%) in 2019. This figure rose for the older generation too, from 52% in 2011 to 83% for the 65 to 74 age group in 2019 – swiftly closing the gap on the younger cohort.

The knock-on effect of this is that the consumer audience has become increasingly informed and selective, with very high expectations of customer service, which are prone to clash with business agendas. David Turner, CEO Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, points out that:

“Often there are conflicting operational drivers. There can be a desire to cut costs, keep call times short, and replace voice with lower-cost channels. However, the whole experience needs to be designed to reflect what the customer is trying to achieve. Given customers’ increased ability to self-inform and self-serve, the motivation to speak to a real person can be because the need is complex or urgent.”

As you can see from the graph below, our recent research with YouGov – a full summary of which you can find in the Emotions Whitepaper (link) - shows that high levels of importance are given to most aspects of customer service. And, while speed (87%) was the top priority, choice (76%), human attributes (67%) and personalisation of service (60%) were both rated very highly.

These results are particularly heartening for us as, in October 2019, Webhelp launched its new brand vision of ‘Making business more human’. An essential goal for our sector, as many brands are undergoing a digital transformation, which - coupled with the number of communication channels to be juggled - presents a real danger of distancing customers. Brands must remember that the most engaging communication is essentially ‘human to human.’

Consumer desire for human contact and connection opens up vast potential for brands, as Polly Ashdown, Marketing and Communications Director, Webhelp UK, India and South Africa points out:

“Brands that really ‘get’ the importance of a human angle are focused on building trust, anticipating customer needs, and giving customers the edge. They know that consistency is key to trust and credibility, and focus on the entire experience, rather than one element of the customer journey.”

Our survey uncovered that being human was one of the top five sources of emotional connection with brands – the other four being; the overall customer experience, if a brand is easy to deal with, having similar values, and the quality of interaction.

John Leighton, Head of Customer Service for easyJet, recognises the importance of the whole package approach to emotional connection by saying:

“In terms of the human skills required to build emotional connection, we know that authenticity is key, and we are working internally and with Webhelp on how to make our customer experiences authentic.”

He continues: “We also know that advisor longevity is a key contributor to emotionally connected customers, and Webhelp is a strong force to be reckoned with in this area. For instance, advisor tenure in Cape Town has led to the highest levels of customer satisfaction across the entire company (easyJet estate).”

You can read more from John on how emotional connection is vital to easyJet’s brand positioning in the Whitepaper.

The survey also revealed that some very positive consumer behaviours result from being emotionally connected to a brand. These include; paying slightly more, loyalty, increased recommendation, and sharing of brand experiences. In contrast, only 4% of customers reported that having an emotional connection to a brand would not make them behave in a particular way.

Interestingly, the more affluent the demographic, the stronger the likelihood of affirmative action. Positive behaviours towards brands are, without exception, more prevalent in the ABC1 (the three higher social and economic groups) social grade. With 71% expressing loyalty and 57% willing to pay slightly more if emotionally connected to a brand, there are obvious benefits in creating emotional connections.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the future of CX is about managing and measuring what matters: emotional connections between brands and consumers – across all stages in the customer journey.

Brands must learn how to strengthen customer’s emotional connection, by providing intelligent ‘human’ conversations that can really ease complex or stressful interactions, something that we support our clients to do every day!

With that pressing need in mind, our ‘Emotion’ Whitepaper offers essential insight into the behaviours and actions that result from having a truly human connection with customers, and guidance on how to ensure that customers emotionally connect to your brand. Read on to find out more.

In case you haven’t registered yet, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign https://www.go.webhelp.com/disruptorseries.

New Webhelp commissioned research reveals that customers will pay more, be more loyal and recommend brands they have an Emotional Connection to.

Data shows emotional connection increases consumer action

To thrive in today’s competitive landscape, it is essential that brands cultivate an emotional connection with their customers, according to a new YouGov online survey of 2,013 GB adults.

Commissioned by leading customer experience provider Webhelp, the study looks at what brands need to know about emotional connections with customers. Survey findings plus exclusive content from experts, sector leaders, academics and frontline employees can be found in this whitepaper, part of Webhelp’s Disruptor series tackling customer experience industry challenges.

The survey reveals some startling figures for the impact of emotional connection on customers. In fact, 54% of respondents who recall an emotional connection to one or more brands would pay slightly more for their products/ services, 63% would recommend a brand, and 66% would be more loyal to the brand because of an emotional connection with a brand.

Another standout amongst the findings is the degree to which brands that demonstrate human qualities and satisfy personal motivators appear better positioned to create emotional connections. On the flip side, brand popularity does not seem to have a significant impact on emotional connection, which may serve as a wake-up call to marketers and others who believe popularity is all-important.

In fact, popularity (7%) scored lowest amongst characteristics that consumers say connect them to brands – with more “human” qualities such as being honest and credible (40%) scoring highest. Between the highest and lowest are: understanding/meeting needs and having positive feelings/associations (both 27%), rewarding customer loyalty (25%), responding to individual needs and wants (22%), representation via marketing, communications and values (19%), giving personalised rewards (18%) and makes me feel important (8%).

David Turner, CEO for Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, said:

“These results establish the importance of humanity, responsivity and understanding in consumer/brand relationships. At Webhelp, we design and use technology to augment human performance – to help advisors have great conversations which build true connections. People really do buy more, remain loyal and recommend more if they are emotionally connected to a brand. And we see just how crucial customer experience is to forming these highly profitable emotional connections.”

Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK, India & South Africa, commented:

“The holy grail for all organisations today – increased spend, loyalty and recommendation – can be achieved when an emotional connection between brands and consumers exists and ‘human’ CX holds the key. If you don’t care deeply about and anticipate your customers’ wants and needs, then you can’t expect them to emotionally connect to your brand and buy and recommend your products and services.”

Top sources of emotional connection, most important human attributes and positive brand experience

Of those who had an emotional connection to a brand, the top five sources of emotional connections with brands are: overall customer experience (53%), easy to deal with (38%), values similar to mine (34%), quality of interactions (26%) and the brand is ‘human’ (22%). A brand being "human” was also considered important by over two thirds (67%) of respondents and a majority also said it increases the likelihood (net more likely) of taking positive actions towards the brand.

The most important human attributes for a brand are: being honest (23%), authentic (15%), friendly (11%) and highly responsive (9%).

Factors that determine positive brand experience are: responsive to me when I need it (36%), send me clear, understandable messages (34%), show they value my time and business (32%), communicate with me using my preferred contact method (32%), speak like a regular person (26%), show empathy (23%) and communicate with me at convenient times (21%).

Emotional connection by sector follows a similar pattern

Honesty and credibility remained the strongest attributes across all sectors with brand popularity still a low scorer – with some variance in “the way the brand represents itself through marketing, communication and values” for insurance, lifestyle and media.

Sectors that scored highly with consumers for emotional connections include grocery/supermarket (45%), clothing (41%), technology (33%) and beauty (26%). Banking (21%) and automotive ( 20%) performed better than travel (16%), lifestyle and telecoms (both 15%) and media (14%) which reported only modest levels of emotional connection. Utilities (9%) and insurance (4%) ranked lowest, perhaps a result of a myriad of price comparison sites and aggregators

Similarities and differences within age groups

Overall, 54% of consumers who feel an emotional connection to a brand would pay more for their products/services, 63% would recommend and 66% would be more loyal as a result of emotional connection.

While brand popularity is not a major factor for any age group when considering if they are emotionally connected to a brand, younger age groups (18-24) are more likely to consider all factors more important than the oldest age bracket (55+). And while all age groups have a similar pattern, including honesty and credibility scoring highest, there is a striking difference between the degree to which certain factors (e.g. “if the brand makes me feel important”, “the way the brand makes me feel” and “the way the brand represents itself through marketing, communication and values”) influence brand connection amongst the younger and older age groups. In each of these instances, the younger group gives these attributes far higher scores.

Additionally, 62% of 25-34 year olds are likely to make additional purchases from a brand if they feel emotionally connected, versus 47% of those 55 and over.

Survey Methodology

This survey has been conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc UK panel of 1 million+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,013 GB adults.

Editor’s Notes

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,013 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st October - 1st November 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).



Webhelp raises £31,000 for charity partner Together for Short Lives

Generous Webhelp employees have raised an incredible £31,000 for Together for Short Lives, which was the company’s corporate charity partner for 2019.

Led by their Engagement Ambassadors, they took part in some inventive, inspiring and fun activities to raise vital funds for Together for Short Lives, which is the UK’s leading charity for the 49,000 children living with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

There are 54 hospice services in the UK that support seriously-ill children, providing specialist clinical care alongside practical and emotional support for all the family. Webhelp people in 13 offices across the UK, worked together to help fund this life-changing care and to create awareness of the invaluable work the charity does.

Karen Yates, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Together for Short Lives said:

“Working with Webhelp over the last year, as their charity partner, has been an absolute privilege. Their passion and dedication to help the families we’re here for has been clear for all to see.  From football matches to Kilt walks, bake sales to treks, they have raised an incredible amount to support local children’s hospices and the children and families they support. A big thank you from the whole team here at Together for Short Lives for all that you’ve done.”

 These funds will really make a difference, for example - £31,000 could help to fund 31 short breaks for the whole family at a children’s hospice, providing some much-needed rest and family time.

Webhelp CEO for the UK, SA and India, David Turner, commented:

“Our partnership with Together for Short Lives has been a special one for Webhelp. The charity stands alongside families, helping them to make the most of every moment they have together. Putting people first is a sentiment we truly believe in and we are proud to have supported the vital work the charity provides.”

To find out more about the wonderful work done by this vital charity please visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk

 Webhelp will be announcing their UK corporate charity partner for 2020 later this month.